This NY Times article highlights a potentially-abusive way that nursing homes can force families into court to pay even disputed bills. Families with solid legal documents and financial resources could be at risk of this heavy-handed practice. Unlike "filial responsibility" laws in 29 states that allow a creditor to go after other family members to pay a senior's bills, using guardianship as a financial tool seeks to take over the disabled individual's own financial resources.
"... one day last summer, after [her husband] disputed nursing home bills that had suddenly doubled Mrs. Palermo’s copays, and complained about inexperienced employees who dropped his wife on the floor, Mr. Palermo was shocked to find a six-page legal document waiting on her bed.
"It was a guardianship petition filed by the nursing home, Mary Manning Walsh, asking the court to give a stranger full legal power over Mrs. Palermo, now 90, and complete control of her money.
"Few people are aware that a nursing home can take such a step."
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE:
"To Collect Debts, Nursing Homes Are Seizing Control Over Patients", NY Times, 1-25-2015
A well designed and funded long-term care plan is a crucial part of every retirement plan.
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