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I was pressured to sign admission papers to a nursing home for my mother following her stroke. My mother lives in the US and I live in the UK. I was told by the manager at the nursing home that once my mother's assets and debts were disbursed (the outstanding mortage on her house exceeds its value) that Medicaid would cover the remainder of her care after her monthly pension. However, Medicaid has dragged the time out, and though we are still awaiting decision on appeal, the nursing home says they will collect the $28000+ she owes from me.
At the time I was signing papers I had just had a long haul flight after several days of fright having learned of her stroke. My son is her financial power of attorney and has been working with the nursing home on the medicaid application. The firt attempt was rejected for lack of life insurance details. It took months to get the life insurance company to finally say she had no cash value on the policy. We thought everything would be sorted out and that by signing I was merely making it easier for the nursing home to get my mother's medical records from various other doctors. She was in excruciating pain with no relief because they could not get details of her previous injuries. So I was so stressed to get her relief, I didn't realise I was making myself responsible for her nursing home debt.
Can her nursing home debt follow me to the UK? I have no means to pay it. I am too ill to work and only receive United Kingdom disability living allowance income until Autumn 2016, at which time I will have to reapply for it.

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Well the children and grandchildren are as impoverished as our mother. The nursing home social worker didn't say that 5 years of records was needed. And supposed the only thing missing the first time applied in October was dtails of a life insurance policy which was discovered much later to have no cash value. Now at the appeal they want her most recent bank statements. She has 2 bank accounts. We had them for one, but the other suddenly stopped mailing statements to the POA (my son) and the online statements are for 2015. No recent ones.

OhJude you have eased my mind a great deal. We do not hold anything jointly. This was my decision when we married to protect him from my exhusband's debts. I will indeed contact Citizen's Advice.
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Araminta, Medicaid needs 5 years of financial records. Without those, nothing gets sorted at all. In some states, there are "filial responsibility" laws, meaning the nursing home can successfully sue the children for the bill.
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Amaranth go to the Citizens Advice Bureau nearest you - they have people in there with a myriad of backgrounds who should either a) be able to settle your mind and give you solid information or b) be able to point you in the right direction. If you declare yourself bankrupt there is nothing to take - it will go against you if you want credit but if you have nothing they can't take it as far as I am aware. In the UK your debts are your own not the liability of your husband. Word of caution if you have a joint bank account then the situation will be different anything that is in joint names is owned equally
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I am most afraid they might try to take my husband's property and savings. I have contacted a money advice charity supported by the UK government. I hope they can signpost me to relevant organisation.

Thank you all for your posts. They are giving me some heart.
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Robin's post reminded me of something else - if your only source of income is from the UK government, it may not be garnishable or available to a debt collector.

Better open another Google tab and research that as well!
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Have you ever heard the term "Can't get blood out of a turnip." ? Your only income is disability. They can dun you all they want, but if you don't have the means to pay it, you don't have the means to pay it.
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A decade into pre-existing autoimmune conditions which are crippling me with pain, fatigue and organ (including brain) deterioration. I am in medical exile in the UK. US health care would be utterly inaccessible to me. Still trying to get my head around who I should seek advice from specifically and how to frame my questions. I have about 7 google tabs open.
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Thanks for the update. It's good that your son is in the States to help keep the process moving.

As to your current husband's liability, that's another issue to add to those to be raised with an attorney. This does get complicated, especially given the complexity of American and English statutes.

And BTW, start documenting your medical conditions if you're not doing so already.
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I have made my son aware. In fact the NH is contacting my brother and now me because evidently they cocked up the Medicaid application. They had my son appeal when all he needed to do was send an amendment to the original application. This put the process on hold for 90 days when it might have been sorted. Last week they chased him for most recent bank statements from one of her banks. Before then he thought the NH had everything they needed. So he is now trying to get the most recent statement (it is not online yet and the bank stopped mailing the statement to his address). So he will drive 2 hours tomorrow to get those statements from the bank in person and deliver them to the NH.
I will have a look online for potential legal advice. I am afraid a collection agent might go after my English husband as the house and savings are his and only in his name. I have not contributed to them at all. I refused to have my name on any property and savings he has. I just finished paying off my ex husband's (he is American as am I) debt in the US and worked myself into illness doing it over the last 12 years. I didn't think it fair my current husband should share his property with me. Now this has happened I hope he is protected.
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We were posting our last messages at the same time.

The fact that you were pressured into signing because of the alleged med issue and lack of records is I think exactly that. Typically hospitals fax to a SNF or NH information that's critical to the patient's treatment. That would include selected records and medication.

I know FOR A FACT that hospital discharge planners fax information to SNFs and NHs BEFORE a patient is admitted - it's information the SNF/NH reviews before accepting a patient. So I think someone was in fact lying to you.

Undue influence might be an excuse for liability, as well as extreme emotional disturbance due to the situation.

Have you made your son aware of the NH's tactics and attitude? I think his pursuit of Medicaid is the best solution, especially since the threats to come after you for $28K really can't be implemented b/c you just don't have the money or assets.
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Araminta, I just recalled that many of the large law firms (150 - 200+ attorneys) have established international offices, some based here (such as D.C.) with a focus on international law, but some others have actually established offices overseas.

It may be that some UK law firms also have established offices here in the States.

What I would do is use Google to research and find (a) large, or international law firms in your area, then (b) which ones might have a financial practice area, and (c) any that might have offices in the US.

The two offices can work together to find an answer to the question of debt collection reciprocity between our countries.

Another alternative is to locate a UK bankruptcy firm which is familiar with US debt collection laws. If reciprocity exists and there's a likelihood the NH might come after you for payment of the NY fees, a bankruptcy attorney could advise you on whether or not you would be what's considered in the US as "judgment proof." That means you have no assets to pay a debt, and any judgment would be uncollectible because of that.

I understand this could be and probably is a very unsettling issue, so the sooner you can get answers, the sooner you can take action, if necessary and possible, to feel more comfortable and not spend years of worrying about the NH coming after you.

Good luck; I hope you get some good information and good help.

If there are any pro bono (free) legal clinics or services affiliated either with law schools or senior centers, you might be able to get some free advice.
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I was pressured because they said they couldn't give her pain killers without her medical records and they couldn't request her medical records unless she was formally admitted. My mother was sobbing and wailing in pain and they were doing nothing to help her without those papers. What could I do?
I understand that some collection agents are now selling debts to overseas agencies. I have nothing for them to take. But this worry is making me more ill.
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I agree with GA. If you signed, and did not sign your name followed by "as POA for --mom's name--" then yes you have signed for obligation for the debt. This is something nursing homes and care centers love to have happen. In fact they pressure people to sign these documents because it guarantees they do not have to wait for Medicaid back payment. It is one of the biggest pitfalls for people who are very new to the process, and feel like if they don't sign their loved one will be left out on the street or worse, be sent home again. Medicaid is notorious for taking a long time to settle, but when they do, they back pay to the day of the application.

As far as the debt chasing you to the UK...I'm not sure. Does the UK use credit agencies like Experian etc. that we have here? If so, this could end up on your credit report. As far as legally, I've never heard of anyone being subpoened from the UK for debt...for criminal things sure, but not for debt. I'd say that their reach is limited, but if I were you I would definitely consult a financial lawyer in the UK to be sure.

Angel
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Araminta, I assume you just signed your name, but not as POA since this has been assigned to your son? If so, I do think you have liability for her debt, but since you live in the UK, there's an element of international law and reciprocity for debts with which I am totally unfamiliar.

It might be that debt obligation is reciprocal between the US and the UK; I don't know.

International financial obligations is an area in which I have no experience or knowledge. I think this is an issue for an attorney in an international financial practice area, which generally would be found in the big, tony law firms.
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