If your parent has bills or debts when they die, who pays them? - AgingCare.com

If your parent has bills or debts when they die, who pays them?

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Tob -you & wife need to get to an elder law attorney & asap. There are a whole host of issues for FIL that will likely be problem if he will ever need Medicaid.

Now whomever is named in the DPOA & MPOA paperwork can & should sign off the hospice paperwork. They do it strictly within their ability as a POA & are not liable for the bill. They sign it as: "Jane Smith Jones as DPOA for Mary Smith" or as "Jane Smith Jones in her limited capacity as DPOA for Mary Smith" on each & every line. Jane Smith Jones needs to get each & every page of the NH agreement / paperwork and do NOT leave the facility without it. If your wife signs her name personally then she personally is responsible for whatever for FIL. If yours is a community property state, then what she signs off on becomes your totally liability too. If I was not the sole DPOA with totally good paperwork as DPOA, I would NOT sign. Ever.

Now if FIL qualified for hospice, that is being bill to Medicare. So that is a benefit to him under the federal Medicare program. No cost to FIL. BUT hospice - although really a great program - does NOT pay for the room & board part of their stay @ the NH. The r&b needs to be paid also & this is done either by private pay (somewhere from 5K - 15K a month); long term care insurance or by Medicaid. The NH admissions paperwork should detail the costs and penalties for non-payment too.

How is the NH stay (the r&b) going to be paid?

About 70% of NH is paid by Medicaid. Now Medicaid requires that they qualify for the program both financially & medically by whatever your state has set (Medicare is totally federal but Medicaid is run by the states). For medical its that they need skilled nursing care, FIL is ok on this obviously. But for the financial part, is he impoverished? Like under 2k in non-exempt assets & under whatever your state has as it's ceiling for monthly income? If MIL also impoverished? Medicaid can go back and require 5 years of financial details. If they were married back then (which I bet they were) both FIL & MIL have to provide this. If you cannot get this, then FIL is toast on getting Medicaid. If - for example - by the divorce, MIL got the 50K in their savings account and dad got zero, then that will be a problem for Medicaid. OR if FIL signed off the ownership of the home to MIL, that is a problem for Medicaid as it is a transfer of an asset.

Just who is going to have the job to do the Medicaid application for FIL and get all this info and make sure that it is correct? (Note: The Medicaid application for my mom has a statement as to the details being correct and accurate under penalty. If you find something later on, you have to in writing let the state know of the situation in detail asap too) If something if found to be a penalty say 6 months after FIL goes into the NH and qualifies for Medicaid, the state can retroactively make FIL ineligible for Mediciad. And that my dear will be a lot of money that whomever signed off to be the agent will have to deal with.

If they divorced to avoid doing a spend-down for Medicaid, then the divorce can be viewed as a sham and FIL will be ineligible for Medicaid. If they are still living together and presenting themselves as a couple in any way (like they go to church together, or go to family events together or like sent a wedding gift or Xmas card together, live together, then the divorce is a sham), Medicaid is going to view the divorce as sham. Medicaid - at least in my mom's state - places these sort of applications in for a secondary review to look at for compliance and they can get all sorts of info on the couple (IRS filings, run credit checks, search real property records, etc.). When a secondary review is done, there probably is going to be a transfer penalty placed on the applicant. Transfer penalties are super sticky to deal with & really need an elder lawyer to deal with it.

My gut feeling on when I hear about elderly divorces or right-before-applying property transfers, is that one of the kids browbeats the parents to do this under the misbelief that somehow it will keep the governments paws off of their future inheritance. They get parents to do a quit claim on property or transfer money out of their bank so make the parent now impoverished. Then when parents apply for Medicaid, parents get hit for a transfer penalty for the full tax assessor value of the quit claim property or the full amount of the transfer. For property, they can sign it back to parent so that issue solved (for the present) but for $ transfers usually it's been spent. If they get a transfer penalty issued by Medicaid, the NH will get the letter too. NH will fully expect someone to private pay for care. If you don't, they will go after whomever signed to be the residents agent. They will turn it over to collections too as a couple of months in NH is easily at least 10K and worth going after. Most of the time family take the elder out of the NH asap if they cannot private pay and moves them back to their home to take care of them for the full run of the transfer penalty period.

Really I would not sign anything beyond the hospice paperwork till I met with an elder lawyer asap to figure out what issues the divorce presents and what funds are FIL to be able to pay for his care. Also you should discuss your own situation with a special needs child (I bet legal suggests you get a special needs trust set up for your child for his future and it is almost always a very good thing to do btw).
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My wifes parents are divorced after being married for 47 years. He is in pallitive care and all of the paperwork has been put on my wife. Her seven siblings also are relegating her to gather and sign all paperwork. I have advised against the signing of any paperwork that could lead to financial responsibilitiy. This is very important has we have a special needs son. My wife recently signed hospice agreement. What should we look for ? Should she sign as "reisdents agent "? Nursing home papers are next to be signed.
They told us that a sibling has to sign and not his ex wife. By the way they still live together and have for 60 years.
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I live in Colorado and am the Power of Attorney for Finances and Medical for my father who is 85. He has spent all of his reverse mortgage on literally garbage and has about $20,000 left in cash from it. Other than $1,000 a month in social security he has no other income or assets. However, he has been declared ineligible for medicaid because he owns two timeshares that are not able to be sold because they are a) literally worthless, you cannot give them away, b) a liability in that the HMO payment is $1,800 per year. I have been withholding payment on the HMO payment in hopes that the timeshare will "take back the title" but have not been successful at this point. I was told today that my father must be placed in a nursing home - he is not longer able to care for himself. I agree that this is an appropriate move but my biggest fear is that once his assets run out (which won't be long, surely at nursing home rates) that he will still not qualify for medicaid and he will be "booted out." I do not want to care for him, nor do I havae the financial or time resources available to do so. Yet I have read that some states will go back on the children if they do not qualify for medicaid for the cost of their parent's long term care. Is that true?
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My parents were in an assisted living facility and after my father was hospitalized he was to be placed in a nursing home. When I advised the assisted living facility of this, they advised me that since I signed the contract, of which I do not understand how you can have a contract for an assisted living facility, what happens if the tenant dies, and if they cannot sign for themselves, I was signing on their behalf. now they have put a judgement against my credit bureau and are trying to collect. Is this legal?
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For those caregivers out there who are wondering if you have to pay your parents debt or credit card bills when they die...

"I was recently asked "Am I responsible for my parent's debt? What if as a caregiver, I recently discovered that my father has several thousand of dollars of debt. Are parent debts transferable?"
The answer is ‘No!" ... (find out more information...)

Are Caregivers Responsible for Their Parent's Debt?
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/Are-children-Responsible-for-Their-Parent-s-Debt-133807.htm

And our expert answer:
Am I responsible for my parent's debt?
https://www.agingcare.com/Answers/Are-adult-children-responsible-for-the-medical-bills-of-their-parents--136206.htm

Hope this helps caregivers out there wondering if they will have to pay their parents debt.

Best of Luck Caregivers :)
Keep up the hard work!
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Fortress: You've opened up a hornets' nest......the POA. It can be abused by anyone who gets a hold of it.....doctor's offices, hospitals, banks, credit card companies etc. even H.R departments of corporations.
We do need solutions! My suggestion is to read the document thoroughly. Both signatures are required: 1) ( the donor) and 2) the person receiving power, so both parties must participate in the follow-up.
Mine says: "In the event that I am unable to carry out my wishes ........" etc., so no one can grab it away from me while I'm still coherent.
There are two types of P O A, Financial and Medical ..totally separate instruments. What other suggestions do you have? I care about this issue.
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I am MEDICAL POA for my dad also and even though he is still a person and able to think .... doctor offices, nursing home, collectors etc... keep using the POA as an excuse to harass me. My dad completed his desires for life support etc... when he entered the nursing home (he is still alert, smart, and he is STILL A PERSON) he picked me as his POA because I will be the most likely to obey his wishes of NO life support. Anyway, I never signed anything and I never signed the POA only him. But now the nursing home and ALL places he ever has an appt get MY INFORMATION!!!! And call me. When you get old and go into a residential nursing home or whatever.... they can really change what THEY want POA to mean. My dad has no money and no assets. Only some VA benefits and medicare. As more and more parents are living into very old age... I think everyones 50s, 60s, 70s, etc... are going to be taken up with parent and their own medical problems and harassment. I know of 70-75 year olds taking care of their 90+ old parent. We need solutions.
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If I am a Power of Attorney for my mom...does this mean I can be responsible for credit card debt? I'm a POA for her because she can't see or write well. Her name is in the card.
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AARP has a nice site about the Filial Law. it pertains to nursing home debt. And it goes state by state as to how it affects each state. As for credit card debt, many credit cards can be negotitated down but, they are not your responsibility anyway.

So I guess, it depends on what debts you are talking about.

personally,I wouldn't worry about it. I mentioned the Filial Law because and only because I found it interesting. Not sure if it is ever applied or not, but interesting.
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Not you, Zoey.
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