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Since MN is not a community property state, then wife's estate is the only entity that could be held liable for her debts unless they were medical debts or necessary household expenses.
The law in Minnesota is found in state statute section 519.05. It states in relevant part that “a spouse is not liable to a creditor for any debts of the other spouse. Where husband and wife are living together, they shall be jointly and severally liable for necessary medical services that have been furnished to either spouse…..and necessary household articles and supplies furnished to and used by the family.”
So if these were just her private charges for her own benefit, you aren't liable and if her estate doesn't have enough money in it to pay them, the creditors just lose.
If wife's mother left an investment account with wife as the beneficiary, then that money would go directly to wife after mother's death. I am not sure why it wouldn't have already been distributed to wife if her mother was deceased.
If we are now switching gears and talking about the mother's estate, then any creditors would have to file a suit against her estate within 6 years of the debt going into default or it would be beyond the time to pursue collection.
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