In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson talks nursing home contracts and guarantees of payment.
Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!
I want to talk to you a little bit today about nursing home admission contracts and, one particular thing I think is important for people to look for. And that is to look to see whether, if you are a family member signing on behalf of a resident, perhaps someone with Alzheimer’s, or other problems that make them unable to sign on their own behalf. They’re expecting you to personally guarantee payment. You’re not the resident. The fact that you have power of attorney and are signing on behalf of someone, doesn’t give you from, just from that, any personal responsibility. But you need to look out to see if the nursing home is somehow expecting you to guarantee payment. If they are, you just need to say “No, I’m not willing to do that.”
Now let me, in saying that, distinguish one thing that I do think is appropriate in a nursing home contract. They have, I think, a legitimate right to expect you to apply the available funds of the nursing home resident toward paying for their care. If that person is on Medicaid they are required to contribute their income towards the cost of their care. And if you don’t do that, if you divert funds from paying the nursing home to other uses, then, I think, it is reasonable for them to hold you personally accountable for doing that.
So, a complicated subject, probably the best idea is to have an elder law attorney look at the contract before you sign it. I know sometimes time won’t allow that to be done, but if it does, that’s the best idea. Hope this helps. Thanks!
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.