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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12358
Experience:  JD, MBA
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My father recently died. What happens to his hospital bills

Customer Question

My father recently died. What happens to his hospital bills that are solely in his name. Is my mom now responsible for them.?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.
Hi! My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you!
Can you provide me a bit more information? In what state did he reside at the time of his death? Does his estate have sufficient assets to pay these bills? Thanks.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Richmond, Va
Estate doesn't have enough assets to pay bills.
Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for following up. Because Virginia does have a statute that could obligate children for a parent's debts in certain situations ... VA. Code Ann. § 20-88....and I don't have experience in dealing with that specific statute, I'm going to opt out to open your question up to all experts so another expert can hopefully timely provide you the information you seek. Please do not respond to this post as it will only slow the process of such an expert picking up your question. Take care.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
did you get the answer.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.
It is possible that your mother could be held liable for the bills.
Va. Code Ann. § 55-37 provides in part: "The doctrine of necessaries as it existed at common law shall apply equally to both spouses, except where they are permanently living separate and apart, but shall in no event create any liability between such spouses as to each other. …"
So, the bot***** *****ne is that medical care, which is generally considered a necessity, could create liability for your mother. Realistically, this is unlikely to happen unless the creditor determines that your mother has the means to pay.
Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1) So as I understand my mother could be held liability if the creditor determines that she has the means to pay. Right! and those creditors being the hospitals.
2) What happens if financially she is unable to pay off those bills.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again.
Realistically speaking, it is unlikely that the hospital would bother suing your mother if she does not have the means to pay the bills. The hospitals would not want to spend even more on legal fees for no reason.