Estate Debt of Deceased Person

by Tyrone
(Readers, PA)

My father recently dies in June. I have informed all creditors that he had no estate; thus no funds for medical invoices. I did not have power of attorney, nor any fiduciary responsibilities. I have received a letter stating they would place the debt on my credit profile, for a medical expense of my father. Can they legally place that information on my credit file? Any information would be helpful.

Thanks, Tyrone

Note from

Please be sure to also read our Deceased Person’s Debt FAQ page.

Comments for Estate Debt of Deceased Person

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Nov 03, 2018
Paying utility bills after sell of home and taking from 1 person cut
by: JKay

My friends mother passed and within a year his father passed. He didn't work as he was there taking care of them. They couldn't even drive or sometimes leave the home.

I guess what I'm saying is that when his dad passed, he stayed in the home and he was a bit lost and depressed. I tried helping a bit until the house was sold.

The last 2 months of utilities were not paid. I called the companies and was told they would close the accounts and he is not required to pay. They will not come after the estate. When everything was said and done. His sister was the rep. She paid all utilities and took it out of his portion, as it was split 3 ways. I had 2 conversations with her about this. She doesn't care for him and is doing it out of spite (in my opinion).

Just an FYI when mother passed neither one seem to function so his dad made me an authorized person to handle any questions and she took me off. If this legal to just take from his portion. And.. He's still waiting for his money.

Oct 18, 2017
Medi-Cal collection?
by: Kristin

My father passed away in March 2017. To my knowledge, he had Medi-Cal for the past 2-3 years. The estate has gone through probate and I was named "Administrator" of the estate. My attorney notified me that after this initial court hearing, I have to wait 4 months and 30 days for any creditors to come forward and state their claims. My Dad had Medi-Cal for the past 2-3 years and the last couple of months he was hospitalized before passing away. Can Medi-Cal come forward and claim money from the estate?

Reply from


We're sorry for your loss. We're glad to hear you're working with an attorney. We suggest your attorney is the best person to ask questions about the specifics of his estate. Generally, creditors can try to collect from the estate of someone who has died, but we aren't sure of the specifics with Medi-Cal.

Sep 28, 2017
inheritance after death
by: Anonymous

If a person has died and I was in the will and he received a small inheritance from his uncle upon the uncle's death, am I still able to collect or does it just go to his sons ... I am his g/f

Reply from

If you are named in the will then generally you should receive the property that was given to you in the will. It is possible that family members may try to challenge the will, but that doesn't mean they will be successful.

Sep 19, 2017
Collection after the fact / deceased
by: Anonymous

9.19.2017 My father passed away Dec.21,2012. My father had a few CC bills. The house did not go into Probate as the Will stated the house goes to mom and everything else. Mom passed away about a year ago. The house is in Probate..we are trying to get everything organize so we can sell it. We didn't have enough money to pay for her CC but do understand it will come out of the money once it is sold. Now my question is...Since my father passed, he did not have the house in PROBATE---are they also including his debts on moms house. It was not a joint account.

Reply from

We aren't sure we understand what you are asking. Are you asking us if they are trying to include your father's debts in your mom's probate? We can't really answer that question since we don't have access to that information. If we misunderstood feel free to clarify. Our condolences for your loss.

Apr 07, 2016
It has been over 6 years
by: Anonymous

My father passed away November 2009. His medical bills after a,10 days in ICU, where around $200,000. I went to see a lawyer right away, as my dad was in the midst of selling his home when this all took place. The lawyer and the Title company decided to let me sign the papers for the sell of the house, I received $62,000 and they put $12,000 in an account for an unpaid hospital bill from the prior year (he was still alive then). In the meantime I spent the money that was given to me. The estate has not been closed and I have not heard from the court or the creditors in over 6 years. I recently contacted the lawyer and he yelled at me and said that I had committed a crime and that this was not going to go away. I asked him about the limitations for suing in Oregon, he didn't know anything about it. I read that a creditor has 6 years to sue. Is this true even if the creditors had made a claim to his estate? The 12,000 dollars is still in the account. Nothing has been paid. Please help.

Reply from

We're sorry to hear of your father's death and the stress you've been through. Unfortunately we don't understand the situation clearly and we can't offer legal advice. It is our understanding that the statute of limitations on contract claims is six years in Oregon. There is more information here: We hope that helps.

Sep 04, 2014
hospital bill afte estate closed
by: Anonymous

My dad died in April 2011. I was the executor of his estate. I paid all the medical bills that I received. All the estate and income taxes were paid. The final fiduciary return and distribution of the estate was last year.

My father is now receiving bills from a hospital that he was in 3 months prior to his death. No similar bill was received during the prior 3 years, although other bills related to this hospital stay were received and paid.

I was one of the beneficiaries of the estate but there were others as well. Am I responsible for a bill that suddenly appears 3 years after his death?

What do I do?

Reply from

Our condolences for your loss. What state did this occur in?

Jul 15, 2014
Three Years of Monthly Bills? What to do?
by: Anonymous

I was the executor and had power of attorney for longtime significant other who died from cancer. He died penniless and was on Medicaid and disability.

All of his creditors responded to my letter and stopped invoicing or wrote off account. That's all creditors with the exception of one, who has been sending an invoice for $1100 for tires every month for what will be 3 years as the anniversary of his death in November 2014. I did write a second letter to the creditor, restating what I had said in the first letter.

I simply ignore the invoices.

Are they up against any time limits for mail of invoices or can they send them forever?

Reply from

We are sorry to hear of your loss and of what you've been dealing with. We suggest you file a complaint against this company with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Hopefully that will get them to leave you alone.

Jun 02, 2014
nursing home bill
by: Anonymous

My father-in-law just passed and my husband was the power-of-attorney. Is he legally responsible for the debt of the nursing home since he had to sign the paperwork to admit him?

Reply from

Our condolences for your loss. It's possible though not probable he is responsible for that bill. Simply having power of attorney isn't the problem. In some states, adult children may be responsible for their parent's unpaid medical bills. But if your father-in-law qualified for Medicare then they wouldn't generally be able to bill your husband (as the result of a prohibition on that practice). Additionally, if your husband couldn't afford to pay then they probably could not pursue payment. Of course, if there was an estate then they may be able to try to get paid through the estate. You may want to consult an attorney to clarify your husband's responsibility for these bills.

Mar 29, 2012
Creditors calling relatives
by: Anonymous

My mom died in July 2011 and my dad received petition for year support. There was a little money in my mom's account that she had received to pay medical bills for a terminally ill son, who died shortly after she passed. Creditors were notified that there is no money in estate to pay credit card debt, however now they are calling and harassing the siblings. How they got everyone's phone number is shocking..what do we do now?

Is it best to see an estate attny or consumer law attny since once creditor said it is a civil matter. I have yet to see any paperwork from this creditor but they left a message saying civil matter. Any suggestions on where to start. Have little to no money as I am a single parent that got involved to help my dad with things because he was overwhelmed after losing his son and wife back to back.

Reply from

We are so sorry to hear what you've been through. We'd suggest you first talk with a consumer law attorney as the collector may be breaking the law in it's attempts to collect this debt. The consumer law attorney should be able to tell you if you need to get an estate planning attorney involved.

Oct 09, 2011
hospital debt after death
by: Anonymous

My grandmother passed away in April. She was living in a nursing home 4 months prior to her passing. After her death I became the executor of her estate and sole beneficiary. After paying funeral expenses and other costs pertaining to her death no money was left in the estate. I am now receiving letters from the nursing homes lawyer attached with an invoice for $16000.00. What do I do? What are my responsibities as the executor of an estate for paying hospital debt after a family member passes?

Reply from

We are sorry to hear of the death of your mother.

Typically when a person dies and there are no cosigners or a spouse who is liable, and there is not enough money left in the estate, then the creditors are notified of the situation and there is nothing they can do to collect. But we are not estate planning attorneys and can't give legal advice.

Given the amount of money involved, it wouldn't hurt for you to see if you can just schedule a one hour consultation with an estate planning attorney to find out if there is anything else you need to do. You can visit to locate one in your area.

Mar 07, 2011

If you received a 1099-C you must include that amount in your taxable income unless you are eligible for an exclusion or an exception. In that case, you must file Form 982. You'll find more information here:

Mar 04, 2011
Deseased Husband 06-27-2009
by: Anonymous

When my husband passed away, I was told since we had no money, any credit cards in his name only to send death certificate and state there is no estate. Today 03/04/2011 I getting a form 1099-C in my husband's name reporting $1,251.03 to IRS. What am I to do with this, I don't make enough to file any income tax?

Apr 09, 2010
medical debt after estate is closed
by: Gerri


Thanks for sharing your story. You apparently aren't the only person experiencing this kind of problem. It received enough attention to somehow make it into the recently passed Credit CARD Act. Under the CARD Act, the Federal Reserve Board is assigned with the following:

140A Procedure for timely settlement of estates of
decedent obligors - The Board, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission and each other agency referred to in section 108(a), shall prescribe regulations to require any creditor, with respect to any credit card account under an open end consumer credit plan, to establish procedures to ensure that any administrator of an estate of any deceased obligor with respect to such account can resolve outstanding credit
balances in a timely manner.

Of course, you'll note that those regulations only apply to credit card debts, not medical debts, and may not apply retroactively to your situation.

We'll see if we can get some more advice for you on your situation.

Apr 08, 2010
Medical debt collection - after estate is closed
by: Jeff

This is an interesting thread as I have a similar situation. After my father's passing, I diligently paid valid debts from his estate. Note: the estate was small enough that it did not go through probate. Most of the medical bills were incorrect, but after being corrected I paid them.

One bill was incorrect, and I determined from discussing with the medical billing office and the insurance company that (a) the expense was *not* billed to insurance (only some of the charges were); and (b) insurance said it would be covered. I asked the medical billing office to bill insurance. Note that no EOBs were issued from insurance unless a balance was owed by the patient, and no EOB was ever received.

I never received another bill. A year after my father died passed, and I filed the final income tax and distributed the remaining funds among my siblings. Apparently the medical provider did not bill insurance. Then a collection letter is sent to my father. If anyone is responsible for the debt, it is insurance. But the medical provider didn't bill them. It has been more than one year. My state has a bar on collecting debts on the deceased after one year - but that's a gray area since a bill was sent within that year. So I'm not sure what to do; do I tell them the estate is settled? Ignore the contact (it was addressed to my father, not to me or the estate)? It's almost impossible to get medical providers and insurance providers to cooperate; there's no way that a debt collector is going to work with insurance.

In summary, I think the medical provider was lazy in billing insurance. The bill would not have been owed by my father had he lived. Therefore the bill is not part of the estate. But by turning it over to collections, it's now my problem. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Apr 07, 2010
Debt payment for my father's account
by: Dennis

Thank you for answering my situation with regard to my father's passing and a DVA payment that did not get processed due to the lack of immediate attention by the Hospital Admin staff. I have decided that the debt is due and payable however I find that in doing so I am covering it out of my personal bank account in small payments. After closing out my dad's account and paying off all accounts receivable the remaining monies was split between the other siblings and the account closed. The only thing left to do is my dad's tax account which I now find he will get a refund. (first time ever)the cheque if this is true will be made payable to the "estate of _______" There is no such account open for a deposit, so now what do you suggest I do with this cheque since the tax dept. will probably send out an assessment notice that the tax return can be reviewed to determine if all entries are factual up to three years later here in Canada.
What options do I have?

Apr 06, 2010
Medical debt question
by: Gerri


I am very sorry to hear of your father's passing. I am not sure I fully understand your situation, however if I am reading your question right, it sounds like the DVA paid for part? Or all? Of the hospital bill that the hospital is now trying to collect from you. Is that correct?

Generally, when someone dies, their children are not responsible for their debts. The creditor can try to collect from the estate if there is one.

But if the DVA did pay the hospital bill, I would suggest you offer them that amount to settle the account. That seems like it would be a fair solution.

If the hospital tries to pursue collection against you, I would encourage you to talk with a consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection/medical bill cases. You can talk with a consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection cases. Learn how to get low cost or FREE legal help with your debt collection problem here.

I would be interested in hearing how this turns out for you. Please share and update using the comments option below.

Apr 05, 2010
Medical Debt
by: Dennis

My father passed away July 9th 2009 - in May he was admitted to an extended hospital care unit. A portion of the payment for medical services was covered by Dept. of Veterans Affairs and the rest of the medical coverage was to be paid by him. I had power of attorney so when the account was to be paid I provided the appropriate personal payment. The hospital was notified on 2 separate occasions that the remaining amount was to be directed to the Dept. Veterans Affairs, which they claimed was going to be done. The paper work required by the Hospital was never completed in a timely and reasonable time period so three months after my father died the Hospital has sent me the bill to pay since they discovered that DVA paid the initial payment which they calculated and put it directly into my father's bank account back in the beginning of June for the payment. No instructions came with this amount other than a direct deposit cheque. My father in the meantime was awaiting funds from DVA for other matters and it was thought that these funds were part of the payment he was waiting for.

It is noticeable that DVA in calculating their amount payable knew what to pay and they did so without ever receiving documentation from the hospital. SO my question is AM I NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS DEBT of $423.40. to the Hospital.

Jan 26, 2010
Thank you so much.
by: Tyrone

I would like to thank you for the advice given. I indeed appreciate the thoughts you provided regarding my father. Tyrone

Jan 22, 2010
Debt of Deceased Parent
by: Gerri


Parents debts should not appear on their children's credit reports unless they cosigned or the account is a joint account.

It sounds to me like there is a good chance the creditor is breaking the law (and maybe two) by threatening to put this debt on your credit report. I would strongly urge you to talk with a consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection cases. Find out how to get a FREE consultation with a consumer law attorney here.

I would also recommend you pull copies of your credit reports and your credit scores to see whether it has been reported yet. Be sure to keep copies of that information (whether it's on there or not). If the account is reported and your credit scores drop as a result, you may have a case for credit damage. offers a free Credit Report Card that will analyze your Trans Union credit data. (It's truly free, no credit card required.)

Please accept our condolences for the death of your father. And let us know how this turns out please.

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