My sister's situation has been explained to creditors, but they still send bills, is it okay to shred them?


They take up a lot of space. My older sister is in nursing home after a stroke. All her income is now the nursing home's. She had sooo much credit and the bills keep coming. I know I am not responsible for them, but I don't know if I need to keep them in a file or something. I already have so much of her possessions in my house and now all these bills piling up.



If the money isn’t there, it isn’t there. Do not, under any circumstances, send any of your own funds to these companies. Just let it go.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Ahmijoy

When my x-husband passed I got a bill for a collection agency. I tried to pay the original bill through the bank (credit card) but since they had already handed it over to a collection agency they wouldn't let me pay them. I found out that I was not responsible for the money and sent the collection agency a certified letter saying I would only pay the original lender the money. Once you do that they can only contact you one more time. So they sold it to another collection agency. Sent them the letter and they sold it to another. Once more it was sold to another collection company. After I sent them the letter it stopped. Took close to a year but the calls and letters will stop if you are firm with them. If you can find it at the library, (Amazon has it) get a book called "Stop it" as it has a lot of good info on how to get them off your back.  Stop it, A consumer's guide to effectively stopping collection agency harassment.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to whaleyf

Well, this situation is not going to resolve itself, and the creditors aren't going to stop sending bills. So I would anticipate reaching this distressing situation and start planning now.

I would definitely save the bills, (even if there are no funds to pay them), not contact the creditors until they contact your sister by mail (never answer calls when the number is unknown), and when you do respond only in writing,, make sure that you understand your sister's rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you do accidentally answer a call for her, don't reveal anything, including your name or relationship, unless the caller reveals his/her identity first. Be prepared for obfuscation; they try to avoid giving out information on who they are or the purpose of the call. Typically they'll indicate they can only speak to your sister. That's a giveaway right there.

When you get creditor letters, and eventually you will, respond in writing only, using a post office box and not your own address, and respond within 30 days of (a) postmark date or (b) your receipt. I hedge on this b/c I haven't read the FDCPA recently, and I don't recall which is the starting point for the running of the 30 day response period.

Send the responses by certified mail, with the return receipt address the PO box you've rented. Obviously keep a copy of the letters you send.

You can either just state that your sister has no funds b/c of her medical condition, or add that she is "judgment proof."

In the meantime, better take inventory of all her assets and make sure they are in fact judgment proof, going to the SNF or the type of facility she's in, and that there isn't anything that can be subject to collection efforts or is lienable.

Did she have a home? Is it subject to a Medicaid lien, or has it been sold? Does she have vehicles? Any pension or other financial assets?

Anticipate that even if you state she's judgment proof, collection agencies may still try to harass you. That's why you NEVER give out your own address, your sister's address at the facility, or phone numbers for any of you or your family.

And even if the bills take up a lot of space, box them up if you have to after inventorying them, and store them in an attic or basement. You never know when you'll need to refer to them, especially if some agency does a family check and discovers you're her sister, and starts sending bills to you directly. You may eventually have to keep them from harassing you. And you never know what some of these shysters will try to do.
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Reply to GardenArtist

You are probably dealing with Collection agencies not the original debtor. Do you have POA for financial than you can open mail. Call the Office of Aging. Ask if they have someone who helps with credit. Maybe they can help you set up a letter to the creditors explaining that ur sister is now on Medicaid and no longer has money of her own. That because of this they need to stop sending bills or making calls. Do not tell them Where She resides. You, even as POA, are not personally responsible for her bills.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to JoAnn29

What about sending them back marked Return to Sender?

The real problem is that if you don't get this resolved then you may be plagued by bill collectors for years to come, even after she has passed on. It might be worth while to seek legal advice and have the debt formally written off or at least have your contact information removed.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to cwillie

Just to be on the safe side, store them in a box, as they come. It is illegal in England to interfere or open other peoples mail I think. Just try contacting each one again and ask for a confirmation letter saying they understand. TELL them again, she has no money and you are not paying them, as it is not your responsibility. They will try and get their money from ANYONE.


Hope your sisters health improves.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to BuzzyBee

I'd throw it all away. Even though you've spoken to them, a computer decides what gets mailed. I trashed every bill I received from my Mom. You are not responsible for her bills, and no matter how much they try to convince that you are resposible, don't fall for it. The only reason I even opened my Mom's mail was in case there was a check enclosed....if not....trashed.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to anonymous783209

I'd get a legal opinion from an attorney about what, if any defenses she might have, if you are the Durable POA. I'd at least find out what the options are. The statute of limitations may have expired or they may be using some illegal collection practices. 

 You don't say how much the bills are, but, in some states, creditors can step in and file at probate time to get their money owed. I'd figure out what might happen, so no surprises.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Sunnygirl1

Can you have them forwarded to the Nursing Home - like a change of address for your sister? Let the Nursing Home deal with it since they have her income.

When I was bothered by a bank wanting to speak with my deceased Mother, I told them the Cemetery she was in and said "knock yourself out." That was the last call I received.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to RayLinStephens

When my mom went into a nh, I wisely immediately changed her address to a PO box. I didn't reveal that I was POA to do this (even though I am). I just filled out the form on the bill. The bills now go to the box and ince a month I go throw them away. Just by ignoring the bills we've gitten a payoff offer as low as 1 percent of the amount owed. Unfortunately, mom has end stage Alzheimer's and is on Medicaid. Her income goes to the nursing home and these bills will never be paid. They have no recourse and I won't spend any of my time on them. I saw to it that all her bills were paid on time before she went into a nursing home. Now the funds aren't there. They're going to have to write this one off. If you have already notified them that your sister is in a nursing home, on Medicaid, with no means to pay, I would keep only a recent copy of each original bill, and throw the rest away. Just make sure each original creditor is aware of the situation. You owe nothing to the bottom feeders who bought the debt. Since your sister is in a nursing home, disconnect her phone. If you shared a number, change it. They will try to scare uou, trick you, and bully you. They will threaten you and lie. But in reality there's not a d*mn thing they can do to get blood from a stone.
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Reply to Christine73

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