Nursing homes are in a difficult position. They provide expensive and cost-intensive services to vulnerable people on a fixed income. Even those with substantial retirement savings may eventually find that they don’t have enough to cover the expenses associated with nursing home care.
Some nursing homes receive most of their funds directly from Medicaid or the family members of their residents. Others try to work with their residents for direct payment and billing. Your facility may even have specific policies about how far behind someone can fall before they risk losing their bed.
When someone living at a nursing home facility dies, they may have thousands of dollars in payments due to the facility at that time. How can nursing homes collect on the amount owed when a resident dies?
Nursing homes often need to make estate claims
Under Pennsylvania law, nursing homes, like most other creditors, can make a claim against the estate of someone who recently died. Just as all of someone’s property becomes part of their estate after their death, their debts also become the responsibility of their estate. You can expect to receive repayment so long as they are still assets in the estate. Beneficiaries should not receive anything from the estate before creditors receive total repayment.
Although medical and nursing home debt does not take priority over other personal debts, you may be able to recoup what someone owes to the estate by filing a claim in probate court. The courts can award creditors assets from the estate and even order the executor to sell off property that the deceased individual had hoped to transfer to others as part of their estate.
Estate claims can become complicated
From ensuring that the amount you billed for is the full and accurate amount owed to making sense of the paperwork necessary for estate claims, there are many things that can go wrong when attempting to collect money owed by someone who has recently died. Many nursing homes would benefit from legal guidance when dealing with such a scenario.
Learning more about estate collection law and assertively pursuing collections can help a nursing home receive the full payment it deserves for services already rendered to a now-deceased resident.