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Inheritance and medical bills in Dallas

Dallas, TX |

My mother lives in CT and has a will. She told me that if my husband, who is ill, builds up huge medical bills at some point, I can be forced to use the inheritance to pay those bills. It won't be a lot of money, but we don't want it going towards bills. We will need it to live. My husband has not worked in over a year. I'm not sure what to do to prevent any money I will receive from going towards anything I don't want it to go towards. Is there any way to prevent this? Can all the money be given to my sister and have her put it into a separate bank account that I have access to, in CT or in TX? I will have this same problem with a will from my father as well.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Texas law does make a spouse liable for the necessary expenses their spouse incurs. Thus, the inheritance, which is considered separate property, can be subject to a creditor's claim for nonpayment of neccessaries provided to the other spouse. However, if you are not married at the time of the expense is incurred, then there is no liability. Thus, you may want to consider getting a divorce prior to any further expenses being incurred (which would be an extreme choice but would allow you to maintain control of the funds) or having your inheritance placed into a trust that would limit a creditor's ability to reach it.
    You should go see an estate planning/asset protection attorney to discuss these options and others to determine your best course of action.

    If this response was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. The response provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice, nor does it establish or intend to establish an attorney-client relationship. You should always speak with a licensed attorney regarding your legal rights before taking or not taking any particular action. In certain jurisdictions, this response may be considered an advertisement. In such circumstance, Kevin M. Koel is responsible for all content stated in the response. Kevin M. Koel is not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for any particular practice area, nor does Kevin M. Koel claim specialized knowledge in any practice area.

  2. Your parents should consult a CT lawyer and ask him to draft them Wills that create a type of trust that would protect your inheritance from your and your husband's creditors. That is done all the time. It is a much better solution that getting a divorce.

    DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

  3. Your problem is not difficult to solve if your parents are willing to revise their estate plan to create an irrevocable trust for your benefit, with a spendthrift provision and a carefully drafted distribition provision-- so that the Trustee in its sole absolute discretion may distribute such amounts of income oe principal as are in your best interests is a good starting point. The Trustee should be an Independent Trustee as described in Subchapter J of the Internal Revenue Code. An experienced CT Trust and Estate Attorney can tweak this general concept to comply with CT law.

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