Thousands of older adults in Pennsylvania live in nursing home facilities. They will have to cover thousands of dollars in expenses each month that they stay in a nursing home. Some of them will pay for the services they receive out of pocket, meaning they have savings for this exact purpose. Others will require Medicaid to pay for their nursing home care.
Nursing homes can find themselves in difficult situations when older adults need to stay for longer than expected. Some individuals with private resources may eventually run out of money and could accrue substantial debt to the facility where they live.
When someone does not work and has no other source of income, you will have very few options for collecting the debt from them directly. However, that will change after they die. How can you collect on an outstanding bill owed by a deceased former nursing home resident?
Your facility can bring a claim against their estate
Under Pennsylvania probate law, creditors have a right to the assets from the estate before heirs and beneficiaries do. Although private debts, like those owed to a nursing home, are not the top priority for a deceased person’s assets, private debts do take precedence over the distribution of inheritance to family members.
A nursing home facility can make a legal claim against someone’s estate for any remaining assets, ranging from personal property and bank accounts to a house previously protected from collection activity by its status as a primary residence. The Pennsylvania probate courts can order the liquidation or sale of all assets in the estate to pay as much of the debts owed by the deceased party as possible.
Timely action is necessary when making a claim against an estate
Your ability to collect from an estate will not last forever. There is a fixed amount of time after the family initiates probate proceedings in which you can make a claim. In cases where family members avoid initiating probate because of debts, you may need to take action to make a claim to the courts so that they open probate and you can make a claim.
Learning more about estate collection matters in Pennsylvania can help your business recoup the costs invested in a resident’s care.