When children can no longer provide adequate care for aging parents, they may decide to put them in a nursing home where they can be cared for by professionals around the clock. However, what happens if a parent passes and the nursing home sends the debt to a collection agency? What are the rules for children paying nursing home debt for their parents?
The first step is to ensure that the debt is valid. In some cases, a collection company calls an individual because they have that person’s name and contact information. If the debt cannot be verified, a person being pursed to pay the debt has no legal obligation to do so. If the debt can be verified, the next step is to verify that an individual agreed to pay the debt in the first place.
Whether the debt is valid and belongs to the individual in question or not, it is still possible to contact the collection agency and request that they stop inquiring about the debt in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If the collection agency continues their inquiries, that agency could be fined or forced to pay a penalty to the person whom they have contacted. The final step is to talk to the nursing home itself to resolve the debt issue or take legal action to get the desired outcome in the situation.
Creditors do not have a blank check to come after those who they believe owe money. Rules and regulations are in place to protect consumers from undue harassment. Those who believe that they are being harassed may wish to talk to a bankruptcy attorney to act as a third party to potentially help resolve the issue in a way that takes care of the debt.
Source: FOX Business, “Nursing Home Nags Heir in Debt Collection”, Steve Bucci, July 07, 2014