Do I have to pay my deceased dad’s nursing home bill? I was POA.

Q: I was my dad’s POA and he passed in June. He had no will. He has a house that is falling down, and I want nothing to do with it. I received a bill for $4,000 from his nursing home. Am I responsible for this? (Cranberry Twp., PA)

A: You are correct, the POA no longer has legal effect. If you didn’t sign the contract for his nursing care, I would not pay it. However, be advised, that PA has adopted filial responsibility which extends liability for nursing home care services provided to indigent persons to certain family members. I do not see nursing homes use this cause of action in my practice however it does exist. I would not pay the bill and let the nursing home explain why you are personally liable. The debts of a deceased persons are the debts of his or her estate. Speak with an attorney about the necessity of opening an estate for your father. It sounds like it may not be advisable.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.