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Meghand1979

He walked out 20 years ago, can I be responsible for his debt now that he died?

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20 years ago I was married. 4 months after the marriage he abandoned me. For 6 months had no idea if he was dead or alive or anything! Then he surfaced and informed me he had gotten an annulment! Fast forward to present day. I was trying to obtain medical ins. Because of the Obama care penalty I was wanting to avoid. The Idaho State Dept. of Health and welfare said I didn't qualify because I was married! Since I had never remarried, they were obviously refering to the marriage i tbought was annulled. Long story short, i was told either provide divorce decree or death certificate to fix. So I decided to pursue filing for divorce. Had not spoken since original seperation 2 decades ago, so I proceeded to look for him or his family but was unsuccessful in making contact. So I was going to file and and make service through the newspaper. Anyhow, the day I was going to file I discovered he had past away about 2 weeks prior from a search I had done online. So, I contacted funeral home for a copy of the death certificate. That went fine but next day his sister and his girlfriend of the last 7 years called and after a brief convo she said well enjoy all the bills and good luck getting any survivor benefits! I was just dumbfounded and hung up! Is that possible for them to stick me with his debt?

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15 minutes ago, Meghand1979 said:

I was just dumbfounded and hung up! Is that possible for them to stick me with his debt?

 

Not likely. While Idaho is a community property state, debts and assets accumulated during that long period of separation are probably going to be treated as separate property and separate debts. What that means is that you probably won't have much if any claim to a share of his property via community property law but wouldn't be liable for his debts either. You might be entitled to a share of his estate through intestacy, though, if he did not have will, but to get that his estate would first have to pay off all his debts. 

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9 minutes ago, Meghand1979 said:

Then he surfaced and informed me he had gotten an annulment!

 

Did he provide any evidence that he had done this?  He could not have obtained an annulment without serving you with legal papers, and it would not have been reasonable for you simply to take him at his word.

 

 

11 minutes ago, Meghand1979 said:

Fast forward to present day. I was trying to obtain medical ins. Because of the Obama care penalty I was wanting to avoid. The Idaho State Dept. of Health and welfare said I didn't qualify because I was married! Since I had never remarried, they were obviously refering to the marriage i tbought was annulled. Long story short, i was told either provide divorce decree or death certificate to fix. So I decided to pursue filing for divorce.

 

So...for the past 19 years or so, you have been operating on the belief that your marriage was annulled and, as a result, filed your income taxes as an unmarried person?

 

 

15 minutes ago, Meghand1979 said:

Is that possible for them to stick me with his debt?

 

I'm not sure who "them" refers to.  Idaho is a community property state, so it is possible that your husband's creditors could make an argument that you are liable for his debts.  However, under the circumstances, I think it's unlikely they would pursue you and, even if they did, you'd probably have a viable defense.  Unfortunately, because you apparently took your husband at his word about the annulment without taking any reasonable measures to confirm it, you may have some mess to clean up.

 

You may also want to confer with a CPA regarding your last few years' tax returns and whether filing amended returns as "married filing separately" would be of any benefit to you.

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