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Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33150
Experience:  30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
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My father died on 3/29/2013. On 4/1/2013 he received a pension

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My father died on 3/29/2013. On 4/1/2013 he received a pension payment from Bethlehem Steel Corp of $1,010.38. This money was used to settle the costs he incurred in the month of March. Now Bethlehem Steel is sending me a collection notice for repayment of this money threatening that my credit will be affected if I do not comply. My father has no estate, no property, and no will. He lived month to month in a low cost apartment until his death. Am I personally liable for this money? And can Bethlehem Steel affect my credit standing with this collection issue?
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am JudgeLaw and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide you excellent service.

Before we begin, a bit more detail would be helpful please.

Did you cash the check or deposit it in your account or your late father's account?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It was direct deposited into my father's account, which I have power of attorney over

My condolences on your father's passing.

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma.   I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

Yes, I am sorry to tell you, you are personally responsible for the return of the last payment.

Unfortunately, it was improper and a violation of the pension rules to deposit a pension check received after the pensioner's (your father's) death. The check should have been returned to the pension administrator along with a copy of the death certificate. That would have triggered survivor benefits, if any, to go into effect and be paid out.

Your power of attorney automatically terminates at the time of death of the principal (your father) as a matter of law.

I am sorry. I realize this is not the answer you were hoping for. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I ask that you not penalize me for having to deliver less than favorable news.

It is my privilege to assist you. Let me know if you need further information.  I hope I have helped you beyond your expectations in the service I have provided to you.  I am here for you.

Please remember to rate my answer when our communication is completed so I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested.

If you feel the need to provide a low rating, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will happily answer your follow-up questions and assist you until I am able to explain the answer to your satisfaction. Please also remember that I cannot control whether the law is favorable to your situation, so please do not penalize me for having to deliver bad news.

Thank you.

Loren and 4 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your positive rating of my service to you. Let me know if you need more help or have future questions. I will be here for you. Just ask for me by name at the start of your question - "JudgeLaw" or use the following link (which you can bookmark in your browser):

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