I sign all of my mother’s release forms, etc... however, the forms say that a legal spouse or legal caregiver are the only ones who can sign, and I technically don’t have any legal right to her.

I’ve looked through the older forums and haven’t found an answer.

Am I okay signing her forms? I’ve asked her and she assures me she won’t sue or argue any form with my signature, but I worry that the hospitals and clinics will eventually bring it up.

Any advice or previous experience?


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OP: Both my parents are still competent, I and I know my father will pay if any legal issues come up in my name. I was on break from school when mom first got sick so I signed all the nursing home and hospital forms. No one ever asked me if I had a legal right. Eventually, my dad said I should keep signing the forms for continuity, in case we were confronted later on.

How hard is it to do POA as a daughter? Probably worth it later.
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It's a mistake to sign forms willy nilly...especially at the nursing home. They often have forms that try to get another party to be responsible for the bills. If you are saying you signed your mom's name for her, that's one (disturbing) thing. If you signed your own name, I would get copies of everything you signed and have them reviewed by a lawyer to make sure you didn't just agree to something you didn't mean to agree to.

If your mom is still competent, she can appoint you to be POA when she can't make decisions for herself. When you activate the power of attorney and want to sign for her there is a way to make sure you aren't agreeing to the contract yourself. Sign her name, and then the word 'by' and then your name, and the words 'power of attorney'.

If the nursing home stood there and watched you sign your mother's name on all the forms I would doubt the accuracy of their other records for staffing, drugs and care provided.
No.  You need to have a Power of Attorney or guardianship in order to conduct business in your mother's name.  If you sign your own name you could be held liable for payment of any bills incurred--and there are many.  If your mother is competent and can physically sign her forms, she should do so; then she needs to have someone appointed as POA (which would be the least expensive way to give someone else permission to do business/make decisions in her name).  If Mom is not competent, you will need to have a guardianship set up, although this can be expensive.
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As long as your mom is able to sign things for herself, she should be signing them herself. What sort of releases are you being asked to sign?
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I find myself in this situation, my dad being deaf and my daughter always crying or not understanding what’s going on. The personnel just naturally turn to me. I’m not doing this anymore because dad pays mom’s AL bill, I’m certainly not able to.

My dad refuses to make me POA. I can’t reason with him. He doesn’t understand what POA does so even though he can pay for care for my mom but what if he dies suddenly? The money is in the bank but I can’t access it.

We learn something every day.
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If your dad were to die, having a power of attorney for him wouldn't help you. The powers to conduct business in his name would end at his death.

Can you get your dad to set up bills like the assisted living account to be paid automatically? That way, if he died suddenly, you would have some time to straighten out access to the money.

Also, if your mom is still legally competent would she allow you to be the successor power of attorney for her if your dad was unable to do it? If he died, she would inherit the money and as her power of attorney, you would be able to pay bills for her.

A power of attorney for anyone does not go into effect until an event happens that causes someone not to be able to make decisions for themselves. Maybe your dad doesn't completely understand that. Appointing you as his power of attorney gives you NO powers until he can't make decisions on his own behalf.
People are seriously dropping the ball if they aren't at least asking whether you have POA. Be careful of what forms are you signing because putting your own name on any contract that may require payment such as home care or AL/NH would make you personally responsible for the money owed.
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