2010 California Code
Probate Code
Chapter 3. Liability For Debts Of Deceased Spouse

PROBATE CODE
SECTION 13550-13554



13550.  Except as provided in Sections 11446, 13552, 13553, and
13554, upon the death of a married person, the surviving spouse is
personally liable for the debts of the deceased spouse chargeable
against the property described in Section 13551 to the extent
provided in Section 13551.



13551.  The liability imposed by Section 13550 shall not exceed the
fair market value at the date of the decedent's death, less the
amount of any liens and encumbrances, of the total of the following:
   (a) The portion of the one-half of the community and
quasi-community property belonging to the surviving spouse under
Sections 100 and 101 that is not exempt from enforcement of a money
judgment and is not administered in the estate of the deceased
spouse.
   (b) The portion of the one-half of the community and
quasi-community property belonging to the decedent under Sections 100
and 101 that passes to the surviving spouse without administration.
   (c) The separate property of the decedent that passes to the
surviving spouse without administration.



13552.  If proceedings are commenced in this state for the
administration of the estate of the deceased spouse and the time for
filing claims has commenced, any action upon the liability of the
surviving spouse pursuant to Section 13550 is barred to the same
extent as provided for claims under Part 4 (commencing with Section
9000) of Division 7, except as to the following:
   (a) Creditors who commence judicial proceedings for the
enforcement of the debt and serve the surviving spouse with the
complaint therein prior to the expiration of the time for filing
claims.
   (b) Creditors who have or who secure the surviving spouse's
acknowledgment in writing of the liability of the surviving spouse
for the debts.
   (c) Creditors who file a timely claim in the proceedings for the
administration of the estate of the deceased spouse.



13553.  The surviving spouse is not liable under this chapter if all
the property described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a)
of Section 13502 is administered under this code.



13554.  (a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any debt
described in Section 13550 may be enforced against the surviving
spouse in the same manner as it could have been enforced against the
deceased spouse if the deceased spouse had not died.
   (b) In any action or proceeding based upon the debt, the surviving
spouse may assert any defense, cross-complaint, or setoff which
would have been available to the deceased spouse if the deceased
spouse had not died.
   (c) Section 366.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure applies in an
action under this section.



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