My dad's nursing home wants me to apply for guardianship of him because the power of attorney, a relative of ours, isn't paying dads bills.

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I have the feeling dads money is being spent on things not for him but for the betterment of the power of attorney. what can i do? i want dad to be taken care of, but if all his money has been spent, i can't afford to finance a nursing home and am unable to have him live with me.


3930 helpful answers
Is your dad mentally sound? That would help as he could change the POA himself, but I'm gathering that is not the case. If he isn't mentally sound, you'll need an attorney for this. If his nursing home bills aren't being paid, they may be of some help in getting the POA away from the person who has it and transferring it to you, but no matter how you do it, you'll need an estate attorney.

Dear weary2009

Carol gave some good advice, I think. Can you get an accounting of how the person who is the present POA is spending your father's money? I would think every PENNY should be accounted for. Do you know what bills the nursing home says aren't being paid? Has the nursing home provided proof that the bills haven't been paid?Can the person who has the POA prove the bills have been paid? Does your father have an attorney? If so, be sure that that attorney isn't in cahoots with the POA person and that they BOTH aren't enjoying spending your father's money!!!!(I imagine this happens.) If YOU trust your father's attorney, and know that he/she would have the best interests of your father at heart, this attorney might be one you could go to. A friend of ours whose brother had POA for their mother went through years of trouble with the brother so I hope you have better luck and can get to the bottom of the matter quickly. You have a right to be very concerned about this - it already is affecting you and will affect you more if your dad's money is being misspent and he becomes penniless. All the very best
lcs has provided some good advice. Also beware of the Nursing Home's suggestion. If you do obtain guardianship of your father, then his bills could become your bills depending on the laws of the state where you/he reside. If the POA has not fufilled his/her obligations, then the Nursing home has the legal right to sue him/her--even if all of the available money was actually spent on your father's care and not squandered. The POA has a legal obligation to notify the Nursing Home that the available money has been depleted.Then the Nursing Home could seek Public Assistance to cover your father's bills. If it is a Private Facility they could expell your father or assist you/him in obtaining Assistance from the county Department of Aging or local social service agencies.
Wow! That was a good warning from Ics. We hear of people abusing the system, and hopefully this is not the case. How did this person get POA? It does sound like a legal issue, and you may possibly need help. But, one doesn't necessarily need a lawyer to get Guardianship. However, Guardianship will not solve the financial part of the issue. For that, you'll need to obtain Conservatorship. And that is a difficult way to go. Furthermore, you will NOT be obligated to pay your father's bills, so don't worry there, unless you contracted for his care. A POA doesn't have to report to anyone, I don't believe. POA's are given the power to act "as" the person they are represented, but don't have oversight by anyone. But Guardianship and Conservatorship are court-appointed, and do demand accountability. An attorney who tells you that you have to have one to get it is looking out for his interests, not yours. You can do it alone, by picking up a Petition online, and filing it yourself. I know, because that's what an attorney told me, and I did it all by myself. It's difficult, and I learned a lot of things the hard way, but it is possible. Sometimes necessary. If you need help, I can walk you through. Guardianship is for the PERSON. Conservatorship is for FINANCES. In order to get Guardianship, you need help from a Physician if there is mental incompentency. But in this case, Carol may be right.

If you feel there's deceit going on that needs to be addressed, that is a different story. The Nursing Home cannot MAKE you get Guardianship, any more than MAKE your responsible for his debt. His estate would pay for his debt. They may be bullying you. But, if someone is misusing your father's funds, they are committing fraud, which is a crime. In that case, you need legal assistance. Get the facts, then act.

If the worst case scenario has occurred, and Dad's assets have been depleted, ez is right: a private facility could send him packing. Not all take public assistance. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to take Dad into your home. There are other alternatives, and help for both of you.

Sounds like you have two priorities: to make sure your Dad's needs are cared for, then his finances. Don't panic. Talk to a Social Worker at your Dad's facility, or through some place like the Commission on Aging, who can guide you through the process. There are free legal services available for elders if he cannot afford it. If you do need legal help, find one who will use your father's assets, and not expect you to pay, which could be very expensive. Ask God for wisdom and discernment, because you can't always believe everything you read of hear.
The Administrator should have filed a report with APS. You should call the Ombudsman and have a meeting with the Administrator and the Ombudsman about this problem. Unless you have the resources for an attorney, tell them that they are mandated reporters and want to see a copy of the report filed on the non-payment.

Do not let them intimidate you, nursing homes must comply with strict regulations on this subject - this is not the first time they have run across this problem. Let them know that you expect them to behave less like creditors chasing payment and more like licensed Administrators. Smile and remain calm. It will work out.
3930 helpful answers
Great advice from all of you. Thanks for the input. That's what makes this forum rock!
Thanks for all helpful comments. it is such a long story.. dad has been in nursing facility close to a year. was there to rehab for broken hip. his behavior changed, became incontinent, etc. went to dr. and was being treated for depression, then dementia. one day he is verbal and the next he is withdrawn. fast forward a few months, family dr scheduled a visit to a neurologist for competancy test. before that could happen, i was notified by nursing home, POA didn't pay any of nursing home bills and dad could be evicted. hense the guardianship discussion. then went to neuro. and discovered dad has hydrocephalus since 2004 when an mri was performed. he was doing fine(2004) so no surgery was done. however, now the neuro. said the hydrocephalus may be causing the symptoms mentioned above, but it may be to late to do anything! another mri will be done now. this diagnosis was in his medical file, yet no other medical person apparently saw it, instead was treating him for the depression and dementia. they kept telling me he was cognitively impaired, yet didnt bother to set up mri. this is a nightmare, and i cant believe that my dad's hydrocephalus was not checked into when the above symptoms arose! he is 88 and had some memory problems before entering nursing home, but it has gotten worse. the home hasn't evicted him yet and is trying to arrangs payment with the POA.
Dear weary, so sorry to hear about your Dad's symptoms. It is hard to feel so helpless when our loved ones suffer. It hurts. Know you and your Dad are covered in prayer. Take care.
I know you are tired, but the only way you will protect him is if you hold the nursing home and the POA responsible. "Making arrangements" seems to be putting him at risk. Ask to see the treatment plan, nurse notes and doctor follow-ups. Don't let up on the issue of non-payment, unless there is some special circumstance you weren't aware of - nonpayment is elder abuse.
Its a sad fact that when bills aren't paid, the level of care goes down to maintenance - just enough to keep their licenses.

Talk to the DON - I can empathize how tired you are, and will continue to be for a while. Weary is a good name for it. Take care, but don't give in. If you want to pass the care batton to someone try the Public Guardian.
You can also talk to an Ombudsman, who is an advocate for Nursing Home Care. When there is a problem, these are the people who deal with the facility on the patient's behalf. Keep on nursing, as well.

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