If person holding power of attorney adds name to parent’s bank account and parent goes to nursing home, is person liable to pay?


Parent is hospitalized in one state and unable to function clearly. Person with power of attorney lives in another state. Person with power of attorney has not set up bill pay with bank because parent previously was able to write checks. Person is considering placing his name (or a sibling’s) name on bank account in order to gain access to pay bills. If parent needs to go to nursing home, will the nursing home go after the funds in the parent’s account AND the person whose name is on the joint account? Parent previously turned over home deed to siblings (12 years ago), so home shouldn’t be considered part of parent’s assets (I think).


For the purposes of Medicaid, a joint bank account will be considered 100% the applicant’s unless the other joint owner can prove that he contributed funds to the account. The applicant would have to spend the money in the joint account. All the funds of the joint account would be available to pay the nursing home privately. If a transfer were made to or for the benefit of the someone other than the parent from the joint account, it would be a gift and a transfer penalty would be imposed by Medicaid.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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