I am the appointed POA for my mum who is confined in a Nursing Home. Her creditors are harrassing me for payment of her bills. Finally I mentioned that I was her POA,now they want me to fax a copy to them. My mum does not own anything,but she does have a Savings account ($0) dollars and a Checking account that her Medicare check goes into every month,from their I withdraw EVERYTHING and gives to the Nursing home ant the rest is supplemented by the State. My question is if I were to fax the POA ,will they hold me responsible for paying her bills?
Couple of items you want to keep in mind:
1. Her SS is a protected asset - that means it cannot be garnished or seized. Now the kinda grey area is IF the account that SS $$ goes into is in any way commingled with other funds which can be seized in a judgement, the account can be seized. So you want to make sure her SS $ is in an account where it is "pure". - just her SS or other federally protected retirement. Sections 407(a) and 1383(d)(1) prohibit creditors from reaching Social Security or SSI benefits by levies, garnishments, or other legal process.
2. The collection agencies are ruthless and will harangue you for payment, Even though they well know that you are not responsible for it. So gird up for this.....Personally I would sent them a short letter stating:
"The owner of account # 12345, JANE DOE, is resident in a long-term care facility. Because of her cognitive state, she cannot be contacted directly. Any and all matters and any questions regarding this MUST be sent in writing to whatever address. (I would get a post office box if there are a lot of debtors so you don't get a ton of collection letters & mix up's to your credit score).
This is your notification that should you or any of your associates or any affiliates attempt to contact JANE DOE directly, a complaint will be filed with her state’s: Attorney General; Department of Banking and Consumer Finance; and Ombudsman for the Department of Health and Human Comission on her behalf.
Her income is federally protected income (e.g. Social Security) which is dedicated to her health care and paid directly to her long term care facility. Sections 407(a) and 1383(d)(1) prohibit creditors from reaching Social Security or SSI benefits by levies, garnishments, or other legal process."
Type your name as Sue Smith as DPOA for Jane Smith. No signature.
Send it USPO return registered mail - will run about $ 7.00 & worth every penny.
3. Now you may find that next year, mom gets a 1099-C for cancellation of debt. With the mortgage crisis (foreclosures and short sales) a lot of financials who never bothered with 1099-C's, did them last year and even more this year. Next year should be even more. They can go back, I think up to 14 years, if they are in a recourse state. If she gets them - DON"T IGNORE IT! Which means you have to file an long 1040 & a form 982 and do an insolvency worksheet. If she's on Medicaid, she's insolvent except for whatever her states monthly personal needs allowance is. You have to do this otherwise, the cancellation will show up as "income" for Medicaid and she could be disqualified till you get it done. GoodLuck!
If anyone knows anything about this law, it would make for interesting discussion.
So much of all this is anecdotal so who knows.