Who is Responsible for Hospital Bills After Death in Georgia?

Who is Responsible for Hospital Bills After Death in Georgia

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It’s common for a loved one to get strapped with medical debt before they pass. 

This article talks about: 

  • who is responsible for hospital bills after they pass
  • how they get paid
  • when they can just get wiped clean
  • what if you can’t afford to pay them off
  • how to avoid paying them

Let’s dig in.

What Happens to Hospital Bills After Death?

Medical debts do not die with you. 

But heirs do not inherit medical debts. 

The deceased person’s estate is responsible for paying off hospital bills

The medical debts will get paid out of the estate

The hospital becomes a creditor of the estate.

The executor or administrator has to pay off the creditors

When You Die With No Estate

When you die with no estate in Georgia, the medical bills will go unpaid

The unpaid medical bills do not get transferred to a spouse or heirs. 

Hospitals will write off this unpaid medical debt as a tax loss

Can Family Members Be Held Responsible For Medical Bills?

Family members cannot be held responsible for medical bills

They are only responsible if they co-signed for the debts. 

Georgia is not a community property state. 

So, medical debts don’t get transferred to surviving spouses

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There’s Not Enough Money To Pay Off Medical Bills

Often, there’s not enough money in the estate to pay off hospital bills. 

The executor has to pay off debts in an order of priority:

  • Year’s Support: Financial support for surviving spouse and children.
  • Funeral Expenses: Reasonable costs for a funeral or cremation. 
  • Administration Fees: Court and legal fees for settling an estate. 
  • Final Illness: Medical bills for the deceased’s final illness. 
  • Taxes: State and federal taxes. 
  • Secured Creditors: Debts secured by property (i.e., mortgages and cars). 
  • Unsecured Creditors: Credit cards and non-final illness hospital bills. 
  • Distributions: Giving assets to heirs and beneficiaries after debts are paid. 

When there is not enough money, you’ll have to sell property to get money. 

The hospitals can:

  • put liens on the property in the estate
  • force you to go through the probate process 

Likely, heirs and beneficiaries won’t get an inheritance in this case. 

But the heirs won’t be responsible for paying off the deceased’s medical bills. 

What Is Final Illness?

“Final illness” is any illness that’s:

  • a direct cause of death
  • a terminal illness
  • end-of-life care

Negotiating Medical Bills After Death

  • Gather Info: Collect bills, review insurance, and document the estate’s finances. 
  • Contact Providers: Provide death certificate to hospitals and providers. 
  • Explain Finances: Describe the estate’s limited funds and other obligations. 
  • Reductions: Ask for a bill reduction for a lump sum payment. 
  • Document Agreements: Get settlements in writing. 

We negotiate with medical providers all the time. 

Fill out the form to get help from a probate lawyer

When Medical Debts Can Get Wiped Clean

Medical debts can get wiped clean for: 

  • Estate Insolvency: There’s not enough money in the estate to pay them. 
  • Debt Forgiveness Programs: Charity programs through the hospital. 
  • Negotiated Settlements: Hospitals will forgive a portion or all of the debts. 

Probate Process For Medical Bills

An executor or administrator has to pay off the medical bills from the estate. 

Here is a simplified probate process

  1. get the death certificate and will (if there is one)
  2. get court-appointed as the executor or administrator
  3. notify medical providers and insurance companies
  4. collect and verify medical bills
  5. inventory assets and liabilities
  6. notify creditors and verify claims
  7. negotiate and pay debts in order of priority
  8. distribute remaining assets to beneficiaries
  9. close the estate with the final accounting

How A Probate Lawyer Can Help

Navigating probate with hospital bills gets complex. 

We can assist with: 

  • Estate Planning: Avoid probate so your assets aren’t eaten up with medical debt. 
  • Probate: Ensure you are legally compliant with Georgia’s laws. 
  • Debt Resolution: Handling outstanding debts and protecting the estate.

Get Help From A Probate Lawyer

Are you overwhelmed by the Georgia probate process

Our Georgia probate attorneys handle everything for you.

We specialize in taking as much as possible off your plate so that you are not: 

  • personally financially liable
  • accidentally breaking the law
  • filling out the paperwork wrong
  • not notifying or paying off creditors
  • dealing with disputes among family

Fill out the form to take this off your plate.

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