My question involves collection proceedings in the State of California.
My wife, a Ugandan immigrant whose 4 year student Visa expired in Oct. 2010, and I, an American born citizen, were married in California on Aug. 5, 2011. She passed away from a still unknown cause on Nov. 1, 2011 after two weeks in ICU.
(And to put to rest all idle chatter -- yes, we were really and truly in love. She and I were working with an immigration lawyer to change her deportation status with our next court date to be in May of 2012.)
At the time of our marriage and her death I was unemployed and did not have any medical insurance for either her or myself. She had no insurance, as well. I am a homeowner (a condo - valued at about $250,000, down from the $389,000 I paid for it back in 2007). I also have an annuity that's just under $29,000 and about $40,000 in savings and checking.
Bills from some of the specialists and the ER have been coming in -- mostly in the $2000 range. But I just received a statement (not an itemized bill) from the hospital for over $238,000, which brings the total to close to $250,000.
Needless to say I cannot conceive of how to pay this bill and now fear the loss of my house and possible bankruptcy.
What I would like to know are my rights and responsibilities regarding this issue and how I can best protect myself and my assets.
Thank you in advance.