Houston, TX asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas

Q: My mom has separate and community property, where would her medical debt be paid out from.

She was married for 4 years but at here job for 17 years 13 years is separate property and the other 4 was community but during the last year she accumulated medical bills so I’m trying to see if her husband would have to pay from his community property or it would come out both community and separate. Cause as far as funeral and everything else I had to pay out of pocket.

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2 Lawyer Answers
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Up to $15,000 of funeral expenses and up to an additional $15,000 of medical expenses associated with your mom’s final illness must be paid out of your mom’s estate as a priority claim before any other debts or expenses are paid.

If you paid funeral expenses out of pocket, you need to gather your receipts and present them to the personal representative of your mother’s estate for reimbursement.

Similarly, any medical bills you have received for your mom’s health care need to be forwarded to the personal representative of her estate for payment.

If your mom’s legitimate necessary medical expenses cannot be satisfied from the assets in your mom’s estate, her husband may be personally liable for such expenses.

As an heir of your mom’s estate, you need to leave these decisions to the personal representative of her estate, the probate attorney assisting that representative, and the probate court. The Texas Estates Code prescribes the order in which different classes of debts and liabilities are to be paid out of your mom’s estate prior to any distribution of property to her heirs.

Hunter Reed Sargent
Hunter Reed Sargent
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Denton, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: In general, if your mother incurred the medical debt while she was married, the debt may be considered "community debt". This means that the debt would be paid out of the community property, which includes property that was acquired during the marriage.

However, if the medical debt was incurred before the marriage or after the couple separated, it may be considered "separate debt". In this case, the debt would be paid out of your mother's separate property, which includes property that she owned before the marriage or acquired during the marriage through inheritance or as a gift.

In Texas, community property is divided equally between the spouses upon divorce or death, and each spouse is generally responsible for paying their share of the community debts.

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