An increasing number of guardianship petitions are being filed by nursing homes over their elderly occupants, studies show. According to a review of court data by Hunter College, out of seven hundred guardianship petitions filed in Manhattan for a decade, twelve percent of them were filed by nursing homes, and many of them were done in an attempt to collect debts owed by the nursing home patients.

Although courts may find these practices abusive, nursing homes nonetheless resort to guardianship petitions because it is effective to collect debts as patients fear futile legal battle. Guardianship will transfer the patient’s legal rights to a person appointed by the court, and it is better than suing the patients directly, say lawyers representing nursing homes. However, legal costs associated with the dispute over guardianship petitions could still be ominous to the residents of nursing homes who were being challenged in the court.

See To Collect Debts, Nursing Homes Are Seizing Control Over Patients, Nina Bernstein, New York Times.

Posted by Jin Keol Park, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal