hospital & medical bills

by Carol
(Glendale AZ )

I am the successor trustee for my brothers Revocable Family Living Trust which became irrevocable on 2/1/13 upon his death a week ago. He incurred extremly high hospital bills and various medical procedures in the critical care unit. He had no medical insurance. Is the trust responsible for paying the medical bills in the state of AZ? His only asset is a home which I intend to sell. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Comments for hospital & medical bills

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Jan 08, 2016
who is responsible for hospital bill
by: Anonymous

My brother in law just passed away on Christmas Eve. IT was sudden, but he was in the hospital for less than 24 hours. He was not married and his nearest living relatives are my husband, 2 other brothers and a sister. He did not own a home or anything. Who is responsible for that hospital bill? Please help.

Reply from

We are so sorry for your loss. It is very unlikely that you as siblings are responsible for his unpaid medical debts unless perhaps you signed something agreeing to take financial responsibility for his bills. The hospital will probably write those debts off.

Jan 03, 2016
Mom Medical bills
by: Anonymous

So sorry for your loss. If your mother made your brother the beneficiary of her life insurance policy, now that she has died, the policy proceeds belong to him. Therefore, he does not obligated to use that money to pay her unpaid medical bills.

That does not mean that your mother's creditors may not contact him (or anyone else in your family) demanding that he pay her debts. It's not unusual for this to happen actually. To educate yourself about what to do if that happens, read this

My mom passed away on Dec. 16, 2015 has life insurance but no other assets other than SSI. She had some major medical bills due to her live condition. She live with my sibling at the time of death. We (5 children) want to know if we are obligated to use the rest of her life insurance policy which is not a lot after funeral expenses to pay on her medical bills. It will still leave many unpaid due to the amount owed. My oldest brother was name beneficiary of policy.
We live in Texas. My father passed away in 2001.

Dec 09, 2015
Mother's medical bills
by: Fernando

It's possible that the hospital will try to collect from your brother, but unless he signed paperwork at the hospital guaranteeing that he would pay your mother's unpaid medical bills, he is not legally obligated to pay them.

My mother died August 26, 2015. Left hospital bills unpaid. My father died in 1982, so she was a widow. My brother was her Power of Attorney. Will the hospital and any other medical bills come after him?

Dec 07, 2015
can a hospital put a lien on my home?
by: Anonymous

I had a loan on a home but found another home, could not sell first home, I rent it out to pay home loan in Georgia. It will be paid for in two years, I have medical bills that my insurance did not cover, I want to sell first to pay my home I plan on retiring in. I only make about 15,000 a year I am now on Obama care I am 64 years old and want to retire at 65 and be able to live off SS. Can the hospital put a lien on my house when I sell it to pay the home I now live in?

Reply from

As much as we'd like to help, we urge you to talk with a bankruptcy attorney asap to find out whether the proceeds from the sale of your first home is protected from creditors. We simply can't ascertain that for you; an attorney will need to review your financial situation and advise you on the best course of action. We assume that you are talking about a substantial amount of money here, and that you'll need every penny. Getting legal advice will likely be money well spent. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be familiar with what's safe and what isn't. If you are having trouble finding one, you can get a a free initial evaluation with a bankruptcy attorney here.

Oct 09, 2015
MO Medical bills of decedant
by: Anonymous

The same thing is happening to me. SSM has now put my name on my husband's hospital bills and is seeking payment. I explained that there will be a probate and they need to seek a claim through the probate process. They are insisting that I am now responsible for the bills. I live in Missouri. My husband passed away on August 26, 2015.

Reply from

We're so sorry for your loss. As much as we'd like to help we can't give you legal advice. It is our understanding that in some cases, in Missouri, spouses may be held responsible for each other's medical bills. But it's not always clear cut. For example, here is one case:

Lester E. Cox Med. Ctrs. v. Richards, 252 S.W.3d 236 (Mo. App., S.D. 2008)

Under the doctrine of necessaries, a spouse may be held liable for necessary medical services provided to the other spouse if they maintain no separate assets. St. Luke's Episcopal-Presbyterian Hosp. v. Underwood, 957 S.W.2d 496, 499 (Mo.App. E.D. 1997).

We would encourage you to talk with a consumer law attorney to clarify your responsibility for these bills before you pay them.

Oct 09, 2015
12K Hospital Bill
by: Anonymous

My husband of 42 years, Passed away quickly and suddenly. However, he was taken to the er for what I believe were resuscitation attempts. He had group health insurance from his place of employment. A majority of this bill from that night were not paid through the above insurance. He didn't have money per se, I was the beneficiary of anything he did have, such as our home, life insurance, his retirement monies etc. The hospital is sending bills in his name to the house. He incurred over 12 K worth of bills, the night he passed.

What sort of responsibility do I have RE: that bill? Am I on the hook for the 12k that was incurred while they made attempts to resuscitate him? His group insurance expired on the 1st, but my husband did not pass until the 2nd, 22 minutes after midnight. The latter is what his death certificate shows. And, most of the resuscitation attempts were made the 1st of the month, not the 2nd.

Reply from

We are so sorry to hear about what you have been through. We can't say for sure. The reason is that in some states, spouses can be held responsible for their husband or wives necessary medical bills. These laws are sometimes referred to as "doctrines of necessaries." We would recommend you talk with a consumer law attorney to clarify your responsibility for them. If you need help finding one, you can visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Again, our condolences for your loss.

Aug 27, 2015
Dad's Hospital Debt - Coming After Mom
by: Anonymous

My dad died a few months ago leaving some hospital bills now. The hospital is coming after my mom who has dementia. She lives in mo so this is not a community property state. The other thing is she has never been to this hospital and when they were informed that my dad had died the proceeded to put my mom's name on his bill to try to collect is this. Is it legal and is she obligated to pay his debt?

Reply from

Our condolences for you loss.

In addition to community property states, some states have laws often referred to as "Doctrines of Necessaries" which can hold spouse's responsible for each other's debts for essential services such as medical bills. Missouri appears to have such statutes but also appear to be less than straightforward. There is some case law on this issue, so this is a situation where it would be very wise to talk with an attorney with expertise in these matters. If you need help finding one we recommend you visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Jul 24, 2015
Medical debt with Living Trust
by: Anonymous

I have a Living Trust with my brother and I named as the Trustees to a condo. Our mother passed away while we were in the process of getting her Medical because her insurance ran out the last month she was there. The hospital is still asking for paperwork that shows her previous bank acct. information which I was on the account as well, the condo. being transferred to us and stocks with us named as the Beneficiaries. Do I have to send them this information, and if I do will Medical not pay and hold us responsible?

Reply from

We are sorry for your loss. We assume your mother had an attorney prepare the trust. Is that correct? We would recommend you talk with the attorney. It sounds like the hospital is trying to ascertain whether there may have been a fraudulent conveyance of assets to the trust. But if your attorney set up the trust properly it should be fine.

Jul 03, 2015
by: Anonymous

It’s unclear from your question as to whether your mother deeded her house to your son or left it to him in her will. If she deeded it to him, then he now owns it and she has no interest in it. If she left it to him in her will, then she continues to be its owner and it won’t transfer to your son until after she dies.

Your mother is responsible for her medical bills but your father may be responsible too depending on the state where they reside. If they live in a community property state -- Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington State, and Wisconsin -- they are each legally responsibility for one another’s debts even if only one of them signed for a debt. This is not the case if your parents live in a non-community property state. However, many states have something called a "doctrine of necessaries," which says that medical care is a necessary and therefore, makes each spouse is legally responsible for the unpaid medical debt of the other.

If your mother is on Medicaid, the state where she resides is legally entitled to sue your mother’s estate after she dies and assuming it wins, the state will put a lien on her home assuming she still owns it. Should that happen, the house could not be transferred into your son’s name after her death until the amount of the lien gets paid. This might necessitate selling the house in order to pay the lien. Her hospital can also sue for the money it is owed, and if it wins, it too can put a lien on the home, although its lien would be secondary to the state’s.

If your mother does not own the house at the time of her death because it’s in your son’s name, the house will be safe from collections, but other assets in your her estate would be at risk. Also, as I mentioned earlier, if your parents live in a community property state and/or if their state has a "doctrine of necessities," the hospital can look to your father for payment.

Two final comments: First, if there is nothing that your mother’s estate or the hospital can take in order to get paid after her death, they are not entitled to look to you for payment unless you signed for her hospital bills.

Also, I am not an attorney so for definitive answers to your questions, I highly recommend that you schedule an appointment with an elder law attorney.

My mother owns a house and has a spouse but way before she got ill he granted his 50% to her. The estate is 100% hers now and has given it to one of my son's. A document has been signed and sealed by a notary but has not yet been filed in the courthouse. Recently, she has used up all her hospital days of her insurance which is spring healthcare and medicare. She will begin to have a balance at the hospital. Don't know how much longer shell be hospitalized. Could the hospital or medicaid take her house? Who's is responsible for the hospital and medical bills?

May 15, 2015
doctrine of necessaries virginia
by: Zebe

As we explained in our previous comment, it's our understanding that the "doctrine of necessaries" in Virginia says that among other necessaries, each spouse is legally responsible for the unpaid medical debt of the other. So if your spouse died with unpaid medical debt, you are responsible for paying it. Again, if you have any further questions about this, please consult a consumer law attorney in your state.

Best of luck.

Virginia law
could tell me what does mean.
it means im not responsible for my deceased wives medical bills?
§ 55-37. Spouse not responsible for other spouse's contracts, etc.; mutual liability for necessaries; responsibility of personal representative.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, a spouse shall not be responsible for the other spouse's contract or tort liability to a third party, whether such liability arose before or after the marriage. The doctrine of necessaries as it existed at common law shall apply equally to both spouses, except where they are permanently living separate and apart, but shall in no event create any liability between such spouses as to each other. No lien arising out of a judgment under this section shall attach to the judgment debtors' principal residence held by them as tenants by the entireties or that was held by them as tenants by the entireties prior to the death of either spouse where the tenancy terminated as a result of the death of either spouse.

Apr 23, 2015
Spouse's unpaid hospital bills
by: Zebe

So sorry about the loss of your wife. We are sure that the last thing you want to be doing right now is worrying about her medical debts.

The "doctrine of necessaries" which is a part of the common law (case law) in some states says that spouses are legally liable for each other's "necessary expenses," which includes medical expenses.

We believe that VA recognizes the "doctrine of necessaries," but please confirm this with an attorney in your area. We are not attorneys nor are we intimately familiar with VA law.

If we are correct however, and your spouse left behind a lot of medical debt, the medical providers to whom those debts are owed can look to you for payment even though all of the debts are in your wife's name. If they do contact you about payment, the providers might be willing to let you pay off the debts for less than the total owed and/or they might be willing to let you pay the debts over time. If they begin to threaten you about what they intend to do if you don't pay up, contact a consumer bankruptcy attorney in your area right away. You can use bankruptcy to wipe out unpaid medical debt.

If we are wrong and there is no "doctrine of necessaries" in VA then you are not legally liable for your spouse's unpaid medical debts.

Good luck!

I'm living in VA. I lost my wife march 2015 and she left lot of different medical bills. we have a house. but house is under my name. and she doesn't have a any estates. I didn't co sigh any bills. so do I responsibility for pay her medical bills?
please help me
thank you

Apr 18, 2014
nursing home debt
by: Anonymous

I am the wife and my husband passed a month ago in New York. I want to know if I still have to pay the 10,000.00 back pay for the nursing home now that he is dead?

Link text here

So sorry for your loss. The answer to your question is, "It depends." First however, you should know that when someone dies, his/her estate (the assets the deceased owned at the time of death) must go through the probate process or some other less formal state approved process so that as many of his or debts can be paid out of those assets. Only after this has happened can any remaining assets be distributed to the deceased's beneficiaries.

Now, if this happens and there are unpaid debts left, and assuming you co-signed for any of those debts or any of those debts were joint debts (debts that you and your spouse obtained together), then you are legally obligated to pay them. Therefore, if you signed any sort of paperwork agreeing to be responsible for your husband's nursing home care, then any balance due after as much of that debt has been paid out of his assets, will be your debt. If you want greater clarification about your situation, we recommend that you set up an appointment with an estate planning or probate law attorney in your area. Another option is to contact Ask Estate Lawyers Now.

Mar 05, 2014
florida laws regarding spouses medical bills
by: Anonymous

My husband passed away in January 2014. He has medical bills from 2013. I live in Florida and want to know if I am responsible for his medical expenses. I was told that because I never signed anything when he went to the hospital and because everything we have is joint, I do not have to pay.

Reply from Florida is a separate property state. This means that one spouse is generally not responsible for the other spouse's unpaid debt. Therefore, you are probably not responsible. However, if your spouse left behind an "estate," in other words he owned assets when he died, those assets must be used to pay as many of his debts as possible. This is done through the probate process or a less formal process that may be available in your state. If this does not happen and his assets are distributed to the beneficiaries of his will (or to you and your children or others if he died without a will), his unpaid creditors are legally entitled to try to collect from them. For more specific information about your particular situation,contact Ask Estate Lawyers Now

Apr 29, 2013
hospital & medical bills

I recommend that you consult with a probate law attorney in your area about your situation. I am not an attorney nor am I familiar with the estate planning/probate laws of AZ. Therefore, I do not want to give you advice. An hour of an attorney's time will be money well-spent and it won't cost you "an arm and a leg."

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