Are You Responsible For a Deceased Spouse's Medical Bills?

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  • BB
    Aug, 2011
    Barbara
    If I found unclaimed funds held in my deceased fathers name, and their was no estate, could I be sued for unpaid medical bills if I claimed the money? What is the statute of limitations on unpaid utility bills, etc.
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    • BA
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Everyone has an estate, even if his assets at death are only the clothes on his back. Every estate must go through probate. If your father's estate went through probate and not all assets were disclosed, it is possible that the asset you discovered could be subject to a claim by a creditor whose debt was not satisfied.

      If you discovered a bank account with $100 in it, it is likely that this would be considered de minimis, so small that it is of no concern. On the other hand, if you discovered a shoebox full of valuable stock certificates, you should contact an attorney to find out how to revisit the probate case.

      You can't be sued for your father's debts. You are not responsible for the debts he left behind. Your only risk would be if you took possession of an asset that was later determined to have been improperly taken, when it should have gone to satisfy someone else. In that case, you could be required to disgorge the asset. I think the best course of action you can take is to speak with an attorney that specializes in estate law.

      SOL questions can be tricky. In general, utility bills fall under the SOL for written contracts. If you need to know the SOL for your utlity bills, you are best off consulting with an attorney in your area.
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    • DB
      Sep, 2011
      davie
      My fiance passed away in august. He DOES NOT have an estate. Just wondering why it says everyone does?
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    • BA
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      If the decedent had any personal property at all, or a claim to any property, that constitutes an estate. Debt is part of an estate, too. Consult with a lawyer who has probate experience to learn more about the probate laws in your state, and the steps you or the decedent's relatives need to take to probate the decedent's estate properly.
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  • CC
    Feb, 2011
    Cindy
    Good information, but when I tried to print this page for a friend it printed 69 pages, of which 67 was repeated questions and topics and junk.
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    • BA
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      You know what they say: One person's junk is another person's treasure. I suggest using the Page Range feature in your print menu should you wish to print one of Bills.com's heavily commented pages.
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  • PY
    Jan, 2011
    Pies
    My first time here. Thank you for that informative information. It answered my similar question.
    0 Votes