Make Sure Bills Get Paid!

{3:03 minutes to read} Paying bills is a critical part of any routine. Sometimes, things happen and bills go unpaid. Below, we share a few examples:
  • Justine had long-term care insurance, but when she developed Alzheimer's Disease and became confused about bills, her policy lapsed. Without insurance, she doesn’t have the coverage for the aides that she needs. 
  • Deborah had her Medicare prescription insurance on autopay, specifically so she wouldn't miss a payment. For some reason, the insurance stopped taking the automatic deductions from her checking account and started sending her bills instead. Because the bills didn't get paid, she lost her prescription coverage on May 1st and cannot enroll again until the fall.
  • Marcie fell and was in the hospital followed by rehab for three months, during which time her electric bills did not get paid. When she was ready to return home, her electricity was turned off.
Missed payments can result in the termination of services. However, whether you are dealing with utilities or insurance policies, there’s something important you can do to make sure that you or your loved ones don’t miss important bills: You can sign up for notification of a third party if a bill has not been paid.  
 
For long-term care insurance policies, the form is called a Lapse Designee Form. Utility companies (electricity, gas, oil, water, cable, phone) will have a similar form, often called a Third Party Notification Form. Each company employs a different term, but the form and its purpose remains essentially the same and is worth investigating.
 
An organized approach is often the easiest way to tackle this project, as there can be a large amount of information (see sample form). 
  • Make a list of all bills (don’t forget real estate bills) and create a chart:
  • Company
  • Date Company was Contacted to Get Form
  • Date Form Filled Out & Sent In
  • Name of Third Party (or Lapse Designee) Recipient
  • Date of Receipt of Confirmation that Third Party Notification is in Place
  • Gather any Third Party Notification Forms included with bills; 
  • Identify companies remaining to be contacted to get such a form; 
  • Call, write, or go online for form, or ask how else you can be sure that a third party will be notified; and
  • Send off the forms and fill in the chart as you have the information.
Even if you are (or someone designated by you is) checking to make sure bills are being paid, finding the bills may be dependent on how accessible mail is—as opposed to being hidden among piles of magazines and junk mail, or slipped behind a couch cushion.  
 
By having third party notifications in place, you enlist the companies themselves to ensure reduced risk of losing services, insurance, or property. When considering making sure your bills will get paid, and particularly when acting on behalf of a loved one, it is worth the time spent to set up a third party notification option.
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Eddy & Schein in New York at 212-987-1427 or in Los Angeles at 626-395-7572.  
 
Rebecca Schein Gideon Y. Schein,
Rebecca R. Eddy
Partner/Co-Founder
Gideon Y. Schein
Partner/Co-Founder

Eddy & Schein
212. 987.1427
NYmail@eddyandschein.com

626.395.7572
CAmail@eddyandschein.com

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