South Portland, ME asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maine

Q: My husband passed away and medical bills are coming in. Am I responsible for paying for them? I live in Maine

Our home is paid for, vehicles also.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Maine, whether you are responsible for your deceased husband's medical bills largely depends on various factors, including the nature of the debts, your husband's estate, and whether you were a joint account holder or co-signer on any of his debts. Generally, the estate of the deceased is responsible for paying off any debts, including medical bills. If your husband left an estate (like property, savings, etc.), creditors can make claims against the estate to recover what is owed.

However, if the estate does not have enough assets to cover the debts, or if there is no estate, the situation can become more complex. In Maine, as in many states, spouses are not automatically responsible for the individual debts of a deceased spouse unless they were joint debts or the spouse co-signed the debt.

Your home and vehicles, if solely in your husband's name and part of his estate, could potentially be subject to claims by creditors. However, if these assets were jointly owned or if you live in a state that has laws protecting a surviving spouse's property, they may be protected from creditors.

It is advisable to consult with an attorney who can provide guidance based on your specific situation. They can help you understand your rights and obligations and navigate the process of handling your husband's estate and any outstanding debts. Handling these matters can be complex, especially during a time of loss, so professional legal guidance is often crucial.

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