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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: US Law
Satisfied Customers: 26755
Experience:  Over 20 years of high volume criminal defense work,including all aspects of a case from arraignment to plea or trial.
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Hello - my mother recently died in California. She was British

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Hello - my mother recently died in California. She was British by birth but had US citizenship. There's a Californian 'filial responsibility' law that says that adult children of a California resident are responsible for the cost of their basic needs, including medical bills, and this extends to meeting such debts after their death. My mother's estate is insolvent, and she ran up massive medical bills. She had no medical insurance, and there's no life insurance. Please can you tell me if, as a UK citizen, I'm responsible for those bills under Californian law? Many thanks.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: US Law
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.

Hello,

My name is ***** ***** I am a US lawyer.

Although California has a fiial responsibility law on its books, it is a very old law. In actual fact, the courts have not had a case involving filial responsibility since 1973. There is talk about California resurrecting its filial responsbility laws because of the staggering cost of health care for the uninsured elderly who need long term care. So far, however, it's a worrisome concern rather than a reality.

Presently, sction 12350 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code protects the children from the filial responsibility law. If at any time during her course of treatment she applied for aid -- which she almost certainly did or you'd have been contacted about her bills while she was still alive -- the children are not liable for her care. See link to statute.

Your mother's California creditors would love you to pay them, I'm sure, but they have no jurisdiction over you and you don't have to pay your mother's debt. They would have to sue you under California's filial responsibility laws and then get the judgment enforced in the UK courts. I think that's highly unlikely given the state of that law and the logistics involved.

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