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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13893
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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My husband died in February. The hospital is billing me for

Customer Question

Hello. My husband died in February. The hospital is billing me for two thousand dollars which may not sound like a lot but I am on a fixed income now. There was no estate, no savings account, no investments. I also subsidize two children and two grandchildren. Do I have to pay this debt?
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: MNassachusetts
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I don't understand.
JA: What confuses you?
Customer: What would I report or sign?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no thank you
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon,

Condolences on your loss first of all, and apologies on our automated assistant - it doesn't always quite work the way we want.

While most debts that you spouse incurred only in his name would be left to the estate, Massachusetts specifically recognizes what is known as the "doctrine of necessaries" that holds a spouse is liable for the medical bills/healthcare expenses of a spouse. So unfortunately, you can be held responsible.

That said, I've never seen a case where a hospital has actually sued a spouse for the debts of their deceased spouse, and this cannot go on your credit unless you a) either co-signed as a payer or b) they were to sue you and get a judgment.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

You may wish to speak with someone in the hospital's billing department to see if they have a medical advocate or someone who can help persons on a fixed/low income reduce the debt or manage payment. Also, you don't say what your source of income is, but certain incomes like social security and pensions, cannot be garnished for something like medical debt. Therefore, even getting a judgment would be worthless because it couldn't be collected.