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If a POA sells property without consent, what happens when Medicaid tries to recoup the assisted living expense?

  1. Molly Dworken 10/16/2012 05:33PM

    Many times, Medicaid places a lien on a senior citizen's home for reimbursement (after the person's death) of what it spends on the resident during his or her time in assisted living. If a power of attorney (POA) does sell the home without (or even with) consent, then the lien protects the money Medicaid has spent to that point. If Medicaid doesn't have a lien on the home, then the problem still rests with the POA and not the assisted living resident. Medicaid could sue the POA for reimbursement.

    At the same time, theoretically, a POA does not have the authority to sell a home without consent. The POA could argue he or she has the right to sell the property because the assisted living resident cannot make his or her own decisions. This is where the local ombudsman should be brought into play. This county-appointed employee acts on behalf of protecting the rights of the elderly. If the principal still has other family alive and involved, then those people may want to consult an attorney to further protect the principal's rights and possibly revoke the POA.

    Even if the POA sells the home without consent of the principal, then the POA doesn't have a legal right to the proceeds from the sale. The money still goes back to the principal rather than the POA because sale of the principal's property only can benefit that person.