Nursing Homes Using Guardianship Rights to Collect Debts

The New York Times recently exposed several startling scenarios in which nursing homes have attempted to gain guardianship rights over residents in an effort to collect payment.  According to research done by Hunter College, the practice of nursing homes filing for guardianship of residents is becoming increasingly common.  In the last ten years, out of 700 guardianship cases brought to court in Manhattan alone, 12% were filed by nursing homes.

Nursing Homes Using Guardianship Rights to Collect Debts

The New York Times recently exposed several startling scenarios in which nursing homes have attempted to gain guardianship rights over residents in an effort to collect payment.  According to research done by Hunter College, the practice of nursing homes filing for guardianship of residents is becoming increasingly common.  In the last ten years, out of 700 guardianship cases brought to court in Manhattan alone, 12% were filed by nursing homes.

If a Guardian is appointed due to the efforts of the nursing home, they are often awarded not only reimbursement of their legal fees out of the incapacitated persons funds but they could also be granted payment of their nursing home bills and obtain other rights over the incapacitated persons finances. It is legal for nursing homes to hire counsel to petition for the appointment of a Guardian and in some cases it may be necessary.  However, the intent of Article 81 of the New York State Mental Hygiene Law has been increasingly abused.  The intent was that guardianship was to be a last resort and only granted for the benefit of the person for whom it is appointed.   Families whose loved ones reside in nursing facilities may be thrust into the vortex of an expensive and lengthy legal battle as a result of the exploitation of the statute.

In a recent heartbreaking case mentioned by the Times last month, an 82 year old man was forced to undergo the anguish of watching his wife of 47 years lapse into dementia while being terrorized by the looming threat of litigation.  Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home had petitioned for guardianship of the woman after her nursing home bills co-payment had doubled to $4,558.54 per month, making it impossible for the couple to keep up with payments.  The woman had appointed her husband as health proxy and power of attorney in the event of incapacity.  However, the nursing home had left a stack of legal papers near her bedside for her husband to find.  It was a petition brought by the nursing home to have a guardian appoited over his wife despite the validly executed power of attorney.

If your relative is in a nursing home that has petitioned for guardianship, or you are just in the process of planning for their long term care, find out how to protect your loved one and contact experienced elder law attorney, Tanya Hobson-Williams. The attorneys at Tanya Hobson-Williams are available to set up a consultation at 866-825-1529.

 

Written by Tanya Hobson-Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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Author: Tanya Hobson-Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John's University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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