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Dad died leaving huge medical bills & no money

On Lawyer & Legal » Wills & Trusts

8,008 words with 12 Comments; publish: Mon, 04 Aug 2008 22:33:00 GMT; (800156.25, « »)

Just a few days ago my father who was 71 years old passed away leaving huge medical bills. I am the only living heir. We live in TX. I was his POA signing hospital admission papers for him as he had dementia in his last days. He left no life insurance money, no money period. I paid for his cremation out of my own pocket. I closed his bank account so the last social sec. check would go back to the govt. I didn't want to be responsible for it. He also owed the Vets Hospital Monies. Do I have to pay any medical bills left behind? Do I just send the bills back writing deceased on them? I just don't have the money to pay them. Am I responsible for the bills I signed as POA during admissions? Thank u. Name of state is TX?

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  • 12 Comments
    • Quote:
      === Original Words ===

      Just a few days ago my father who was 71 years old passed away leaving huge medical bills. I am the only living heir. We live in TX. I was his POA signing hospital admission papers for him as he had dementia in his last days. He left no life insurance money, no money period. I paid for his cremation out of my own pocket. I closed his bank account so the last social sec. check would go back to the govt. I didn't want to be responsible for it. He also owed the Vets Hospital Monies. Do I have to pay any medical bills left behind? Do I just send the bills back writing deceased on them? I just don't have the money to pay them. Am I responsible for the bills I signed as POA during admissions? Thank u. Name of state is TX(only U.S. law)?

      Did he die in July or August when you say a couple of days ago? The reason I ask, is that if he died in August, then you should not have closed the account, social security pays in arrears. The approximate Aug. 3rd check is his. If he died in July, then he is not entitled to the approximate Aug. 3rd check.

      I can't follow how he owes the Vet hospital money. No one owes the VA money....the VA hospital system is a benefit that some (not all) veterans are entitled to.

      You should file a "VA Burial claim allowance" form to see if you could be reimbursed part or all of the cremation expenses. Did the funeral home tell you about this? You will need that form, a certified copy of the death certificate, a copy of his DD214, and a signed statement from the funeral home showing that you paid the expenses.

      #1; Wed, 06 Aug 2008 18:06:00 GMT
    • He passed away July 27th. My Uncle told me to close the account because he had issues w/social security on another brother he was an executor for when social security repossessed the $'s. So my Dad wouldn't be entitled to the August 3rd check right? I don't think so. Anyways, it's gone now at any rate. It's been returned. But I didn't know the Vets might help me pay cremation bill. I will check into that! Thank u so much!
      #2; Wed, 06 Aug 2008 21:36:00 GMT
    • Unless you signed something making you personally liable, you are not personally responsible for paying the debts. Review what you signed carefully.

      And that "What is the name of your state.." question when you post... You should answer it and not bury the state in the text.

      #3; Tue, 05 Aug 2008 09:08:00 GMT
    • How about just sending the creditors a copy of the death certificate along with the statement of no assets, nothing?
      #4; Wed, 06 Aug 2008 09:42:00 GMT
    • Yes, that's what I thought too about probate. I had hoped I wasn't responsible for his bills. It's been a long road taking care of him. And a sad one ending and wrapping everything up. You're all helping and so kind. Thank u.
      #5; Wed, 06 Aug 2008 15:16:00 GMT
    • Quote:
      === Original Words ===

      Seems to me that there is money also from social security for burial purposes. The funeral home probably can guide you in some of this.
      The op stated he/she is the only living heir. I took this to mean no surviving spouse (correct me if I am wrong) and that means no ss one time payment toward funeral expenses. The decedent would have to have a surviving spouse 60 or older (or 50 or older if disabled) or a child dependent upon them. Even so, that amount is only $255 and doesn't go far. No $255 in this case.

      op - correct, with a death on July 27, the Aug 3rd check would be pulled back out of the account if deposited, (which is likely with a death that close to the end of the month)

      No guarantee on any compensation from the VA, he would have to have been receiving compensation on a monthly basis, been treated in a VA hospital (which you said he had been) or been treated in a VA clinic to even be considered. Do the paperwork for the application, even if they turn you down, you can appeal.

      He is eligible for burial in a national cemetery too, at no cost. Also free: flag and active duty honors, or if buried in a private cemetery, marker, flag and honors.

      #6; Thu, 07 Aug 2008 00:52:00 GMT
    • Tell the creditors by phone or by mail that there is no estate and that the man is deceased so they can stop pestering you.
      #7; Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:11:00 GMT
    • Thank u all for your messages and helpful information. Yes, there was insurance. I had gotten him on medicare with medicare a. And recently gotten him just before he passed on, medicaid which I know they both will pick some of the bills up. Yes he was a Vet but he never paid the bill keeping it up to date so left a $900 bill outstanding. No, there wasn't any money in the bank account I just wanted the social security check coming for the month he passed to be rejected and that way I wouldn't have to deal with sending it back. So I closed the account. He didn't have a will. No need, he didn't have any money, no material possessions and lived with me for the last 9 years, I was his only child. I supported him except for his social security he got every month he would give me a few hundred $'s to get him food for his refrigerator in his room and he bought his cigarettes. Again, thank u all for your valued help.
      #8; Tue, 05 Aug 2008 15:29:00 GMT
    • Under those circumstances, you don't need to open up probate if you can put up with the phone calls and letters from creditors. Unfortunately, they may continue to bother you for quite a while. You just need to be firm that he has died, leaving no assets.

      Any creditor can open up probate if they really think there are any assets.

      #9; Wed, 06 Aug 2008 09:37:00 GMT
    • Seems to me that there is money also from social security for burial purposes. The funeral home probably can guide you in some of this.
      #10; Wed, 06 Aug 2008 21:41:00 GMT
    • Thank u anteater. I just entered state. Reviewing papers now! And if anyone else can enlighten me on what I can do to get the creditors to stop sending bills/calling me plz let me know. Thank you for this website!
      #11; Tue, 05 Aug 2008 09:11:00 GMT
    • I'm so sorry for your loss.

      You basically have two choices with respect to the creditors at this point. I'm assuming that there was no money in the bank account when you closed it, and that your Dad has no health insurance which will cover the claims. If he was in a Veteran's hospital, I assume he was a Vet and eligable to be in that hospital.

      First, you can do nothing. You will continue to get calls and probably letters from the creditors (including the hospitals). You can simply try to convince those folks that your father has died, and that there were no assets in the estate. They may, or may not believe you, and the calls/letters may, or may not stop.

      Second, you can open up probate. Part of the probate process is to list all assets and notify all creditors to file claims. Obviously, if there are no assets, the claims don't get paid. The benefit of this process is that once it is done, the creditor's claims are extinguished.

      Did your Dad leave a will?

      #12; Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:06:00 GMT