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When insurance would no longer pay, she dug in her heels and it took quite a while to get her to give my sister POA and convince her to apply for Medicaid. She is at home now, Medicaid approved and receives assistance at home. However, she racked up a bill at the nursing home prior to getting approval through Medicaid. She currently owes the nursing home about $10,000. We have been making small payments monthly. The nursing home has filed suit against my mother and myself because I signed as her representative when admitting her as she was unable to do so. I also signed an exhibit that said I did not voluntarily agree to be responsible for her nursing home bill. However, the contract is worded “you and your” throughout and refers to my mother and myself. So now I am on the hook for this bill. My mother has an SUV that could possibly be sold to cover most of this bill. Is this something that Medicaid will permit? I have no means to pay this bill. I’m not even her POA. This will ruin my credit.

I would also ask a lawyer to read the contract. There maybe a loop hole. Were you told at the time that by signing you were not responsible? This could be looked at as an error on their part.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Check with Medicaid. Ask if the SUV can be sold to offset a debt.
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If the facility is part of a chain or a larger group of facilities, the contract is designed to get legally binding responsibility for payment from others. They know that your mom’s main source of income is Social Security which is untouchable by creditors. They cannot get squat out of her but can from you if you work and have regular paycheck via a judgement.

If they have filed suit, have you or mom been served?
If that’s happened, it might be too late to deal with the NH as they have already turned it over to probably a law firm that they have on retainer.
If there is a court date, to me, you have to go and take whatever documentation that might show shared responsibility. Judge might rule its only 50% of debt placed on you (hopefully). You can ask for all fees and cost costs to be waived usually if you commit to paying your % in full within a narrow time frame (like 10 days by cashiers check).

If this means you need to borrow $, you have to apply for a personal loan fast and before you have a judgement placed. As that will be a question on the loan application and likely kill getting it from a better bank.

Your moms SUV is sticky in that it’s her property, her asset.
She can sell it at FMV or Blue Book value and pay any of her bills from the sale. BUT if, you have the judgement placed on you, it’s your debt. Mom cannot give you her $ from the suv sale to pay the judgement on you, as it’s “gifting” of her $ to you which isn’t allowed by Medicaid. Yeah read that again, it’s likely to be considered gifting.

Getting an atty to deal with something that’s either coming in at 10k or 5k, imo isn’t worthwhile as atty is going to have its own costs and dispportional to the debt owed. Only & Unless your job has it where a judgement placed on you is an issue for your continued employment (like your military or have some sort of clearances required) would I suggest you get an atty to go to court with you and deal with this. As atty will have costs atop the judgement. Really get documentation together that clearly shows shared responsibility and see if judge will just have you at 5o% and mom at 50% and include all fees and court costs waived in the decree. Mom canhave judgement on her, but it goes nowhere as her income is untouchable except by IRS.

Free or low cost legal services maybe mom could get if the pro bono legal clinic in your area does consumer debt cases. Where I live there’s 2 law schools and their probono is geared to juvenile justice & fair housing. If you have a job, you won’t qualify for a legal clinic atty.

There probably is a way to get mom to do some sort of personal services contract between you & her and also between her & your sister to pay you from her SS income. Like she pays you $15 hr for 20 hrs of personal services a mo. Over time you get paid the 5k. Personal services agreements have to be done by elder law atty who understands how Medicaid looks at spending. I think it would be worthwhile for you & Sissy to look into this even if there wasn’t a looming unpaid NH bill.
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Reply to igloo572
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Reread the contract from NH and go from there
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Reply to shad250
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It's your mother's bill, your sister has power of attorney for your mother, it's actually for your sister to get this sorted. Have you talked to her about it?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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JoAnn29 Dec 15, 2018
Sister didn't have POA until after the contract was signed.
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You can definitely use your mother's money from selling her possessions to pay your mother's nursing home bills. Medicaid will not consider that to be gifting.
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