atv350x Asked July 2011

How do I get power of attorney form my mom who is suffering from dementia?

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igloo572 Jul 2011
To ywind, this forum seems to be divided on whether you are best served by having an attorney draw up the paperwork OR doing it yourself thru ordering forms from site such as LegalZoom. Whatever the case you MUST make sure that the documents reflect the legal language specific to the state that elder is a legal resident of. If they own property or have assets in another state, you should have another set that reflects that state's language too.

Whatever the case, IMHO you need to get:
- Durable Power of Attorney (a Financial Power of Attorney)
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Living Will &/or Advance Directives - the AD forms hospitals have
- Declaration of Guardian in Event of Incapacity
- HIPAA Waiver - doctors offices and hospitals have this form
Also if they don't have a will, or need to to a codicil to the will to update any changes, then get that done too.

I'm a firm believer in having an elder care attorney take care of all this. It will not be expensive as most of this is done by the paralegals. You do want to go in prepared with what the information is for the documents (e.g. the residence located at 123 ABC street, aka parcel #5678; Ann Smith, wife of John Smith, with the info on all the births) as well as valid ID for the elder. If you have the stuff together & it is all simple, straightforward paperwork, it should take 1 hr for the intake and then 1 hr a couple of days later for the signatures to be done and run about 300-500.
If you think there is ANY PROBABILITY of family challenging for control of mom's life, money, assets while she is alive OR her estate when she dies, then you really should have an attorney do it.

If mom has assets, then all this should be paid from her assets. This also is important if you get challenged. If you pay for all, and you benefit, then it could be viewed as a coerced document. I've been executrix a couple of times and from those experiences know that it can get pretty ugly if the legal documents are not done correctly. Good Luck.
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ywind333 Jul 2011
where can i get the forms for medical and financial guardianship?
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vstefans Jul 2011
My mom had to sign some things like resigning a trust and updating the signature on an outdated POA for me and they even had a traveling notary who came in to the assisted living facility for us to get that take care of. At the time, she was having a lot of cognitive issues but could converse and understand enough it was not a problem, I never did have to get guardianship or have her dclared incompetent, for which I was very grateful.
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vstefans Jul 2011
Jeanie Gibbs is absolutely correct - especially if early stge or MCI, and if no one is likely to contest the validity, a notarized signature on correctly drawn up POA documents could still be OK. You need one for finances and one for health care proxy/HIPAA purposes.
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jeannegibbs Jul 2011
Dementia comes in lots of different strengths and disability levels. If your loved one is still legally competent to make decisions, she can simply sign the forms appointing you to that role.
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vstefans Jul 2011
Techinically, you can't and shouldn't; as power of attorney is granted by someone who is of sound mind rather than someone who lacks capacity. Mild cognitive impairment might not preclude it though. You may have to get guardianship instead. That;s harder, but not impossible especially if it isn't going to be contested by anyone. Sorry you are in this spot! I take it you are sure there isn't a will or other papers lying around the house somewhere for this? More specific informaiton might help.
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