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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33730
Experience:  15 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I signed as guarantor when I admitted my dad into an

Customer Question

I signed as guarantor when I admitted my dad into an assisted living center in 2009 after he suffered a severe stroke and was unable to communicate. When he entered he was on Medicaid. He moved from Medicaid to private pay after receiving an inheritance from his uncle. When this money ran out, he went back on Medicaid. The facility was paid via automatic withdrawal from his bank account since 2009.
My dad passed away last spring and the assisted living center sent me a bill for over $6,000 for an unpaid month and a half from over a year earlier. When I went back and reviewed his statements for the months in question, sure enough, there wasn't a withdrawal for this time.
It's apparent that they didn't receive their money; however, as guarantor, it seems like I'm responsible in the event my dad failed to pay, not for debts the home failed to bill. If I had known earlier, the bills would have been paid as they all had been since 2009.
I became Power of Attorney for my dad after he was already in the home and responded that I was acting as Power of Attorney for my dad. The response from the home was that the Power of Attorney and guarantor roles are two different things, which I concede. They offered to reduce the amount to $5,000 if I paid by the end of October. (There is no way I can pay this amount by then and I still feel a little duped by how this was passed on to me.)
I'm looking for the best way to respond to the home. I feel that they've missed a step in utilizing me as guarantor after not billing or withdrawing money in the first place. There was no stop to the automatic withdrawals or anything that would have withheld payment, only a bookkeeping oversight on their part... now they're asking me to right their error.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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Can you tell me what state this is in?

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Are you asking if you can be held liable for the debt now?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm in Idaho. Yes, am I liable and what are my options for a response? I didn't have the opportunity to pay the bill on my dad's behalf. They didn't find the error that they hadn't made the withdtawal until he passed and, I presume, then looked over his account. This would have been easily remedied through his account had they reached out to me anytime in the year preceding his death. Now it falls on me when they never attempted to collect from him.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, then the statute of limitations on a contract action is 5 years, so legally they could still come after you for the full amount under a breach of contract claim.

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Unfortunately their mistake in not debiting the account would not serve to waive their right to seek payment for the services that were provided during that time period as long as they do so within 5 years of providing them.

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So from a legal perspective, if you can get them to settle the debt for less than what is owed, then that is about your best option here because legally they could sue you as the guarantor for the full debt if you refused to pay.

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If you could get enough money together to make them a lump sum offer, that might encourage them to settle the debt rather than have to hire an attorney, pay him a few thousand, and pursue this in court.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, I wrongly assumed they had to attempt and fail to collect the amount owed rather than skipping that step and going straight to the guarantor. Thanks
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Technically both the guarantor and the primary recipient of the services are both exactly equally liable for the debt. If there was an estate opened, they should submit a "creditor claim" to the executor of the estate for payment out of father's estate. But if there are no assets, or no estate has been opened, or both, they can come directly to you for payment.

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I am sorry that the news isn't better.

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thanks

Barrister