It seems that almost every day we are confronted with the need to sign some sort of agreement or click through some sort of acceptance process. Each time you download an app you have to tap or click an icon that agrees to something. Using an airline or cruise boarding pass is often also a type of contract. We just cannot get away from them because they have become a part of everyday life. But, that doesn’t mean we should blindly sign agreements, especially long-term care agreements.
Why You Need to Be Careful Signing Agreements
Often we hear from a client or their family members about signing entrance agreements for long-term care facilities after they’ve already signed the document. The typical story we hear is that an employee took some information, printed out a set of documents, marked them up a little, and highlighted where the person should sign. The person asked a few general questions and then signed without reading even one line.
Little did that person know that the employee probably had no idea what was being signed. In fact, that employee learned from the supervisor what to mark up and where the signatures had to be. When we’ve questioned some of those employees they’ve said things like, “It’s all boilerplate, and doesn’t really matter,” or “It just goes in a file somewhere.” We’ve even heard employees say, “Nobody reads that stuff.”
Your Loved Ones Can Be Legally Liable
Not long ago in Connecticut, a daughter signed her mother’s residency agreement for an assisted living facility. The agreement stated that both mother and daughter agreed to be held liable for the mother’s bill. When the mother stopped paying, the facility went after the daughter. The appeals court ruled that the assisted living residency agreement was enforceable and that the daughter had to pay. The court noted that the contract plainly stated the personal liability.
Personal liability is only one of several areas of concern with facility agreements, and we have handled cases where family members unknowingly signed these types of agreements. While we understand these agreements are often a necessary part of the entrance process, we also know that certain conditions, such as the one above, can usually be negotiated or avoided.
Let Us Review Before You Sign Any Agreements
If you are not confident in your ability to read and decipher these contracts, we encourage you to have them reviewed by an elder law attorney before signing. And, if you have signed them unknowingly, get help right away, before a conflict arises.
To request a free case consultation with a lawyer to discuss your concerns, please give us a call today at (727) 240-2350.