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Can I Be Held Responsible for my Father's Nursing Home Bills in the State of Wisconsin?

Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers a reader question about whether the questioner will be held responsible for his father's medical bills and nursing home bills when the reader is serving as Agent for his father under a Durable Financial Power of Attorney document.

Transcript of Video: Can I Be Held Responsible for My Father’s Nursing Home Bills in the State of Wisconsin?

Today's question has to do with power of

attorney and an agent acting under a power

of attorney for finances the reader

writes if I am power of attorney for

financial reasons for my father and my

name is on his bank account am I

responsible for any debts he incurs and

it goes on to say father is moving into

assisted living he is no longer

responsible for his finances so I think

what the reader is saying is he's acting

under a durable power of attorney as the

agent for his father what that means is

he is named legally to take care of

paying bills for his father writing

checks paying the light bill etc and

he's wondering if he would be

responsible for debts for his father the

good news is as the agent for your

father you're not responsible for his

debts but you are responsible to manage

his assets under the duty of loyalty and

to act in accordance with his wishes as

laid out in the power of attorney document in

addition if you're on the bank account

then these funds are your father's but

it's presumably that it seems he's given

you access to the account you should

still act under the duty of good faith

and use these funds for your father's

care the one good thing about death is

that generally your debts die with you

so any debts your father incurred are not

your personal responsibility as his

agent and you should not pay them from

your own funds they would become if your

father passes they would become debts of

his estate and his estate would be

responsible for paying those debts

after death that means any assets he

owns at death would then be available to

the creditors during the probate process

there's a process where you publish a

notice to creditors of the person's

death if he dies owing more than he owns

then there is an order of priorities

under state law for which creditors

get paid first so the short takeaway is

you are not responsible for your

father's debts unless you co-signed on

some loan for him I don't recommend

doing this in most instances because as

I stated earlier the debts of your father

would die with him

I also don't recommend using your own

funds to pay for his debt because then

they become your liability whereas with

him they could possibly die with him at

that or get paid from the assets of his

estate so do your best to act under the

duty of loyalty faithfully for your father

under the financial power of attorney

thank you for caring for him but do not

worry about being liable for his debts

after death great question and thanks

for asking!

© 2019 Law Office of Thomas B. Burton. All Rights Reserved.

Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired.

For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact my office.

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