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My father just had heart surgery, he isn’t doing well.
He doesn’t have medical insurance and my concern is that the hospital could take his property.
If I become his power of attorney will I be responsible for his debts?

Not sure what to do in order to protect his property but I also want to protect myself.

I live in CA and my father lives in Texas. Not sure what the law is in Texas.

Thank you,

Aprill

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An attorney-in-fact or agent (those are the terms for the person given authority by a power of attorney) is NOT liable for the costs or debts of his or her principal (the person making the POA) unless he or she otherwise agrees to assume or guaranty them. So as long as you make sure to not sign anything that does obligate you to pay for him, you will personally be fine.
As to his property: there's really nothing you can do now. At this point, if he can't pay for his medical bills, the hospital could sue him (or if he passes, his estate) and could likely get his home or other assets; or if Medicaid pays for his medical costs, Medicaid could get them. You can't move, hide, transfer, etc. assets when you *know* there is a debt coming; such transfers can be set aside as fraudulent of the creditors. "Estate planning" to protect assets from medical costs or other large debts must be done years in advance, before the debts are incurred.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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