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As a POA am I responsible for bills?

My husband, who has Alzheimer's, fell down the stairs, knocked himself out, got a frontal lobe injury, broke most of the ribs on his right side, mostly in the back, and last but not least broke his collarbone. As a result, he spent 3 weeks in ICU, then a month and a half in hospital rehab, and 3 months in a nursing home. During that time I used Legal Zoom to get Power of Attorney for EVERYTHING. I hired an attorney who advertised that he dealt with Medicare, etc. He told me "no problem" my husband would qualify for Medicaid. After that I kept in contact with him often, in person or via email. My husband's nursing home stay became longer and longer. Anyway, by the end of the 3rd month, I got a letter informing me that he was DENIED. I had paid the attorney $1000.00, and he didn't do squat! I was informed that I owed the nursing home $28,000.00! Now a year and a half later, I got him approved for a Trust Account, which means Medicaid takes all his retirement money and Medicaid pays the remainder. I however have to be responsible for his prescriptions' co-pay. A friend said that as POA I would not be responsible for the bills that I had signed my name+ agent. Is this true? If so, then can I go to the nursing home and tell them to stop harassing me??
Status: Open    May 28, 2015 - 11:55 PM

Elder Law, Finance

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Jul 22, 2015 - 10:35 AM

Agents under Powers of Attorney are expected to use the Principal's money to pay their bills. You personally are not responsible for the care he received but you are expected to use his funds to pay his creditors. Some states have filial responsibility statutes in place and your state might have other rules that apply to you. I encourage you to speak to an Elder Law attorney for guidance.

Jul 23, 2015 - 12:52 PM

You are generally not personally responsible for bills as financial agent under a POA. However, you should check the paperwork from the nursing home to see if you ever signed an agreement to become the patient’s guarantor of payment. If you did, you may have a personal obligation—not as financial agent, but as guarantor. Some states also have rules requiring individuals to be personally responsible for some of their spouse’s expenses (so-called “filial responsibility” laws). That may also impose liability on you for your husband’s care—not as financial agent, but as spouse.

Jul 30, 2015 - 08:07 AM

Generally, a POA is not personally responsible for the debts of the Principal. Be cautious, however, as some medical providers including long-term care facilities may request that a POA sign a personal guarantee to assume responsibility for debts of the Principal. Signing that documentation would make the POA liable, but they would be signing in their individual capacity, not as POA.

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Jun 02, 2015 - 04:55 PM

I was told by our lawyer that as long as we put POA next to our signature we would not be responsible for any payment. Hoping he is correct. Good luck to you.
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