Could You Be Held Financially Responsible for a Loved One’s Nursing Care?

A North Carolina appeals court dismisses a breach of contract lawsuit against a nursing home resident’s daughter even though the daughter signed the admission agreement because the resident was named as representative in the agreement. Wrightsville Health Holdings, LLC v. Buckner (N.C. Ct. App., No. COA16-726, Feb. 21, 2017).
When Sharon Buckner entered a nursing home, her daughter, Melissa, signed the admission agreement on her behalf. The agreement stated that Sharon was the “resident” and the “representative,” but Melissa signed the agreement and initialed the portion stating that the representative agreed to personally guarantee payment in the event the resident’s Medicaid application was denied. The nursing home demanded that Melissa pay Sharon’s unpaid bill.
After Melissa refused to pay, the nursing home sued her for breach of contract. Melissa filed a motion to dismiss, and the trial court granted the motion. The nursing home appealed.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals affirms, holding that Melissa was not liable for breach of contract. The court rules that because Sharon is named as resident and representative under the admission agreement, Melissa’s signature at the bottom of the document “must be read as” Melissa signing on behalf of Sharon and “her signature and initials on the document merely obligated her mother to comply with the terms of the Admission Agreement.”
We see a lot of different nursing home agreements here at the Deliberato Law Center and we can tell you that you need to be careful about what you sign. Before signing documents at a Nursing Home, check with an elder law attorney to make sure that you will not be held financially responsible if your loved one is unable to pay for their care. We can help you with this process! We are here to help protect you and your loved ones. Give us a call today!