I am not able to pay my mom's bills along with my own. My mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia after a stroke in December. She is now living in a dementia unit of a local facility.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
If the bills not getting paid are related to her house, then simply not paying them will result in them being terminated, e.g., no gas, no electricity, no heat. Depending on the climate of where you live, if the house is not heated, the pipes may burst, etc. So the children may decide to pay for a minimal amount of heat to avoid the house getting damaged by that scenario. The same applies to any mortgage there may be on the house: if it's not paid, the house can be foreclosed upon and sold by the bank to pay off the debt. If the children wish to avoid that (thinking that they want to inherit the house--or at least the proceeds of sale--upon their mom's death), then they have to chip in and pay the mortgage themselves. If they do that, though, they should be sure to record the debt on an ongoing basis so as to become "secured creditors" just like a bank, so that upon mom's death they can be repaid out of the proceeds of the house sale ahead of any claim by the state for Medicaid recoupment.
Helpful Answer (0)

Yeah it's difficult as once they are in a NH on Medicaid, there is only whatever $ the state has as a personal needs allowance. My mom's is $60. The $ is designed to pay for replacement of simple clothes and a months haircut or phone, cable.

You are not responsible for any of her debt. I wouldn't pay a cent on it as long as you are not involved in the debt. Like if the debt is her medical bills, credit cards, a mortgage. The only thing I'd pay for would be if she has an life insurance policy that isn't paid up and you need it to pay for funeral/burial stuff.

BUT you need to make sure that there would not be any reason for her debt to be considered as yours, like you are a co-applicant or your name is on documents as co-owner. My MIL was a total financial terrorist and we had to deal with issues with her debt. What you can do is write a letter to each and every debtor that states: Ann Smith Jones (your account # 12334) is currently a NH resident on Medicaid; has no assets; is not employed; and any and all her income is SS and not subject to seizure and is paid fully to the NH. Then sent every letter out return registered mail from the post office. RRM is important as they have to sign-off the green postcard that it was received. Runs about $ 6 - 8 a letter.

You want to keep all this in a binder too. Debt gets sold off and just because you get a letter from say Capital One that they are writing off the debt, don't think it has gone away. It will get sold, and resold again & again. Each time you have to send the same letter RRM again and within 30 days. The debt collection groups are ruthless and they will be relentless. If mom has a ton of debt, I'd suggest that you go an get a mail box rented for her (like at a UPS store or other mail box rental place) and this then becomes the address for everything for her. If it's alot of debt, it's going to be alot to keep up with and you don't need to face this at your address and have your address associated with her bad credit.

Personally I wouldn't ever put my signature on the letters or my phone number. Everything gets typed and done as your mom. If you are DPOA, this is within your power to do on her behalf. Put in all correspondence must be done in writing.

Also if any of her debt get's written off, be aware that they can issue your mom a 1099-C - Cancellation of Debt. So if mom had a credit card with 8K balance on it, the 8K plus late charges and other fees, etc will be the total amount on the 1099-C. This legally becomes "income" - yeah, this it total loco. It could be the year after the debt is written off but it could be years later too. If you get a 1099-C, then you really kinda have to file taxes for your mom for the year of the 1099-C, to show impoverishment so that the amount in the 1099-C is not countable as "income" so that there will be no future issues of having too much income for Medicaid.
Helpful Answer (7)

Isn't this just a wonder thing to have to do?!? My father was recently placed in a facility and we are in the process of applying for his Medicaid as well.
I was instructed by the finance office that I was to keep out enough of his SS check to cover his part A (hospitalization) of which SS keeps out automatically and his supplemental insurance, which helps pay for any appointments and hospitalization; the rest of the money is written out to the facility and place $50 (different in different states) to be used by the resident for haircuts, an occasional gathering of residents that go out for dinner, etc. The cable and phone are on me.
As for all his bills, I had to call each creditor and explain the situation. They each told me that it would go into collections and that "my father" would receive letters of collection and some would possibly try to sue.
You, unless you cosigned for something have absolutely no responsibility to pay your parents bills! I even had one ask me if I could pay just 1 month and I told her absolutely not! All of his money was allocated for his care.
Bottom line, they can't do a thing to YOU. That being said, if they have a mortgage, your best bet might be to speak with an elder attorney.
My fathers house is paid in full, so there is no problem.
Also, while you are doing this, you may want to get your own financial house in order, so that your children or whomever never has to go through the same thing you are going through now.
One never knows what tomorrow brings. I've had too many friends die suddenly and they had nothing in place. You can never plan too soon.
Helpful Answer (5)

you are not responsible to pay any bills that are not yours no matter what any of the creditors say, even if you are a user on her credit cards you do not have to pay them either, I know because my mom put me as a user on her credit cards and it says when they sent the card to us that even though I am a user on her card that I am not responsible for the debt, only she is and if they end up in a nursing home, they can sue all they want but if they don't have anything other than what the nursing home gets which is their ss and retirement, then the creditors get nothing as there is nothing to get, hope this helps, will keep you in my prayers
Helpful Answer (4)

My mother had accumulated about $12,000 in credit card debt when I had to start the Medicaid application process for her.

I was able to get these debts forgiven.

What I did was contacted my local Office of the Aging and they put me in touch with a local senior law service center that did work for seniors on a pro bono basis.

They wrote letters on my mother's behalf which I sent to her creditors. I also included a letter from the nursing home giving the state of her medical condition and asking that these debts be forgiven.

I did this for her around March of 2012...and haven't heard anything from these creditors since. After all, do you think Wal-Mart is going to send a collections agent after a nursing home resident?

So if the debts you were talking about are credit card debt, then I would recommend following this course of action.
Helpful Answer (4)

Mammo - omg thank goodness you did not pay the "just 1 month", that can be used as a ploy to have you assume the debt and by paying the " just 1 month" you acknowledge the debt and can be viewed as assuming responsibility for it.

If the elder still has their home, you have to be careful as the creditor in some states can place a lein or claim on the property. If it's a credit card, there would have be a court date involved (some states like TX do NOT allow for this type of claim on a homestead) and a judgement issued. But if it was for work on the house, and they didn't pay, there could be a mechanic's lien and these seem to be able to be just placed by the service provider. Often can come as a total surprise to family when they are dealing with settling the estate. If they are having financial issues for quite a while or their dementia went to the point that the plumber / electrician / other repair person was doing "bad stuff" and so they weren't paying the repair bills, you might want to check to see if there are liens by looking at the county assessor's site to see if there are attachments filed on the property
Helpful Answer (1)

Several Considerations:
1. Great catch on on don't pay: "just one month" collectors scam.
2. Creditors might try to force the executor of their estate, if it has value to pay bills out of the proceeds. Do not make the mistake as an executor to prepay some supposed obligations before the proper time, as the exeutor could be sued for improper distribution.
3. Medicaid Traps: Is the Life Insurance having a cash value over $1,500? watch out as that unexpectedly might disqualify you for Medicaid.
The cash value of the Insurance policy can be converted into a MEDICAID Exempt Funeral Trust,
(A funeral trust does have to be purchased from a funeral director). A funeral trust can protect varying amounts of asset (be careful in PA), of $10,000 to $15,000 , to be used for the Spouses, and their Children & Spouses, in contrast to losing it all to a Nursing Home. MUST BE done BEFORE applying for Medicaid, same as the Life policy conversion

Ideally, especially in the case of a paid up mortgage because of the 5-year lookback, the home should have been put into a IDGT (trust), 5 years before these events: meaning plan ahead BEFORE a need
Helpful Answer (1)

Tony - for cc debt, you want to be on the look-out every January for your mom getting a 1099-C, a cancellation of debt form. Just because the debt is "forgiven" or "written off", it does NOT necessarily mean it just went away quietly. 1099 have to be issued by Jan 31 for the prior tax year.

The 1099-C is usually used for those who go through a foreclosure, or short sale. But it can also be issued by a financial institution or others on ANY forgiven debt.
For the CC companies it is a total win, but for the CC consumer a total pain in the butt and it they are on Medicaid, well, it can complicate their eligibility.

How it works is, say the foreclosure means you walked away from 200K mortgage, or say your mom had 2 credit cards each 6K. Now the 1099-C isn't just the base amount but also any fees, late charges or other costs to the institution issuing the 1099-C. So the 200K could be lots more, as they can tack on the whole early closure on the mortgage penalty; and the for CC they can tack on like a $ 50 a month late fee and whatever else they can think up. Long story short, one of the 6K can then become $ 8,102.00 while the other at a lower APR% could come in
at $ 6,898.00. This is now "income" to your mom and is taxable and gets reported to the IRS. Totally Zombie income. But can pose an issue because mom now shows in the system she had income of $ 15,000.00. And that is over Medicaid's limit. So you have to file taxes for her and do an IRS form to show her impoverishment so that there will be no possible Medicaid complication later on.

For foreclosures, the homeowner likely has all kinds of deductions to take against the 1099-C like improvements, so the end amount isn't so much. The sort of stuff you use to offset capital gains on real estate sales. BUT for the credit card, it is just pure zombie income. You have to find debt for them (like medical debt or debt they owe you) to make them impoverished. For me, it's not a DIY project and the regulations are skewed to foreclosure examples. We used a tax professional. But whatever the case, you can't ignore the 1099-C.
Helpful Answer (1)

Can a nursing home deny admittance to a person who is not medicaid
eligible, because of the 5 year lookback, the first few months would be self-pay
until she becomes eligible,,in the state of IL.
Helpful Answer (1)

The bills don't get paid. Notify the creditors in writing of her situation. Talk to her social worker or the office of the aging.
To imhelpless: The nursing home has no obligation to take in someone who will not pay, and cannot account for the lookback funds. Nursing homes have sued relatives and won when the judge finds that assets were made unavailable to pay for care. While Medicaid only looks back for five years, the courts will decide that if the house was put in your name ten years ago, she dies and you sell the house, you have the means to cover the bill.
Helpful Answer (0)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter