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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    1

    Question Spouse Died. Should I Try to Get Medical Bills Forgiven or File Probate

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Illinois

    My spouse died and I am getting advice from everyone. My spouse spent months in a rehab/nursing home, hospital and dialysis.

    I am unemployed and spouse's ss checks stop this month. I will not be receiving spouse's ss benefits since I do not meet any of the criteria.

    Family's advice is for me to try to get bills forgiven. I read that probate would be the answer because in IL the spouse gets an award and then from there, bills are paid. There is not enough money in our accounts to pay the spouse's award.
    If that is the case then it appears the medical bills and all other bills will be forgiven due to insolvency.

    What should I do?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Spouse Died. Should I Try to Get Medical Bills Forgiven or File Probate

    The Illinois Doctrine of Necessities has been codified in the following statute:
    Quote Quoting 750 ILCS 65/15
    (a)

    (1) The expenses of the family and of the education of the children shall be chargeable upon the property of both husband and wife, or of either of them, in favor of creditors therefor, and in relation thereto they may be sued jointly or separately.

    (2) No creditor, who has a claim against a spouse or former spouse for an expense incurred by that spouse or former spouse which is not a family expense, shall maintain an action against the other spouse or former spouse for that expense except:

    (A) an expense for which the other spouse or former spouse agreed, in writing, to be liable; or

    (B) an expense for goods or merchandise purchased by or in the possession of the other spouse or former spouse, or for services ordered by the other spouse or former spouse.
    (3) Any creditor who maintains an action in violation of this subsection (a) for an expense other than a family expense against a spouse or former spouse other than the spouse or former spouse who incurred the expense, shall be liable to the other spouse or former spouse for his or her costs, expenses and attorney's fees incurred in defending the action.

    (4) No creditor shall, with respect to any claim against a spouse or former spouse for which the creditor is prohibited under this subsection (a) from maintaining an action against the other spouse or former spouse, engage in any collection efforts against the other spouse or former spouse, including, but not limited to, informal or formal collection attempts, referral of the claim to a collector or collection agency for collection from the other spouse or former spouse, or making any representation to a credit reporting agency that the other spouse or former spouse is any way liable for payment of the claim.
    (b) No spouse shall be liable for any expense incurred by the other spouse when an abortion is performed on such spouse, without the consent of such other spouse, unless the physician who performed the abortion certifies that such abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the spouse who obtained such abortion.

    (c) No parent shall be liable for any expense incurred by his or her minor child when an abortion is performed on such minor child without the consent of both parents of such child, if they both have custody, or the parent having custody, or legal guardian of such child, unless the physician who performed the abortion certifies that such abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the minor child who obtained such abortion.
    As such, whether or not you open an estate, bills for necessary medical care are chargeable against your assets as well as those of your late spouse. I do not know how aggressively the medical creditors will pursue the debt, how much is involved, or what percentage you could propose paying - it sounds like you are looking at a lot of bills with little or no ability to pay. If that's the case you can discuss with the providers whether they have a program to forgive medical debt under these circumstances, or whatever else you can work out. You can also consider consult an bankruptcy lawyer if it looks like they aren't going to work with you.

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