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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    New York
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    Question Surviving spouse's responsibility for medical bills

    In NY state,what conditions must be satisfied for a surviving spouse not to be legally responsible for unpaid medical bills incurred by the deceased spouse?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Surviving spouse's responsibility for medical bills

    I did a quick search of the New York state statutes and didn't see a statute that addresses this question. Did the surviving spouse sign any contracts to be responsible for the debt?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New York
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    Thumbs up Re: Surviving spouse's responsibility for medical bills

    No.My spouse signed all documents in her name with her health insurance number.In fact a summary of benefits was sent to estate of(name of decesed spouse). My name is not on any thing.Thank you for your reply

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New York
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    20

    Thumbs up Re: Surviving spouse's responsibility for medical bills

    My spouse died recently. All of our property was jointly owned. I am receiving medical bills with charges I did not authorize. Am I required to pay these bills?
    No. You are not responsible for paying from your own income or property for any debts or expenses that are your spouse's alone unless you have actually agreed to accept financial responsibility. If all of the property your spouse owned at the time of death was owned jointly with you (with the "right of survivorship"), that property is solely yours upon your spouse's death. Therefore, you are not responsible for paying these bills.

    However, if your spouse owned assets or property of any sort that was not jointly owned with the right of survivorship, that property would be in your deceased spouse's estate. You would need to probate the estate, and if there was anything left after expenses that have priority (such as burial expenses), then your spouse's creditor might be entitled to payment from the estate.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    20

    Talking Re: Surviving spouse's responsibility for medical bills

    NOT a community property state (where both parties are jointly and severally liable for any debts incurred by the other spouse).

    I would tell her to let the creditors know she is disabled, and that any claims should be filed against her deceased husband's estate. If there is none, they are not legally allowed to pursue her for his debt.

    My biggest concern are the utilities. Is she still residing at the location where these bills were incurred. If not, you don't have to worry about the utilities being cut off. If she no longer lives there, send them a letter, let them know about your father & tell them your mother is disabled and on a fixed income. At that juncture, they really have no one left to pursue.

    Kathleen Crabtree-Eads

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