POA (power of attorney) breach
To POA (power of attorney) or otherwise to POA, would be that the question? As the parents grow older, you might want to secure their health and well-being. This may mean arranging in-home or out-of-residence health care or assisted living. Private medical health insurance or Medicaid may cover some or the many expense. Your parents’ savings and/or investments could also play a part. But what goes on once your parents’ dollars don’t stretch far enough. Does that leave you (legally) for the hook?
Below, we’ll glance at the stories of two different women. Each had been a loving daughter, anxiously taking care of the interests in their parent. Both were fortunate to get parents that had assets which could cover the space between insurance and ever-increasing medical bills. Both were confronted with the “to POA (power of attorney) or otherwise not to POA” question. Both were sued for breach of contract. One stood the chance of avoiding personal liability for costly medical bills. One never managed to get out from the gate.
POA Breach of Contract?
The 1st daughter helped her mother with admission to a skilled nursing facility. Included in the admission process, the daughter signed the Admissions Agreement as being the Responsible Party. Among other things, the Admissions Agreement required the Responsible Party to “personally and independently” guarantee payment but “[he/she actually is] not required to work with [his/her] personal resources to pay for such care.” The Agreement also stated that the daughter would need to use “personal resources if needed to pay for damages on the Facility for breach of contract
of [his/her] personal obligations established with this Agreement.”
To support purchase the facility, a Medicaid application was submitted for the mom. The application form was successful and Medicaid help cover many of the cost. The Facility then required that the mother “remit her Net Available Monthly Income (NAMI) -- i.e., her monthly social security and, or, pension income -- to [the Facility] like a contribution toward her care.”
After spending 2 yrs within the Facility, the mother passed away. Her daughter then found that the Facility was claiming “$43,126.18 due and owing.” Trying to find its money, the Facility launched a lawsuit from the daughter, claiming breach of contract. Depending on evidence, such as the Admissions Agreement, the Facility asked the legal court to determine the situation with no trial in law. This is referred to as “summary judgment.”
The daughter managed to successfully fight-away from the summary judgment attempt. Courts award “summary judgment” when one party shows, “by admissible proof, its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law.” In the event the court awards summary judgment it’s like skipping the trial and going directly to the execution. Game over. The opposing side can defeat summary judgment by proving on the court the situation is simply not as clear as it’s being made along to be; there’s an actual dispute concerning the facts.
In such a case, the dispute regarding the facts focused on the question, “POA or perhaps not to POA?” While reviewing the Admissions Agreement, before you sign, the daughter observed that the Agreement known as her because the “Daughter/POA.” The daughter objected towards the POA (power of attorney) language. She told the Facility she was without a POA executed in her favor. The Facility crossed out “POA” in the Agreement. The daughter told the court how the Facility did not prove that she had legal entry to her mother’s assets and had failed or refused to help make payments. The daughter also gave the court a letter showing she’d considering the Facility ‘a sign in the amount of $22,529.98...the whole number of Social Security received by [her mother]...[except for]...$50.00 every month...for personal expenses.” The legal court was persuaded. Moses Ludington An Elderly Care Facility Inc. v Schreiner, 51 Misc.3d 1223(A) (Sup. Ct. Essex Cnty. 2016).
POA and Signature of Responsible Party
The other daughter faced many of the issues, or similar issues, described abo