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« DISTRIBUTIONS FROM SELF-SETTLED SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST RELATING TO MEDICAL EXPENSES by Thomas D. Begley, Jr., Esquire | Main | Powers of Attorney and Fiduciary Duty »

April 26, 2009


Ross Hart

Diligence is critical with nursing home contracts. I tell my clients NEVER to sign them until I've reviewed them. In cases I serve as guardian, I NEVER sign as "responsible party" but sign as the resident, by me, as whatever hat I'm wearing (guardian, conservator, POA, etc.). I then add a disclaimer to the face of the NH contract that I'm signing as agent and expressly disclaim personal responsibility and, finally, send the contract back with a cover letter confirming my agent status, disclaiming personal responsibility, and providing a required billing format.

Billing format is Resident name, "Care Of" me (or agent) and bills addressed to me, personally, are returned with a form letter stating that it won't get paid until it is correctly billed. Virginia has a statute that states that a guardian/conservator can be personally responsible unless they make it clear they're an agent. I'm compulsive about making it that clear.

Final thing I always change in NH contracts is to delete the arbitration clause, which also waives jury. If asked, I explain that as court appointed guardian, I don't have the authority to waive the resident's right to a jury (that issue is worthy of its own discussion)

Nursing homes in my area are used to my "rossiferous" approach but, at the same time, I work with them in resident care without being intrusive unless really needed.

-- ross hart

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