There was a recent court ruling in Connecticut that is of interest to people in the elder law community, and it sheds some light on the risks that you take when you enter into legally binding contracts.
The case we are referring to is Cook Willow Health Center v. Judy Andrien. Ms. Andrien is the daughter of a woman who was in need of long-term care. She arranged for her mother to be admitted into the Cook Willow Health Center, which is a nursing home.
At the time of admittance Andrien entered into an agreement that was at the core of this legal dispute. In the documents Andrien agreed to take certain steps to gain eligibility for Medicaid on her mother’s behalf and otherwise arrange for nursing home expenses to be paid out of her mother’s own personal resources if necessary.
Ultimately there was an outstanding balance, and the nursing home contended that Andrien did not satisfy her responsibilities to arrange for payment as agreed upon in the contract.
The counterargument involved the contention that a law exists that prevents nursing homes from requiring a third-party payment guarantee before admitting the patient.
The court found in favor of the nursing home. It determined that the agreement was entered into voluntarily. In other words, the verbiage of the document did not state that Andrien’s mother would be denied admittance if the agreement was not executed.
We have no way of knowing if an attorney was involved before the signing of the contract by Ms. Andrien. However, without question it is certainly a good idea to have a good Oklahoma City elder law attorney explain such a contract to you before you sign on the dotted line.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
Parman & Easterday are members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.