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I'm I as surviving spouse responsible for husbands medical bills in Florida?

West Palm Beach, FL |

Sent Death Certificates for 4 medical bills and now getting bills from collection agency. What am I to do?

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Attorney answers 3


First, my condolences on the loss of your husband. The extent to whic you may be responsible for yoru husban'd medical bills depends on whether you signed any paperwork agreeing to be responsible. If not, you will not be required to pay them. If you are liable, ther are options, such as disputing the debts, reaching a settlement, or deefnding against the debts (either by denying you're liable or defending against their efforts to collect). Finally, you may qualify for bankruptcy protection. You should meet with a knowledgeable attorney in your area before you make any payments, who can review your paperwork and provide advise as to the best strategy on your debt.


Mr. Cabanas' answer was spot-on, in all respects, so let me address an area that he did not refer to: you. You must have the confidence to not be swayed by demanding collection agencies who will tell you anything in an effort to collect money.

If your husband was the owner of the house in which you resided--it CAN NOT BE TOUCHED by a creditor's claim. Pension monies, money in bank accounts from pensions, social security, disability benefits and the like CAN NOT BE TOUCHED. Household furniture items having value of up to $20,000.00 are excluded from the grasp of creditors of a decedent. So too are 2 motor vehicles used by the decedent and/or his/her immediate family.

So, a lot of property of a decedent can pass to family members without being subject to claims of creditors. And as Mr. Cabanas indicated, if you did not sign a document in which you obligated yourself to make payment, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE. If the collection agency personnel insist that they have such a document, ask them to produce it; if they say they can't or won't, then you will know that they probably don't, so be strong in that regard.

Good luck to you both in terms of dealing with these collection matters and dealing with your personal loss.

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Basically, no. The debt died with him. There is a very rarely utilized doctrine of necessities which could be used against you, but in all likelihood will not.

R. Jason de Groot, Esq., 386-337-8239

Robert Jason De Groot

Robert Jason De Groot


That doctrine has been abolished by our Supreme Court.

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