What can happen if my mother recently passed away from brain cancer with an accumulated debt of over $200,000 in medical bills?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What can happen if my mother recently passed away from brain cancer with an accumulated debt of over $200,000 in medical bills?

My mother has suffered from brain cancer for many years. Now, my father is concerned the hospital can place a lien on his house, which also has my mother’s name on the title. It’s paid off and he doesn’t want to lose it. What are his considerations for owing the debt?

Asked on January 3, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New Hampshire


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

While he *may* not owe the debt directly, her estate--which means her assets or jointly held assets--could be liable. In addition, depending on the form(s) he signed while he was in the hospital, he may well have obligated himself to pay.

One option to deal with overwhelming medical debt is bankruptcy; it is an unsecured debt, and so can potentially be discharged. Also, some states (e.g. FL) protect a spouse's primary residence from collections efforts. Given how much is at stake, your father should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss his right and options.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption