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Friday, October 22, 2010

Seniors don't have to sign over assets to the facility

This afternoon a client asked me to confirm or deny the latest bit of information making the rounds of seniors. Apparently some are being told that before they will be able to live in a long-term care facility, they will be required to sign over all of their assets to the facility. I was happy to be able to dispel this particular piece of misinformation.

Long-term care facilities will ask a senior who wants to reside there to sign a Personal Directive (also known as Advance Directive or Health Care Proxy) before moving in, if the senior has the capacity to sign legal documents. However, doing so would in no way sign the senior's assets over to the facility or to anyone else. A Personal Directive names someone to make medical, health-care and personal decisions for a senior who can no longer make those decisions alone. It has nothing to do with money.

A long-term care facility might have the senior sign a document that allows the facility to make automatic monthly withdrawals to pay the cost of the senior's care. That's a streamlining of an administrative process that makes sense for everyone involved. However, even this doesn't give the facility any other access to the senior's finances.

A senior would be required to review his or her assets and income with a government intake worker if the senior wanted to request a subsidy for housing, but not to hand over those assets.

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