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Acres of Blessing Farm
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Hello all,
We lost my Dad on July 21st and now have creditors calling us. I need to know (especially in Indiana) if an adult child is responsible for a deceased parent's bills. I didn't think so, but there seems to be some disagreement especially from the bill collectors.

Just to give a little background: both mom and dad were on Medicaid at the time of their deaths, had no property, no stocks/bonds/etc. Mom passed away last October and we used what little she had left in her resident account to help pay for dad's costs at the nursing home until it ran out (2 months) then he went on Medicaid too. He received $52/mo from his retirement checks with the rest going to the nursing home. When he died, he had no life insurance and only $500 in savings. We've been tight financially since my wife had surgery back in May and had to apply for assistance to bury him. The $500 went immediately to the funeral home and monument shop.

Evidently some of the medical bills (ambulance, hospital, doctors, etc) weren't completely covered and now they want paid and are having collection agents/lawyers start writing and/or calling. Also, from what I'm piecing together, Dad may have in his confused state of mind expected to be getting a $40k settlement from a lapsed insurance policy. The people at the nursing home and I tried to explain that it was cancelled for non-payment 3mo BEFORE she died. The only policy in effect at the time was a $4K one that didn't even pay for the headstone!!!! I thought we'd gotten through to him, but now a credit card company is saying he maxed out his card! The lady was very nasty on the phone and tried to get me to agree to a lower settlement. When I explained there was no estate (other than 2 TV's, a dresser and 4 boxes of clothes), she said it didn't matter as his son and POA, I needed to pay it. She even stated that she could put a lien on our property!!!! Can they go after us or affect our credit rating? I'd love to clear out his debts but we haven't got it and neither did he!!!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Mike
 

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If i remember right off the top of my head. No your not.
His/Her estate is what would pay there bills if they have/had any that were left unpaid after they died.
You aren't responsible for anyone's debt other then your own, your hubby's.
The only way that you would/ could be held responsible is if your name is on something ( bill)
Next time they call, you can get there address and send them a copy of the death certificate. This should put an end to it.
If they keep calling you let them know that you are not responsible for there debt and that you will now be getting in to contact with the Better business people, and with the fair credit people.
Good luck,
We went throw this when my dad died. I'm sorry for your loss.
 

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Nohoa Homestead
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m39fan said:
Hello all,
We lost my Dad on July 21st and now have creditors calling us. I need to know (especially in Indiana) if an adult child is responsible for a deceased parent's bills. I didn't think so, but there seems to be some disagreement especially from the bill collectors.

Just to give a little background: both mom and dad were on Medicaid at the time of their deaths, had no property, no stocks/bonds/etc. Mom passed away last October and we used what little she had left in her resident account to help pay for dad's costs at the nursing home until it ran out (2 months) then he went on Medicaid too. He received $52/mo from his retirement checks with the rest going to the nursing home. When he died, he had no life insurance and only $500 in savings. We've been tight financially since my wife had surgery back in May and had to apply for assistance to bury him. The $500 went immediately to the funeral home and monument shop.

Evidently some of the medical bills (ambulance, hospital, doctors, etc) weren't completely covered and now they want paid and are having collection agents/lawyers start writing and/or calling. Also, from what I'm piecing together, Dad may have in his confused state of mind expected to be getting a $40k settlement from a lapsed insurance policy. The people at the nursing home and I tried to explain that it was cancelled for non-payment 3mo BEFORE she died. The only policy in effect at the time was a $4K one that didn't even pay for the headstone!!!! I thought we'd gotten through to him, but now a credit card company is saying he maxed out his card! The lady was very nasty on the phone and tried to get me to agree to a lower settlement. When I explained there was no estate (other than 2 TV's, a dresser and 4 boxes of clothes), she said it didn't matter as his son and POA, I needed to pay it. She even stated that she could put a lien on our property!!!! Can they go after us or affect our credit rating? I'd love to clear out his debts but we haven't got it and neither did he!!!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Mike
Make her prove her claim that there was a POA on the account (which you would have had to sign in order to be liable for it). If you were the Administrator/Executor of the estate then you need to send a copy of the death certificate to these people along with a letter stating that there were no assets in the estate. If any of the collectors claim that you owe anything, tell them to send you a copy of documentation that says this is true. There are some types of indebtedness which specifically state that all "assignees and heirs" are responsible, but the documentation would have to specifically have that type of language in it.

Collection agencies are just trying to intimidate you into paying. In theory, they are not allowed by law to discuss anyone elses indebtedness with you (even if you are the son and they are deceased). Again, if they claim you owe something tell them to send you something in writing and you will have "your attorney review it". Most likely that will stop the calls. Don't let them intimidate you.

donsgal
 

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I agree....you are not responsible for your parents debts, unless you inherited assets or if you co-signed the debt.

The collection agencies are trying to convince you to pay the bills. They can be very greedy, and will try anything to get money out of you. Dont let them push you around.

While this doesnt apply to you, sometimes people dont understand what assets their parents have. One time I heard a gal complaining about the same problem you have. She kept on insisting that her mom had nothing, and tried to hide her mothers assets. Her mom really didnt have anything of value, but a 300 acre farm, 48 head of cattle, tractors, a truck, etc.

For better advice...do you ever listen to Dave Ramsey? He is on the radio in Indy and in Anderson. Check out his web site for a station near you....and you might even try calling in to ask his advise.

Clove
 

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I have read about your situation before. From the advice given, I recall that if a company wants money from you as the heir and you send them even a dime to try and pay down some of the money owed, the debt becomes yours. Don't let them talk you into any "reduction" in the debt and then you send them any kind of payment or partial payment. I would only send them a copy of the death certificate.

Do you have a feature on your phone to block their calls? Sorry for your loss....good luck.

Kelly
 

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I have to agree with everyone else here. Unless a creditor or collection agency can prove (that is, prove with a legally binding document that they did not fabricate :rolleyes: ) that you are a co-signer, or that you signed some sort of POA for debt, then tell her that if she keeps harassing you, you will sue for harassment and FRAUD. And do not send them one thin penny! Creditors, collection agencies, and insurance companies will try to get away with what they KNOW is illegal, so don't let them play dumb with you.

Also, one thing I did when I was being harassed for something, I bought a little tape recorder and a thing I hooked to the phone line. When the person would call, I would turn on the tape recorder, answer the phone and say ONLY 'hello' and nothing else during the recording, and when they would finish their little rant, I would clearly state the day, date, and time a.m. or p.m., for example 'Tuesday, March 21st, 3:48 p.m.' That would freak them out because it let them know they were being recorded and I didn't have to say a thing. This alone stopped the harassment.

If you want to try this, make sure you are in state that allows 'one party' recording of phone conversatins. Good luck, but don't let them buffalo you!
 

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Get a lawyer! We had the same problems with my in-laws when the passed , we got a lawyer and he took care of it. They had huge credit card debt and the lawyer got rid of it all. It took 3 years to settle the estate, but we didn't have to pay their debts off.
Good luck to you, we have been there and it will be ok, just takes time.
 

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I used to be a collection agent. ALL third party collectors are requred to abide by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). It's federal law. Violators can be sued for up to 1/2 percent of the companies net worth. Doesn't sound like much but there are companies out there worth billions. If a collector, being a third party agent threatens you in any way regarding legal action, liens, etc. they are in violation. Their recordings (this call may be monitored for quality assurance) and their computer transcripts of the call are legal records and would support any violations. If you send a collector a registered letter telling them not to contact you again THEY MUST OBEY or be in violation. If contacted by a collector you have 30 days to dispute the collection. If the bill is not valid, do it. THe POA does not make you responsible for someones debts and ends at that persons death. Get a nice sleezy bottom feeding lawyer and go at them.
 

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Gee, why don't they make it simple? In my part of the world, debts die with the deceased.

Get legal advice and don't pay a single cent to anybody meantime. Complain to the appropriate authorities if you are being harassed, threatened etc, too.
 

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BY the way, in regards to debt collection there is no legal definition of harrassment. Collecting a legitimate debt is not harrassment. Laws vary from state to state. Check your state laws. In some states it was legal to contact friends, relatives, neighbors and employers to collect.
 

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mean people suck
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You can find good free copies of cease and desist letters on the Internet. I would definitely send them one along with a copy of the death certificate. Also look up the Fair Debt Collection Act. It will tell you what the collectors can and cannot do if and when they do call. Threatening you is against the law. But I agree with everyone else, you aren't liable if you aren't on the bill and I wouldn't send a dime just in case it did make me liable.
 

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JJ there is a legal definition of harrassment, i used it to stop collectors already. They know the law and while break it until you let them know you know the law too.it called "the Fair Debt Collection Act"
 

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If you think you can not afford an attorney, call legal aide in your area and they should be able to help you settle your parents estate. Even if the estate had no or little assets it still should be settled legally. The attorney will notify creditors for you.

Whatever you do - do not make any payments you have not personally agreed to pay, families often sign agreements with furneral homes for burial services. Making a payment maybe equal to stating "Yes, I owe this."

Best wishes and condolences on your lost.
Marlene
 

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Failure is not an option.
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Hey.

You better read over all the paperwork you may have signed for the nursing home,hospital admission,etc.

You will probably need a lawyer.

RF
 

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When I explained there was no estate (other than 2 TV's, a dresser and 4 boxes of clothes), she said it didn't matter as his son and POA, I needed to pay it. She even stated that she could put a lien on our property!!!! Can they go after us or affect our credit rating? I'd love to clear out his debts but we haven't got it and neither did he!!!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Mike
Power of Attorney is usually in effect when the person is alive. One the person who you had Power of Attorney for is deceased, the POA is not in effect or relevant.
 

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Did you sign any papers? Co-sign any loans or credit cards? If not, don't worry.

When my grandpa died, the banker (friend of my pa) asked my pa if he could pay my grandpa's debts. What debts, my pa asked... seems one of my cousins got into a cattle (theft :flame:... borrowed money from several banks on the same cattle ) deal, and had my grandpa, with his good name, cosign for the loan. My pa said he didn't cosign, and if the bank wanted their money, they should go after the scumbucket that made the loan (evil cousin).

I was executor of my parents estates, and I was lucky enough to only have minor outstanding figurine and book club orders to pay off.

You owe nothing. Tell the creditors. Find out about harrassment laws and if they repeat, ask for the callers name, phone number, company, address, etc... tell em your lawyer wants the information... maybe that'll shush em up.
 
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