Don’t Sign An Admission Agreement For Your Parent Until You Read This!
Think twice before you sign an admission agreement to a residential community (i.e. nursing home, assisted living facility) on behalf of your parent, spouse, or friend. There can be language in the agreement that may not be in the resident’s best interests or might result in waiving certain legal rights. It is recommended to have the admission agreement reviewed by an experienced elder law attorney before it is signed. It may be necessary to request that aspects of the admission agreement be removed or revised.
It is important for the agreement to identify the cost of care and the additional cost of any additional services if the resident requires more care.
Many times agreements will have the words ‘responsible party’ below the line where they ask you to sign. ‘Responsible party’ means that you could be held financially responsible for the cost of care. If you are acting for someone using a Durable Power of Attorney, I suggest you cross out the words ‘responsible party’ and, after your name, add: POA to indicate you are signing in your fiduciary capacity (not individually). Provide a copy of the signed Durable Power of Attorney to the admission staff at the community.
It is also not unusual for admission agreements to ask the resident to agree to use arbitration as the exclusive way of resolving any disputes that arise between the resident and the community. I do not recommend agreeing to this provision as you will then be unable to use mediation or file a lawsuit in Court, as arbitration is binding. You can cross out the provision and initial it to indicate you are not agreeing to arbitration.
Take the time to have the agreement reviewed by an elder law attorney before your loved one moves into the residential community so you can receive qualified legal advice to protect your loved one’s rights.