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John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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My elderly,single, mother passed away recently and left an

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My elderly,single, mother passed away recently and left an estate worth less than California probate limits. She named an executor and family beneficiaries. She had Medicare/Medicade and some insurance but medical bills are starting to show up. Do these bills have to be paid?
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

The bad news is that the bills (after Medicare and Medicaid pay) do have to be paid. You may also find that Medicaid has a claim for anything that they paid for her care as well.

There are a couple of good new points. First, the bills only have to be paid to the extent of her assets. If her assets are insufficient to pay all the bills then only some of the bills get paid based on a statutory order of priority. It is very critical here that you do not pay ANY bills until it is determined that ALL of the bills have been submitted so that it can be determined if there is enough money and if to determine the order.

Second, if you are appointed executor and do not want to do that job you are not required to apply to be the executor. You can submit the will to the court without opening a formal probate estate. You have no obligation to do anything. You may choose not to do anything if there will be no assets after payment of all the medical bills. Any of the creditors also has the right to step in and administer the estate if the executor chooses not to do that job.

I cannot provide you with legal advise. I have provided you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you find online, should not take the place of having a consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.

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Thank you,


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