Son of Nursing Home Resident Was Responsible for Unpaid Bills Where Admission Contracts Were Not in Conflict as to His Financial Responsibility (Ohio App.)

Andover admitted Bowker, Cole’s mother, as a patient in its nursing home. Cole possessed power of attorney over his mother and signed a contract entitled Nursing Home Admission Agreement (“Admission Agreement”) and another document entitled Voluntary Assumption of Personal Responsibility (“Personal Responsibility Contract”). The Agreement stated that when Resident’s Responsible Person signed the Agreement on behalf of Resident, Resident’s Responsible Person was responsible for payment to the extent Resident’s Responsible Person had access and control of Resident’s income and/or resources. By signing this Agreement, Resident’s Responsible Person did not incur personal financial liability. Cole’s mother was defined as the Resident and Cole was defined as the Resident’s Responsible Person. Cole signed the Financial Responsibility Contract, which stated that he voluntarily assumed personal financial responsibility for the care of Resident. After Bowker died, Andover sent Cole a bill for unpaid expenses. Andover sued and the court found him liable for the expenses.

On appeal, the decision was affirmed. The appellate court rejected Cole’s argument that the trial court erred in its determination that defendant-appellant was personally liable to plaintiff based solely on the document entitled Personal Responsibility Contract. It found that the Admission Agreement and the Financial Responsibility Contract were not the same contract. There was no conflict between the contracts. The Admission Agreement obligated Cole to use his position as power of attorney over his mother’s funds to pay Andover, and the Financial Responsibility Contract acted as a surety that extended personal financial liability to him.

Andover Village Retirement Community v. Cole, 2014 WL 5802674 (November 10, 2014)

This is why you need to speak to David Wingate, an elder law attorney, so you do not become responsible for your parent’s nursing home costs.

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