Sam, Mary’s son and agent under her power of attorney, didn’t bother to seek legal advice after Mary entered a nursing home.  “She only has $60,000. There’s nothing we can do”, he told his sisters. Six months later, with her funds exhausted, Mary sought Medicaid to pay for her care. To Sam’s shock and dismay, the application was denied. Unbeknownst to her children, Mary had, over time, gifted $50,000 to an alcoholic nephew. Consequently, her Medicaid eligibility was delayed for five months. Since Mary could not pay, the nursing home sued Sam and his sisters. Adult children are legally responsible for a parent’s unpaid nursing home bill. Had Sam consulted with an elder law attorney, steps could have been taken to ensure Mary’s eligibility for Medicaid when her funds ran out.

When it comes to caring for our aging loved ones, ignorance is NOT bliss, as Sam and his sisters painfully learned. Even if a loved one is already in a nursing home, legal measures are available to protect your family. It’s not too late. Consult with an experienced elder law attorney.