(I'm sorry to be wordy, I don't know how to pare it down)
We live in WA.
My father in law died in Nov. He left nothing but debts and evidence of having stolen money from his wife (forging her name to take money from her life insurance). All the wills at the house (they never threw anything away) say the same thing, that it all goes to his wife. Of course, he had nothing. He never got life insurance after the last time he cashed his in, because they always thought that my mother in law's health would cause her to die first.
I've been helping figure out all the bills and changing bills into her name only, changing car insurance, etc etc etc. He had Medicare (as does she), he was receiving SS benefits (so now she receives survivor's benefits and the half of his pension that she was entitled to), he had supplemental insurance that is pretty good. The bills coming in aren't for THAT much, but it's just the beginning right now.
Today my mother in law had a health crisis; she had tuberculosis as a 20-something, and it has weakened her lungs. Today I started wondering, if she were to pass away after an illness, who would pay for HER medical bills, from that care? She has nothing as well.
Since she has nothing, no estate, there's no money to pay bills after she dies. And to me it makes no sense that her grown children would have to pay from their own money, for her medical bills. Would they? It would make sense, if there were an inheritance, for that money to pay for her bills, but there will be no inheritance.
So that's one question.
And the second question came from that question...I know WA is community property, but are medical bills, when the spouse has died after receiving the medical treatment, required to be paid by the surviving spouse, when there was no estate? Does she have to pay from her paltry survivor's benefits and half pension?
I'm so afraid I messed up while helping her (their children were in NO shape to help, but I've been through losing a parent and was the strongest), I'm so afraid that even though he had NOTHING, no money at all, that I messed up in not sending her to a lawyer right when he died...