Home Finances How to Spot Red Flags in Admission Agreements, Part 3

How to Spot Red Flags in Admission Agreements, Part 3

Seniors signing forms

Elder law attorney Jim Koewler joins Suzanne to talk about the admissions paperwork we have to sign when a senior love one comes into a skilled nursing facility. Most nursing home and assisting living agreements now have a spot where they want someone else from the family to sign as “resident representative.”

Subject to federal rules, the Resident Representative:

  • Promise to pay from resident’s money
  • Has “Sole” control of the resident’s money
  • “Volunteer” to guarantee payment
  • Will take in resident if the nursing home discharges the senior loved one

The second point you’re signing, that you have “sole” control of the resident’s money, is often not the case. You may have the ability to spend mom’s money as power of attorney, but you don’t have sole control unless you’re the guardian of their estate — your mom can still also spend her money. If you sign that, you’ve already lied. The admission person handing this for you to sign doesn’t know the difference, but the nursing home’s attorney knows it isn’t true and has put it in there anyway.

The third part means if you sign this, you personally will be held accountable to pay bills. The fourth part meets state and federal rules for the nursing home to provide a save environment in case of discharge.

You don’t want to agree to these items if you can avoid it. If there’s a Medicaid mess-up, then you become responsible for the private pay of your loved one’s care. This actually happened to Suzanne, who signed admission papers for her mom even though she wasn’t her mom’s power of attorney, because someone had to fill out the forms, and by signing, she “volunteered” to cover the bills.

How do you avoid this? Watch for it; cross it out. Or if you don’t want to draw attention to that, sign your name with a comma, followed by POA. This means that you’re signing this on behalf of the loved one, not as your individual self, which legally protects you from agreeing to consequences that affect you personally.

Suzanne urges anyone who’s facing these situations to consult with an elder law attorney so they you can avoid the situation she found herself in.

Watch on YouTube to see slides from Jim’s presentation. Learn more about Jim Koewler at his website.