When someone has a parent or other loved one residing in a nursing home, they might wonder whether they are personally responsible for paying the nursing home bills, particularly if they also have power of attorney for the resident.
Though powers of attorney give a person the ability to access the finances of the principal (the party who signs over the power of attorney; in this case, the nursing home resident) and pay the principal’s bills, they don’t directly impose a financial responsibility on the power of attorney holder themselves.
Before we look at the responsibilities of someone with a loved one in a nursing home, note that each situation is unique. Whatever agreements someone signs with the nursing home will typically determine the extent of their financial obligations. The following information is simply a general overview of how powers of attorney may relate to financial obligations for nursing home bills.
If you have specific concerns or questions about your situation, contact an attorney so they can review the agreements you’ve signed or will sign.
Abilities and Responsibilities of the Power of Attorney
The power of attorney holder—also called the attorney-in-fact or agent—might have the ability or even the duty to pay the financial obligations of the principal. However, the attorney-in-fact isn’t required to do so out of their pocket. Instead, the attorney-in-fact would use the principal’s finances—not their own—to pay any bills, including those related to nursing home care.
If Someone Is a Guarantor, They Might Be Financially Responsible
In some cases, family members might voluntarily sign an agreement to accept responsibility for their loved one’s bills. In these cases, that agreement would, in fact, make the co-signer (or guarantor) responsible for nursing home bills. However, it will always be clearly stated in a legally binding contract if this is the case.
It’s always best practice for anyone to read and fully understand any agreements before signing them. When something is unclear, they have the right to ask questions. Because contracts with nursing homes can be complicated, seeing legal counsel can help someone best understand the agreement before they sign it.
If You Need Legal Help When a Loved One Is Mistreated, Contact J.P. Sawyer
At Sawyer Law Firm, we have years of experience dealing with nursing home abuse, neglect, and injury cases. We’re very familiar with the tactics nursing homes use to maximize profits and deny the rights of residents and their loved ones.