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"Am I responsible for my mom’s nursing home bills?"

If you are in Oklahoma, generally you should not be responsible for a parent’s nursing home bills just because you are her child. Federal law prohibits long-term care facilities from requiring the responsible party to be personally liable for the resident’s expenses and bills. However, sometimes children take on this liability, often unwittingly, by signing a long-term care contract that includes language attempting to make the child liable.

Lawyers working in this area often categorize the situation of transitioning to a senior care facility as a “crisis” situation for the family because big decisions, both emotional and expensive, have to be made quickly. Many times, the person moving into the facility does *not* want to move but needs to and the conflict creates a heavy burden on the family. The adult children are worried, stressed, and conflicted, and then they’re given a long, confusing contract for care and urged to be “responsible.” Who doesn’t want to be responsible and feel like they’re taking care of their family? The family often just wants to sign it quickly and speed up the transition.

In any tense situation it’s always best to take a minute to step back and evaluate what is happening. Ask an elder law attorney to look over the contract or just explain any sections that are unclear. It’s one way to ease the burden of the situation and it’s never a bad decision to get some help.

Even if your decision to start a transition to a care facility isn’t imminent, we can help guide you through the upcoming decisions for yourself or a family member. Call our office and we can discuss the options. 918-836-6461

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