POA Breach - Power of Attorney Law

POA (power of attorney) breach

To POA (power of attorney) or otherwise not to POA, is that the question? As the parents age, you may need to secure their health and well-being. This might mean arranging in-home or out-of-residence medical care or assisted living. Private health insurance or Medicaid may cover some or the many expense. Your parents’ savings and investments also can play a part. But what occurs once your parents’ dollars don’t stretch far enough. Does that create (legally) around the hook?

Below, we’ll glance at the stories of two different women. Each was actually a loving daughter, anxiously caring for the interests of these parent. Both were fortunate to have parents who had assets that may cover the space between insurance and ever-increasing medical bills. Both were confronted with all the “to POA (power of attorney) or 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 from the gate.

POA Breach of Contract?

The primary daughter helped her mother with admission to a skilled nursing facility. As part of the admission process, the daughter signed the Admissions Agreement because the Responsible Party. Amongst other things, the Admissions Agreement required the Responsible Party to “personally and independently” guarantee payment but “[he/she is] not essential to utilize [his/her] personal resources to pay for such care.” The Agreement also claimed that the daughter would need to use “personal resources if possible to spend damages into the Facility for breach of contract of [his/her] personal obligations set forth with this Agreement.”

To support cover the facility, a Medicaid application was submitted on behalf of the mother. The applying was successful and Medicaid help cover some 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] being a contribution toward her care.”

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After spending two years on the Facility, the mother passed away. Her daughter then discovered that the Facility was claiming “$43,126.18 due and owing.” In search of its money, the Facility launched a lawsuit with the daughter, claiming breach of contract. Depending on evidence, like the Admissions Agreement, the Facility asked the court to choose the truth with out a trial as a matter of law. This is known as “summary judgment.”

The daughter managed to successfully fight-off of the summary judgment attempt. Courts award “summary judgment” when one party shows, “by admissible proof, its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law.” When the court awards summary judgment it’s like skipping the trial and going instantly to the execution. Game over. The opposing side can defeat summary judgment by proving into the court that the situation is just not as clear as it’s being made along to be; there’s an authentic dispute about the facts.

In this instance, the dispute concerning the facts centered on the question, “POA or perhaps not to POA?” While reviewing the Admissions Agreement, before you sign, the daughter seen that the Agreement known as her as the “Daughter/POA.” The daughter objected to the POA (power of attorney) language. She told the Facility she did not have a POA executed in her own favor. The Facility crossed out “POA” through the Agreement. The daughter told the legal court that the Facility did not prove she had legal admission to her mother’s assets and had failed or refused to help make payments. The daughter also gave a legal court a letter showing she’d because of the Facility ‘a sign in the quantity of $22,529.98...the whole amount of Social Security received by [her mother]...[with the exception of]...$50.00 per month...for personal expenses.” The 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 next daughter faced a lot of the issues, or similar issues, described above. Her father, after suffering an
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