It isn’t bad enough you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, but then comes the phone call. You are informed by the caller your dead relative owes a bill which you are asked to pay. In most cases, survivors of a dead relative are not required to pay the bill of a deceased relative. But, you say, the deceased was in the hospital before they passed and now there is a substantial medical bill due. You are not responsible to pay the medical bill of the deceased unless you sign an agreement to do so with the hospital. This is why you MUST be careful what you sign when admitting a relative to the hospital. Be sure the form does not obligate you as an individual to pay the bill! It doesn’t make any difference if it’s your own spouse.
Just provide the hospital with the insurance information, or if there isn’t any insurance, tell the hospital your relative will sign their own information form when able to do so.
As for credit cards? It works in the same general manner. A debt collection agency may tell you, in fact you may know, the deceased had substantial credit card debts when they passed. You are not responsible to pay any credit card bills of the deceased unless you are an approved user of the credit card. Debt collectors often work for credit card companies calling you to make those payments and offering to help you by setting up monthly payments to pay the debt. Don’t do so!
Please note: The law constantly changes, and you can't be 100% confident in the information provided above,
but feel free to call our offices with any questions: 1-800-332-1992.