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AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR MY LOVED ONE’S MEDICAL BILLS?

If you signed a contract agreeing to be responsible for your loved one’s medical expenses, then you can be held responsible for those expenses.


If you did not sign a contract, then a creditor must timely file a claim if it wants to be paid:

  • If an Estate has been opened, then a creditor has three (3) months after the first published notice to creditors to file a claim. I.C. §29-1-14-1

  • If no Estate has been opened, then a creditor may open an Estate for your loved one and must file a claim within nine (9) months of the date of the decedent's death. I.C. §29-1-14-1.

There is a doctrine in Indiana called the “doctrine of necessaries” which provides that a spouse (who did not enter into a contract for medical expenses) can be held responsible for the medical expenses of the deceased spouse if the creditor first attempts to collect from the contracting spouse or their estate.


“The doctrine of necessaries is based on the concept that the non-contracting spouse is liable only to the extent that the debtor spouse is unable to satisfy his or her own personal needs or obligations.”


Creek v. Combs, 992 N.E.2d 209, 214 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013)