Son Has to Pay Mom’s Nursing Home Costs

michigan-elder-abuseA common question I hear is “will I have to may for my mom’s nursing home care?” In Michigan elder law practice, I counsel families on the six ways to pay for long-term care. Having the children pay is one of them, but it’s typically by choice.

In a recent case, an Ohio appeals court ruled that a nursing home resident’s son was personally liable to pay for the nursing home costs for his mother. The case is Andover Village Retirement Community v. Cole (Ohio Ct. App., Dist. 11, No. 2013-A-0057, Nov. 10, 2014).

In the case, the son admitted his mother to a nursing home. Nothing unusual there, it happens every day. The son was his mother’s power of attorney. When the nursing home presented the contract for admittance, the son signed as a “responsible person.” The contract goes on and the son also signed saying that he would voluntarily assume financial responsibility for his mother.

After the mother passed away, the nursing home sued the son to collect his mother’s unpaid expenses. The son argued in court that the contract was confusing and conflicting as to whether he had to pay or not. He said that he signed one contract, while the nursing home argued that he signed one as a responsible party and then another saying that he was accepting personal responsibility for mom’s nursing home bill.

In the end the appeals court ruled for the nursing home and the son is now on the hook for the nursing home bill.

Be Careful What You Sign at the Nursing Home

When a loved one needs long-term care it can be a very stressful situation for all those involved.  Especially when you are transitioning a loved one to a long-term care setting.  When admitting a loved one to a long-term care setting, such as a nursing home, they typically is a ton of paperwork to complete.  It can be very easy to just sign where they tell you to sign.  However, the moral of this story is be careful and take time to actually read what you sign when you admit a loved one a nursing home.

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