Medical Debt after death


New Member
My wife has died from hearth failure at Dixie Medical center in Saint George , Utah. Now the bills are coming, from all the the ones involved with her brief treatment of one night and one morning. I've already sent copies of the death certificate to most of them. What I don't understand is that they know she's passed yet they still send bills and try to collect. She didn't have any insurance. Am I liable to pay these bills that are in her name?

I live off of social security and need to supplement my income with work. I don't receive survivor benefits because she was a German citizen.

How should I answer to these requests?
Please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss.

In most states the answer would be no, the surviving spouse isn't responsible for the medical debt of the deceased spouse.

However, Utah operates under the necessities doctrine that holds both spouses liable for necessary expenses of the other, including medical care.

The following case is cited to explain how a court in Utah arrived at the conclusion of responsiblitity:

FindLaw's Court of Appeals of Utah case and opinions.

You are trying to exist on social insecurity.
You supplement your social insecurity payment by doing a little extra work.

Generally speaking you probably can't be touched for the medical debts.

If you chose to file a chapter seven personal bankruptcy the medical debts would be discharged by a federal judge.

I suggest you speak with a couple bankruptcy attorneys near you about that possibility.

You could also end up doing it yourself "pro se".

The bankruptcy would stop the scavengers from hounding you and disturbing your peace as you grieve.

If you live in Nevada, the prospects could be even bleaker.
Nevada is a community property state.
Prevailing thought in community property states says the surviving spouse is responsible for medical debts and all other debts of the deceased spouse.
If that is the case, that chapter 7 personal bankruptcy should be even more alluring.
In either case, NV or UT, a bankruptcy is the cure to all debt ailments.

Good luck, and please let us know what you end up choosing to do about those heartless debt collectors.
Sure the debt is owed, but at least allow you time to grieve.