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My uncle passed away about 4 years ago. This is the second time they have sent the bill to them.
There are still 2 surviving sister's who have not received any bills from the nursing home.
This has put undue stress and worry on them. My sister's husband died 4 weeks ago in Victoria and we are unable to help her which is adding to their stress.
Are they liable for any of their estranged brother's nursing homes bills?

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Who *exactly* has sent the bill?

It matters a lot, and when I ask who exactly I mean look very carefully at this bill and see what information you can gather from it.

And, to whom *exactly* is the bill addressed?

You say your parents signed nothing. Sure about that? As long as you are sure, and they are sure, and nobody is claiming otherwise (it might say something about it on the bill, for example), then there is no possibility that your parents can have liability for their deceased brother's debts.

If the bill has come from the Nursing Home itself, in spite of the advice below I personally would ring them and ask them to explain themselves.

If the bill has come from any kind of representative or collection agency, I think I would probably make a formal complaint - mentioning harassment, probably - through the Nursing Home's own channels which they should give details of on their website. But in that case I definitely agree that you should not give any signs to the collection agency that their demand has even been noticed, because they will just turn up the heat. Refuse to acknowledge them.

What did your parents do the last time they got a bill? Did they speak to anyone about it?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Vicki, when you mention Victoria, I'm assuming you're either in Canada or Australia.    We do have members who live there who would be more familiar with the legal options, but I'd like to offer a few general suggestions.

1.  Whether or not ANYONE has any liability for the unpaid bills depends on whether or not they (a) signed NH admission papers, and/or (b) were proxies under DPOA or POA and had authority to handle financial matters, or were a Personal Rep, Executor/trix for a Will.

2.   However, whether there are funds to pay depends on whether or not there were any assets in your uncle's estate, which I assume would already have been settled.    If also depends on whether or not a waiting period was held, allowing creditors the opportunity to file claims.

I won't hazard a guess on this though as I don't know Canadian or Australian law.

Did your uncle actually have an estate?  Who handled it (i.e., who was the Personal Representative, Executor/trix?   

3.   The fact that 4 years has elapsed suggests to me that the original NH handed the case off to a debt collector.  Is this true?  Is the bill (and any letter) actually from the NH or a debt collector?  

4.   I would contact the Executor/trix, if there was one, ask about it, at least to clarify and take your own action.  Assuming you didn't sign anything and have no liability, you could, but I'd defer to someone familiar with your country's laws to advise if you have to, notify the NH or debt collector in writing (sent by certified mail, or your country's equivalent) that you have no obligation and demand that they cease harassment.

5.   Perhaps you can find out from a local Senior Center (if they exist in your country) with "consult a lawyer" day whether or not legal statutes exist to find charges against them, or report them to a federal agency for harassment.

6.   Assuming you don't have liability, do you have anything like a Better Business Bureau that acts as intermediary to resolve disputes?  You could consider that; a BBB might be able to stop their harassment.

7.   You could also consider posting online, at a site that ranks various types of companies or maintains a positive/negative reporting section.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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I agree, its probably a collection agency. Are you in Canada? I would assume laws are pretty much the same as the US when Collection agencies are involved.

Dad was estranged meaning he had nothing to do with Uncles admittance to do the NH? So this is what I think is going on. The NH has sold delinquent accounts to a Collection agency. It has taken this long to track down a relative. It is easy to do a name search and find out who the person is related to. Then key in that name and get an address. NO, Dad nor any of his siblings are responsible for a bill for a brother. If this is the first one you have received, ignore it. They are fishing at this point. You answer or sending it back then they know they have a live one. If they call, inform them that Uncle is deceased and ur father is not liable to pay his bills. Then say, do not call here again. If they do, hang up. They won't sue because its not enough money. In the US we have the FTC we can turn to when being harrassed by a Collection agency.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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My guess is a collection agency, bottom feeders. Don't even respond.
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Reply to surprise
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As long as he didn't sign anything he is in the clear. NH will do anything to get a payment.

My father caught Covid at a rehab and because of this they could not return him to AL. They told me he would have to pay FULL PRICE ($500 per day) to keep him(for an illness THEY exposed him to). He was there only 5 days when he took a turn for the worse and was sent to the ER. I received a bill from the rehab for $2500. I contested it with my father's insurance. They told me the rehab never submitted the bill and if they did and marked it covid, it would be paid. I was just officially notified that the bill has been satisfied and I do not owe anything on it.
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Reply to lkdrymom
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Four years ago? Sounds like a collection company that has bought a bad debt. Some of these companies will stop at nothing to try to get payment. Who signed the admit?
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AlvaDeer Sep 11, 2020
Yup. One more year and it is out of there. Most important is not to speak with these folks I would think, and CERTAINLY not to pay anything, which will take that four year thing all the way back to day one and start over.
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NO THEY ARE NOT LIABLE FOR THE BROTHER'S bills. They need to send this back marked "DECEASED" on the envelope. I am assuming they are not the executor of the brother's estate. That is the only person responsible for paying for the brother's bills. When a person dies his assets stand to pay his bills. If he has no assets then there is no way to pay a bill. They need to ignore this and WHATEVER they do do not get fooled into giving them any money.
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worriedinCali Sep 9, 2020
You can’t possibly know he’s not responsible. No one here knows because no one here is privy to the admissions paperwork that was signed. For all anyone here knows, the OPs father unknowingly signed something accepting responsibility. Nursing homes don’t just contact a sibling of all people.
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Did your father sign any admission paperwork at the NH?
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Reply to mstrbill
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