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Deceased Credit Card Bills & Nursing Care Charges - HELP


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Please help us through this very difficut time.....

My wife's father recently passed away following a very long illness. Approx 6 months prior to his death he went on medicaid and he could no longer pay his credit card debt and thereby went into default. His entire monthly income went towards his nursing care and hospital bills.

My wife NEVER signed any documents including hospital admission forms, nursing home admission forms , etc. nor was she tied to any of his credit cards. My father-in-law signed for everything and did not require guardinaship.

It has been almost 2 months since his death and now the credit card companies are calling our home and mailing the collection notices to us. We have no idea how they found out who we are and where we live? There is also a debit owed to teh nursing home and they are sending teh bill directly to my wife and she never signed anything.

Today a CA contacted my sister-in-law who is several states away and claimed that her fathers assets will be frozen in probate. Again, we have no idea how a CA found her as well???

Unfortunately, my father -in-law had no assets to speak of, he never owned a home, and drove a very old car. He has approx 50K in CC debt that was left unpaid at the time of his death. His Employer Sponsored life insurance has already been paid out to us and 2 small whole life policies were recently paid out directly to the Funeral home to satisfy his burial arrangments.

Our question is this? Since all the assets have been depleted or don't exist and we now have possession of his employers term life insurance as teh beneficiaries what, if anything, can the CC companies, Nursing home, & hospital do to collect on his unpaid bills?

There was never a court appointed executive of his estate since his estate was virtually worthless. He never had a will either only my wife and her sister as life insurance beneficiaries.

Should we send copies of the death certificate to the CC companies? Should we let "sleeping dogs" lye?

Please help us we don't want to be liable for debt that is clearly not ours and we don't want our small inheritence to go to the CC companies.

Irish

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Your wife and sister-in-law are not personally responsible for their father's debts. Period.

That being said, your father-in-law's estate IS responsible for his debts, up to the value of the estate.

However, life insurance benefits payable on death are NOT part of the estate. So they can't touch those.

What you probably need to do (actually, should have already done, as its generally required by law in most if not all states) is contact the County Clerk's office about what you need to do to for an intestate estate, i.e. an estate for your father-in-law where there was no will. They will tell you which office to contact and then you can find out what forms you need to fill out.

Its a relatively simple process, especially if your father-in-law had few assets. Its basically a matter of following instructions and filing out some paperwork.

Part of this process is sending a Notice to Creditors of the estate. Once the creditors receive that, they can make a claim against the estate. Since there are no or few assets, the creditors can't get anything. If they attempt to come after you, your wife, or sister-in-law anyways, then they are in a little bit of trouble since you already gave them notice as to the estate and death of your father-in-law.

If there were a few assets in the estate, you can probably prevent those from being claimed by the creditors anyways. Certain expenses are given priority, such as funeral expenses. So if anybody spent money on the funeral, such as you or your wife, they have the first claim on the assets of the estate for those expenses, regardless of prior creditors.

If this seems too confusing, you should probably check with a will/estate/probate attorney in your area for help. It shouldn't cost a lot, probably about $500, in legal fees. Or check with a consumer attorney, who could potentially sue the creditors for you and you could maybe get some extra cash out of it, depending on the particulars of your situation.

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wvlawyer, Outstanding Information! Thank You! Welcome Aboard!

irishmalemark, IMO if you do nothing, you will continue to get the calls, letters, etc. Your family does not need the added aggravation. Do as wvlawyer said and it will solve your problem. The $500.00 you spend will be more than worth it in the end. One of the things that will happen is they will search all of the records available to see what assets he had, then try and get to them. It can create an oversized "Nest" if you let it lie.

To include, my Mother passed last year (Alzheimers). My sister had taken care of her finances the whole time. After all was said and done, we ended up getting a letter from a CA regarding a CC she had. My Sister is positive it was paid off. Either way, I had to get quite nasty to cause their departure and threats. They were going to dig through everything to try and collect on this. The idiot even tried to get me to pay the debt. The worst part is the debt was timebarred and Calvary had the paper.

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We took WVLawyers advice and contacted the county clerks office in the county where my father-in-law died. According to the County Clerk, since his assets were less than $17,000 there is nothing more for us to do. We also asked about sending a notice to the creditors and the person we spoke to had no knowledge of such a thing or form for an estate that has no value. The clerks office also informed us to simply send a copy of the death record to his creditors. I am not sure about that? is that a good idea?

However, the CA's continue to contact my sister-in-law daily and are claiming they will contest the estate with the courts and freeze his assets. Funny thing about that is go ahead CA you won't find any assets in the estate because none exist.

What if we sent a Cease & Desist letter to the CA? will that stop the calls?

$500 is alot of money we have already ready spent a significant amount of our own income covering the funeral expenses.

irish

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Go ahead and send a full C&D to cover all family members. Be sure and include in the letter exactly what the County Clerk said. State very clearly that he had no assets and there is nothing they can get. Also inlcude that all debts were in his name and no family member is liable for the debt and any further harassment will result in their being named as a defendant in a civil suit. They are to cease all activity or else. Be sure and send it CMRR. If they continue, let us know and we will refer you to the respective laws to cover the problem. Don't hesitate to tell them you are filing complaints with the FTC, BBB, and the AG in your State, and, their State if different from yours.

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Yes, do as retmar and the others suggested by sending a C&D letter and making a report to the appropriate government agencies.

I would also send a photocopy of the death certificate with the C&D letter. I dont' see how any harm could come from that, as its all public information and any personal information contained in the certificate is stuff they likely already have.

Make a photocopy of the letter, death certificate, and everything else you send them and keep in a folder with your other records.

Send it all certified mail, return receipt requested. Should cost around $14 to do that. Keep the return with the photocopies, so you can show anyone exactly what you sent, and that it was received on such and such date by so and so.

If they continue to contact you after receiving the C&D, then you can take your folder with all your records of this to an attorney and see about suing the CAs.

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Would it be more appropraite to auther the C&D letter; from the Estate Of Mr. xxxx xxxx? As opposed to sending a letter with our names and addresses? We do have a PO box that we could use as well.

Thank you all again for the advice, my family and I are very greatful for your suggestions to help us through this difficult situation.

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from the Estate of Mr. XXX XXXX

This letter is an official notice to Cease and Desist all communications with the estate and/or family of Mr. XXX XXXX, including but not limited to.. ((And add your names here or anyone else you want to add))

something to that effect might work

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LATEST NEWS!!!!!

Today my wife unfortunately had a telephone discussion with the CA collecting on my Father-in-Laws estate. The CA is Omnium Worldwide from Omaha, NE and they have alegedly secured all of his debt. This includes several credit cards, etc and teh debt is very significant.

here is their website: www.omniumww.com

My wife simply asked for the company's mailing address and they refused! can you belive that? After some persuasion my wife was successful in acquiring Omnium's mailing address and the CA's closing remarks were that they will continue to collect on all the debt no matter what letter we send them! They evan claimed they will call us everyday until they get their money! They evan claimed that they were responsible for paying his medical bills and we shoudl be grateful for that...WTF? He had 100% medical coverage w/ his union job.

They have no recourse on us what so ever since we are not liable for someon elses debt so I am ready to hit them where it hurts. We will be sending a C&D letter ASAP.

If anyone has a suggestion for the C&D letter under this circumstance it would be greatly appreciated.

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Omnium is full of CRAPOLA !!!

Your FIL's estate was insolvent -period. He apparently had more debt than assets so there is NOTHING that ANY CA can get from his estate OR any of his family members.

You definitely need to send the Cease and Desist letter to these lying Omnium fools. They have no LEGAL way to collect a single penny. Just say that your FIL's estate was insolvent, send a copy of the death certificate, and tell them never to contact you, your wife, or any family members ever again or you will sue their asses off for FDCPA violations and any utilize any other laws that apply !!

They are predators hoping to scare the survivors into paying - and they haven't got a leg to stand on !

BTW _ welcome WVLawyer, nice to have ya aboard :) Do you do Bankruptcies by any chance ?? Have a friend in WV looking for a good BK lawyer.

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I have heard of some really nasty tactics, but these guys take the cake. How low do you have to be to call up and threaten grieving family members to try to get money? I think the lowest circle of hell is reserved for these jackals.

Make sure you send the C&Ds CMRRR. Start keeping a log right now of who calls you, what they say and what you (or your wife) say(s) (including the conversation your wife had with that Omnium f**khead -- that guy already violated the FDCPA even without the C&D). If these scum keep calling you (especially after you send them a C&D), you can build a nice little suit against them; maybe get enough money to pay yourselves back for funeral expenses, get your FIL a tasteful headstone and take a family vacation. Can you imagine the scene? "Well, your honor, we had just come back from my FIL's memorial service and this guy called on on the phone and started yelling at us and threatening us." This kind of crap just makes my blood boil.

C&D letter:

Dear CA:

The debt you are attempting to collect was the responsibility of my dear FIL, who passed away on xx/xx/04. Enclosed please find a copy of the death certificate. He left no estate; there is no money whatsoever to pay his bills.

This is a formal demand on you to cease and desist all contact with any members of Mr. FIL's family.

Sincerely yours,

Also, it might be worth it to send a letter and a copy of the death certificate to all his original creditors, who might them actually be human enough to recall the accounts from collection. I have heard that there is some case law to support the idea that the OC is responsible for its agent's actions, so this will also be kind of a CYA if it ever comes to a lawsuit. This will only work if they assigned the debt to the CA. If the CA bought the debt, then never mind.

Dear Original Creditor,

My dear FIL recently passed away. Enclosed, please find a copy of the death certificate. He had an account with you in the name of (dear father-in-law) with the account number xxxxxx, which you have turned over to Heartless Collection Agency. As my FIL left no estate whatever, there is no money to pay his debt to you.

Heartless Collection Agency has been harrassing the family of my dear FIL in an attempt to collect this debt. They are now in receipt of a formal demand to cease and desist all contact with the family of Mr. FIL. Please be advised that since Heartless Collection Agency is acting as your agent, you are responsible for their behavior. Any further attempt by them to recover this debt from the members of my dear FIL's family in violation of the FDCPA will be construed as having been done with your consent and at your direction.

Sincerely,

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Thanks for the welcome Lady. You know me actually. I was "lawguy" from the Cardreport board. Been busy the past several months opening my own office.

No, I don't do bankruptices, but I do handle consumer credit matters in WV, and have a good trick that usually will get a case dismissed, albeit without prejudice.

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