How are you managing the accounts of deceased patients when they have a balance? If you were told there is no estate, are you confirming this with the courts? Do you get involved in probate?
In case of unfortunate death of a patient who has a balance, it is best to first bill the patient’s estate. Most of time someone from the family will call and offer to settle the bill and ask for some discount (You should probably be offering some kind of a discount anyway in most of these circumstances). Since the cost of collecting by collection agency is at leaset 25%, offer a discount from 10% to 25% if they pay right away with a credit card or mail a check within a week.
If there is no response or no offer to settle by the family because they say the person did not have any estate, turn the account to collection agency.