Can a hospital charge a fee to a credit card on file after the person has died?

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The hospital kept credit card information on file for my father so his prescriptions and co-pays would be covered so he did not have to hassle with paying each time. He died in the hospital. 5 days later the hospital closed out his account and charged his credit card $825. Is this legal? I'd like to have postponed that payment until probate could take care of it out of the estate. That money drew directly on his bank account which I share and need to pay bills.

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I spoke with this bank today: The debit card is treated with the same protection as their credit cards, at least this is how is it at this bank. I can dispute the charge up to 3 months after the transaction. Any charge using his debit card after my father's death is fraudulent. They will not freeze the account but they will issue another debit card (if it is a general dispute) but in this case they will not issue another card because my father has died. The account will receive a provisional credit. If the disputed charge is later determined to be a legitimate charge approved by law there is no penalty. I have nothing to lose by reporting this as an unauthorized charge. Thank you everyone.
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o0MichaeL0o, my Mom passed back in December and just recently I received a billing statement from the hospital. Medicare is very slow in paying out to hospitals and doctors. Just this week I got the Medicare Summary for hospital/doctors from a year ago for my late Mom. So don't be surprised if you keep getting medical paperwork long after the fact.

My parent's bank told me to keep my parent's joint account open for at least a year in case there are checks that arrive with both my parent's name on it. Sure enough a check came the other day. I do have a checking account which is under my Dad's name but I as a co-signer, so I can transfer funds between the accounts as needed to pay any bills my Dad and late Mom received.
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That changes things. Debit cards are totally different than credit cards. I don't think there is much that can be done if the charge was authorized by your father. Like Igloo said, the debit card would be like you paid in cash or with a check. Hospitals often do repeat charges as they come up, so you may want to protect the account against any further charges. If you don't want to freeze or close the account, talk to a bank official about what you need to do.
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It's not a credit card, but a debit card, is that right?
If so that's going to be stickier as CC have better regulations & safeguards for the consumer than a debit card does. The debit card will be viewed as if you paid cash or wrote a check. It's like having an open wallet with dads approval to renew or bill whomever has it on file..

I'd be concerned that dad has it on file for other services or renewals.

A word of caution, the bank will likely suspend the account completely till you are able to turn it into an estate of account with you providing Letters testamentary to show that you have opened probate & have been named executor, unless you are on file as co-owner or its POD to you. This is likely what will happen with dads account UNLESS it was done when he was alive that you already were a signature on the account OR a co-owner of it and it was done by dad as POD to you, so that it pretty seamlessly transfers to your name & SS# upon his death. You wrote it was "his checking account" if so, you need to figure out if it could be frozen, which creates its own problems.

my mom had her checking account which she owned but with me as pod & we were both signatures on acct. A few weeks before she died (she was on hospice) I went to the bank to see what I woud need to do to set up an estate account as I knew I'd be opening probate. The bank officer told me that actually I did not have to set up a new estate account, get IRS estate #, etc, but could use the old acct (that had moms name & mine on the checks) as the estate account if I wanted to if I was going to be the executor & it would now be linked to my SS#. I did and it was really great as I could track all estate expenses as everything from atty fees, court costs, property costs, etc were paid from this checking acct. Plus could use the old checks!

As an aside on probate, you want to be executor under an independent administration without bond if at all possible by your states laws as it will be much simpler.
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I'm with Pam on this. You lose your protection to question the charge if you don't challenge the charge within a certain time frame.
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It could be when the charge posted not necessarily when it occurred. As you say the hospital closed out his account so this could be a charge for expenses occurred while he was in the hospital and it took the hospital those five days to gather all the fees, labs, meds etc. Call the Hospital and ask for an itemized bill for this charge before you report it as fraudulent- it could very well be a legitimate expense. I know I was still getting medical bills for my father months after he passed.
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It is a Visa debit card to his checking account and the hospital has no way of knowing that my name is on his checking account. His debit card has his name on it. The charge was made 5 days after he died. The reason for closing out his account was that he was dead.
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This really depends. Is your father's name the only one on the account? Or was there another person who could also use the card. The charges were made while your father was still alive and he had authorized the use of the card. What they did was probably legal.

Credit cards are tricky when someone dies. Sometimes there are automatic charges that are going to them, e.g. utilities, that we don't want to stop. We also want to square away the account and avoid credit problems while we're doing it. Some funeral homes will advise clients to wait a few weeks to close the accounts. This is normally fine, but things like this can happen. What you can do is call the cc company and give them notice of your father's death. You can normally challenge the charge online, but I don't know if you have a valid claim, since he authorized the use of the card. The cc company will understand the timing and the authorizations on the card, so they will be able to make a judgment.
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Call the credit card company immediately and get their fax number, fax the death certificate to them and report the transaction as fraudulent.
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