Will I be obligated to my fiance’s debt if we marry?

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Will I be obligated to my fiance’s debt if we marry?

My fiance has terminal cancer. We would
like to marry. We both reside in the
state of Pennsylvania. If we marry ,am I
responsible for unpaid hospital bills
before and during the marriage upon his
death?

Asked on July 15, 2019 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

In PA, you are never liable for your spouse's sole pre-marital debt. There is a statute that provides that a spouse can be liable for "necessities" which were purchased in the name of the other spouse but used by both. That having been said, medical expenses would not fall into this category. However, if you are seeking to inherit from the estate the debts, including medical expenses, that are owed by the deceased spouse/the estate must be paid before assets may be distributed.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Pre-marriage: no; those were your fiance's bills only. No one is ever responsible for a spouse's pre-marital bills unless they voluntarily and explicitly chose to take responsibility for them.
Post-marriage: yes; the law requires a spouse to provide certain necessities of life for his/her spouse, including necessary (i.e. not elective) medical care.


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