Can I be liable for the nursing home bill if I sign as power of attorney?

Posted on: February 18th, 2011
On, an individual asked whether she could be personally liable if she used a power of attorney to have her mother admitted to a nursing home. I answered that question as follows: If your mother is eligible to have Medicare or Medicaid pay the bill (most likely it would be Medicaid since Medicare coverage is limited to a maximum of 100 days), then it is illegal for the nursing home to ask you to sign a personal guaranty. Most advocates believe it goes farther than that and if the nursing home accepts payments from either of those programs for any resident in the nursing home, then it is illegal to ask you to sign a personal guaranty. To be safe, though, we usually recommend that you sign your in some version of the following: “[Mom's name] by [your name] as Attorney-in-Fact.” In most states, this clearly identifies you as your mother’s agent so you are committing her income and resources to pay the bill rather than your own. Looks like you are in Oklahoma. You should contact an Elder Law Attorney out there for more detailed advice. See other responses at Avvo
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