Q: Hi, my husband passed in June here in Connecticut. I'm trying to understand if I'm responsible for his medical bills.
A: I am sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. Regarding his debts, in particular medical bills, it depends. Generally speaking, debts in the sole name of the deceased individual are only the responsibility of the decedent's estate, not surviving family. This means, any probate assets he owned, would first be used to pay funeral, administration expenses, taxes, and debts of the decedent, before passing to beneficiaries or heirs at law. If he owned no solely owned (probate) assets, then these debts would go unpaid. However, if you signed as a responsible party to pay certain debts (with the hospital, doctor, etc), or if there are any jointly owned debts (ie joint credit card), those would be your responsibility to pay. Feel free to reach out to a local probate attorney for more assistance and to answer this question as it directly related to your exact situation.
While Nicole is correct on most of what she is saying with respect to probate and expense paying, she did not mention a very important state Statute
Connecticut has a law that requires spouses to pay most medical expenses: C.G.S. §46b-37(b)(4) which can be read at:
So if you apply Nicole's process slowly going through probate creditor provisions and find that some medical expenses were not paid, then yes the Spouse would be legally responsible for the medical bills.
There is however some debate as to whether a nursing home counts as a medical expense under this statute. Hope this helps.
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