An update nearly nine months after my mother's death, re the mail:
I never heard anything from Probate Court and never called them, not seeking trouble. My father was my first close family death. (Was uninvolved in my father's passing. He was after any money I had right out of college. He bothered me at my first job. Never forgot that. He never tried to mend fences. "You women these days...") My mother was the first death of a person I was close to.
The corporate nursing home provider tried to stick me with a $200-something bill. I never paid it and have been very consistent since initial contact on January 4, "not my debt.'
I first tried the Vermont AG's Consumer Assistance Program. It was not helpful. I did not receive any useful advice to stop the collection calls and mail from TekCollect and Marcam Associates. (I of course blocked the calls and emails after they occurred.)
I either heard about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on the radio or stumbled across them while looking for a "not my debt" letter. (They have other letters, including if it is your debt.) I used the template and faxed it to Marcam Associates and TekCollect. Nearly five months of peace followed, then TekColllect reared its ugly head on Saturday morning via email and US Mail on Monday.
Well, I am impressed. I worked on this project most of Sunday, which i resented, trying to piece together a timeline of activites, find and print out key emails, and followed the directions about obscuring sensitive items, like full account numbers, my name, email and home address, phone numbers, etc. I did this for free on Adobe Acrobat, using my initials to "stamp" over the items that needed to be covered up before submitting. There is a tool, also for free there, to create one multi-page pdf from several one- or two-pagers (prior letters and printed out email).
Submitted online to the CFPB around 9 AM, left for the day, and was so very pleased they got TekCollect on the record THAT DAY to close the collection account! There is a paralled complaint they sent to the nursing home, which based on the Vermont AG experience, will likely be ignored. We'll see. They were notified via email submission of the form they sent me in March, and I clearly checked off "not my debt." Since the CFPB is involved, I will wait the 60 days before sending another letter, for instance.
When the economy fell off the cliff, my move was put on hold because my investments, primarily a 529 ABLE account, sunk in value so much, but the last four weeks the stock market has improved. This gives me the hope to work to try to fix up and sell my current house next spring, and if I do not get sufficient bites doing FSBO, list it with a realtor.
In March, I remember checking my credit score weekly to see if my mother's nursing home debt would show up. It never did, and as time went by, I stopped checking my score because I figured if they had cause to report out the debt as mine, they would have quickly. A key point I repeatedly made was we did not co-own any accounts.
I also figured out a way to wriggle a $2000 life policy (Medicaid limit is $1500 FV in my state), out of my mother's estate a year and half before she caught Covid. It felt nice to be acknowledged in that way. I put it to her very plainly and let her make the choice 1) Do nothing and it goes to Medicaid payback. I would advise to stop paying the premium. 2) Remove my brother, who never visits or calls off the policy, or I advise also stop paying the premium, or 3) Let me put in the research. Continue paying the premiums for now. If I find a way, then I will expend the effort but also reap the complete reward. No pressure. I was willing to walk away without expending the effort and with no one getting anything out of the policy, especially the state. Two thousand dollars is not life-changing money for me. I relished the acknowledgment though.