medical bills from late husband

by Stefani
( Paris, TX)

My husband and I were married for 10 years. I divorced him in 10/2010. In March he was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer. We remarried and was married for 12 days before he passed. Am I responsible for his medical bills in the state of Texas? We had nothing in our names together because of the divorce. He had a big rig that went back to owner and a motorcycle that also went back to owner. I paid off his pickup and I have that now. Am I responsible for his medical bills in the state of TX?

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Apr 26, 2016
by: Anonymous

There are a number of reasons why this surviving spouse may NOT be liable for debts of deceased spouse. She should consult with an attorney from

Apr 19, 2012
medical bills from late husband

My condolences for the loss of your husband. I am sure this is a difficult time for you.

As for your question about his medical debts, in the state of Texas, spouses are responsible for any debts either of them acquires during their marriage. This means that the medical providers who cared for your husband are legally entitled to look to you to pay the bills he ran up during the 12 days of your marriage. However, you are not obligated to pay any of his medical bills from before your marriage.

If you do not pay the debts, they will probably be turned over to debt collectors eventually and if you do not pay them then, you risk being sued for the money. If you are and you lose the lawsuits, the companies that sued you can ask the court for the right to take assets that you own, put liens on assets, or even seize money from your bank accounts. They cannot garnish your wages however because wage garnishment is generally not permitted in Texas.

The best way to avoid all of this is to contact the medical providers and try to work out affordable payment plans with them if you cannot afford to pay the bills you are legally liable for in lump sums. Another option may be to settle the debts with the providers -- pay the debts off for less than the full amounts that you owe on them. However, it's unlikely that you will be able to settle until the debts are seriously past due and even then the providers may prefer to turn the debts over to collectors. If any of the debts are turned over to collectors, you can also try to negotiate payment plans or settlements with them. A word of caution: If you are able to work out payment plans or settlements with any providers or collectors do not pay any money on the agreement/s until you have everything in writing.

If you cannot work out payment plans or settle the debts, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is also a good option if you are being threatened with a lawsuit or have already been sued because it will put a halt to the lawsuit. However, you should never pursue bankruptcy without the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Go here if you would like to schedule a free initial evaluation with a bankruptcy attorney. Also, go here if you would like basic information about
how to file for bankruptcy.

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