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Am I liable for my parents medical debt?

People consider bankruptcy for many reasons, and one of the most common reasons for bankruptcy in the United States today is medical debt. Often, however, individuals consider bankruptcy not because of their own medical debt, but because of the debt of a parent. Before you file for bankruptcy because of a parent's medical debt, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney to determine if you are actually legally liable for your parent's medical debt to begin with.

Each child's situation is different, so it is important to fully understand the scope of your legal obligations to your parent's debt. While it is easy to understand your feelings of moral obligations, moral and legal obligations are not always the same thing.

In most cases, a child is not usually held liable for a parent's medical debt. However, if you and your parent share ownership of property, you may have to contend with creditors pursuing that property.

Regardless of your legal liability, if your parents owe medical debt, you may find yourself on the receiving end of collections tactics. For the sake of your own sanity, even if you do not have a legal obligation to pay your parent's medical debt, it may be worth it help them by negotiating with the various institutions they owe.

Still, your legal obligations and your moral obligations may differ significantly, so it is always wise to consult with an attorney before taking any drastic steps such as bankruptcy. With proper legal counsel, you can rest assured that your rights and the rights of the parent you love remain secure.

Source: findlaw, "Am I Responsible for My Elderly Parents' Medical Bills?," Ephrat Livni, accessed June 16, 2017

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