In April 2015 my mom became wheelchair bound and company x provided the chair. In November she became bedbound. In December she slipped in a coma and was moved to an acute care hospital. On January 10th she passes away. Yesterday I received a statement from medicare that they had paid rental fees on January 15 for a wheel chair. This is the date of service 5 days after her death. Then another bill for February March April may and june.

I spent hours on hold until I spoke with someone. When I told her I was her daughter and saw these false charges. She ask if I had power of attorney and I told her no but I was in the middle of probate and her only living relative. She said she could not help me without proper paperwork. It may be months before I have legal rights. During this time how do I stop these bogus charges on a dead person?

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Betty you need proof the chair was returned.
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Betty - if Medicare was billed & paid for months for rental by the equipment company for a deceased person eventually Medicare will do a deceased records match-up and will send a "claw-back" notice to the vendor paid. It won't necessarily happen within a few weeks of death… could be well into next year before company "x" gets the wrongful payment letter from Medicare and as to the fact that Medicare will place a claw-back $ any on future payments to company "x" IF "x" does not pay the exact amount back to Medicare within 30 days. You should see some sort of line item notification on this action from the statements CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid) sends out to whatever address they were going to when mom was alive on this.

IF mom had a traditional secondary insurer - like BCBS, Humana - they too will do a clawback and mom will get a notification as well. BUT If Medicaid was mom's secondary well whether your state's Medicaid program send out vendor paid statements will depend on just how your state administers its Medicaid program…like for my mom it's TX and TX LTC medicaid sends no itemization of bills paid to vendors ever to the enrolled participant (as an aside on this, I have a real issue with this approach as neither the elder or their family or DPOA or future executor have any idea of just what the true & informed costs of care are & have been paid; I'm surprised there isn't some sort of lawsuit on this by families dealing with Medicaids estate recovery (MERP).)

But whatever the case, DO NOT PAY THE BILL or any of the bills just yet as these should be debts of the estate and need to be done as per however probate is done.
As one who is amidst probate for my mom (also died last year), & who had been executrix twice before but last millennium, I've found that it's lots more complicated now as there are gaps & delays in billing & adjusted billing by vendors and in payments by insurers. Whatever bills you get for mom imho really need to go into a "hold" file for dealing with in probate. If you are executor, then once probate is opened & you get your "letters testamentary" you (or your atty. ) and the NOC (notice to creditors) is published then you will send out a letter to each in your "hold" file as to filing a claim (for the bill) to the court or the agent (the probate atty. usually). I did the ones for my mom and each was USPO mailed certified with return registered receipt (about $ 8.00 for the duo) for those who had a bill/invoice with a comma in it and for those smaller bills just bought the postage at USPO so each stamp payment with zip code was on the receipt. If they don't file a claim within whatever time frame probate does for your state, then it's not a debt of the estate & just too bad for them. But if they do file a claim, then it is paid however claims are done for your states laws. Usually funeral, burial and executor costs are paid first and foremost from the estate. If they actually file a claim, then it's up to the executor to review and determine payment too. IF the vendor or debt collector gets real huffy with you, we'll you as executor have a lot of power to negotiate & structure debt payments….which they know but try to bluff you.

If the estate has assets, the vendors, well they should get paid based on how claims are done as per your state law. Be sure to have your costs as executor noted for probate (this is usually a first or primary payee for probate). If you have to travel to be executor, you can probably do a Travel & MIE filing and this little nugget can add up even if you just do the federal allowance for the city that probate is based at.

If the estate has assets, then you should get a % of the assets…..for the estates I did for "aunts" last millennium, one was at about 5% plus hard expenses as there was actually $$ in her estate; the other didn't so was just reimbursement for expenses. No matter what you do, somebody is NOT gonna be happy…….

I've found that often probate atty. assume that family will just do whatever executor stuff for free (although they fully expect their payment). Really you need to place your own claim to the estate for whatever costs incurred.

Probate can stay open for quite a while too. If your the executor and its an independent administration, you have quite a lot of control on just what happens and when. It seems average is 2 years but could run for lots longer if need be. For that reason, some creditors - especially if they are unsecured creditors - don't ever deal with filing claims on probated estates.

Never ever pay for any bill personally. All must be a debt of the estate.

All this is assuming that the wheelchair returned and you have proof of return.
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That was my question, cwillie. The charges will continue until the chair is returned. When it was returned, there should have been some type of receipt. A POA wouldn't be any good anymore, but an executor/trix is able to handle financial matters involving the estate. The receipt showing the chair was returned, a death certificate, and letters testimentary for the estate should be sufficient for handling the problem. I'm surprised the worker asked if you were POA for someone who died. There is no such thing.

Really, I don't see why someone would even have to be the executor to handle this. The main thing that would be needed is proof that the chair was returned.
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Are you sure the chair was returned?
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Even if you had POA it would have ended when your mom died.

Could the January 15th bill be past charges prior to your mom's death? For example, for the previous 30 days? Maybe the statement is just dated Jan. 15th but the charges are for when your mom was still alive.

However, that doesn't explain the Feb., Mar., Apr., May, and June bills. Do these bills just keep coming in the mail each month? Are they in your mom's name only?

The Jan. bill may be legitimate but not the rest of them. You tried to straighten this out and was told that you could not get it straightened out without the proper paperwork. What paperwork?

If this account is only in your mom's name I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about it. They may be charging a dead person but what are they going to do? Report the dead person to the credit bureau? Ding your mom's credit?
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