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Is surviving spouse liable for unpaid medical bills of deceased spouse in North Carolina? Can a lien be placed on home/autos?

Asheville, NC |

Is there any protection of home/autos if deed & auto titles are transferred solely to surviving spouse prior to death of their spouse?

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Attorney answers 2


In many states, spouse's are responsible for each others medical debts. If so, and if the creditor sues to collect, bank accounts can be attached, wages can be garnished, and a lien can be placed on any real or personal property owed by either spouse.

You may wish to discuss this issue with a probate attorney in your community. Even if your spouse left no assets, filing a probate can eliminate debts in some situations.

Hope this perspective helps & good luck!


The Doctrine of Necessaries (aka doctrine of necessities) seems to still be a problem for NC residents.

Transferring titles may help in the short run, but in the long run such transfers alone will likely not be an availing asset protection strategy.

It would be a good idea to see an asset protection attorney and do some planning.