Medical Bills Incurred by Minor IN

by Danielle
(Fort Wayne, IN USA)

I am currently being told by a collection agency that i owe over $900.00 in medical bills that occured before i was the age of 18. My mother passed away a year ago, and these debts werent paid, so they are telling me i am now obligated to pay these debts? They gave me the case Bowling v. Sperry as a reference, but from what i understand after reading this, i am NOT obligated to pay. I actually was in contact with a different collections agency in which i had the same situation, and after being told i was a minor at that time, they dropped all collections and told me not to worry about it. I am trying to buy a house, and these collections are hindering the process! Thanks!

Comments for Medical Bills Incurred by Minor IN

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Jan 10, 2012
Medical Bills Incurred by Minor IN

You are not obligated to pay the debts of your deceased mother and that includes the medical debt she incurred on your behalf when you were a minor. The only exception to this would be if you and your mother had a joint debt. In that case, you would be obligated to pay the debt because it is your debt as well as the debt of your deceased mother. This does not apply to the medical debt however because as a minor you would not be legally entitled to incur the debt. Only adults can go into debt.

Even though you are not responsible for paying your mother's unpaid debt, some debt collectors may try to get you to pay it anyway, as you have found out. They may try to play to your emotions, your guilt or try to scare you as a means of convincing you that you should pay up.

When your mother died, her estate probably went through probate or some other legal process during which her creditors were entitled to ask the court to be paid. If there was no money to pay them, then they are out of luck and not entitled to look to you for payment.

If there are no assets to pay your mother's debts, I suggest that you send the collectors certified letters (ask for a return receipts) stating that fact and telling them not to contact you again. You have the right to make this request under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the law also says that once a debt collector receives your cease contact letter it cannot contact you again, except to notify you of any legal action it may intend to take to collect. However, if there is no money left in your mom's estate to pay her debts, then the collector is unlikely to take legal action and again, it cannot go after you.

If you send cease contact letters as I suggest and the collectors continue contacting you, get in touch with a consumer law attorney .

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