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After a person dies does the next of kin have to pay medical bills?

Sacramento, CA |

My Fiancée passed away on Thursday and his sisters were told that the next of kin would be held accountable to pay for the medical bills . In this case it would be his parents since we were not legally married . His mother is stressed out because the sum of his medical bills is about 20 , 000 - 30 , 000 . Is this true that the next of kin is responsible to pay this bill even though they never signed any documents saying they would pay if their son passed away ?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. My condolences for your loss. As a general rule only the estate of the decedent is liable for the debts of the decedent. The answer would be otherwise, of course, if someone else assuming liability by signing something.

    Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


  2. As mentioned, the estate is responsible for the bills. The Probate Code has very specific rules on how they are paid. If the estate has no money there is not anything to collect on. Creditors will attempt to have people apy on debts they dont need ...

    If the estate has money or property, a probate action would need to be started.. It would be well worth sitting down with an attorney who can walk you through the process...

    This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on California Law.Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.


  3. No. As long as the next of kin didn't assume the debt and the Decedent wasn't married, then only the assets of the estate are liable for the Decedent's debts.

    These "answers" do not constitute specific legal advice tailored to your particular situation. Further, you are NOT a client of mine unless I agree to represent you in writing, evidenced by a fully executed written retainer agreement and a payment of a retainer amount. You should not act upon or rely upon any any statements contained in this "answer" without retaining an attorney to represent you and to advise you regarding your particular legal situation.

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