I don't have POA - can I still pay some of Dad's bills from my own account?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 21, 2016
Mijujoel asked...

My father is in the hospital for heart surgery and has some bills due now. Is it okay to pay some of them - let's say a few insurance policies and one month of mortgage payments to help out until he's better? These would be paid from my account since I don't have power of attorney. These are not joint accounts. The intent is just to help out for this month until we can work on long-term financial issues.

Expert Answers

I think it would probably be fine for you to pay your dad's bills with your own money while he's in the hospital. I'd like to say that I'm certain that it wold be fine"”because morally that's true"”but we lawyers are trained to be cautious. So... what could possibly go wrong?

  • Your father could refuse to reimburse you after he recovers. This seems extremely unlikely. Clearly, you did him a favor, and your intent was to help. Surely, your father would understand that.

  • Some other family member could get upset. Again, why would they? Assuming that your father reimburses you, that's only money he would, or should, have spent directly for his bills.No family member has been financially damaged by you paying your father's bills. Also,it's none of their business if your father reimburses you.

  • Your father could not make it through. Then you'd need to file a claim against his estate"”unless all involved agreed that you should be reimbursed. While you might face some hassle under this scenario, they shouldn't be major.

You are doing the right thing. Let's hope that your good heart and good karma mean that you will be promptly reimbursed.

Once your father recovers,you should have him sign a durable power of attorney for finances appointing you to act for him financially when he can't. No reason to risk encountering this problem again.