When a person passes away, his or her spouse may be responsible for some of the decedent’s outstanding medical bills.
Generally, there are some items that a spouse might be required to pay, and others for which the spouse isn’t responsible.
nj.com’s recent article asks, “Do I have to pay my dead spouse's medical bills?” As you might imagine, it all depends on the specifics of the circumstances.
Spouses typically aren’t responsible for each other's debts, unless they sign paperwork agreeing to pay, like a guarantor.
For medical bills, use caution with all of the forms required to be signed upon admission to a hospital. This can be an issue in the case of an emergency, when a spouse will hastily sign the paperwork admitting the ill spouse. Nonetheless, care should be taken to read these papers prior to signing.
The estate of the deceased spouse is generally responsible. The estate will usually pay reasonable medical and hospital expenses related to the deceased’s last illness.
If there are assets that pass to the surviving spouse, the executor is responsible to pay those medical bills from those assets. The executor must coordinate the assets of the estate and pay the deceased person’s debts, including credit card debt, before assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
The executor’s duties usually include finding all of the deceased spouse's assets. The executor is also responsible for maintaining these assets in safe condition, until they can be properly distributed to those named in the will or to creditors.When a loved one passes, it is hard enough, call an attorney to get help handling the estate, and to make sure your protected. Call Rowley Law at 847-490-5330 today for an appointment.
Reference: nj.com (October 23, 2018) “Do I have to pay my dead spouse's medical bills?”