How to get a power of attorney to place my mother at a facility?

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My mother is 98 yrs old and has advanced dementia. I have been caring for her over 5 years and now she needs to be placed at a facility. I already found a very nice place for her, but, they need a power of attorney or a conservatorship. Where do I obtain one?

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A lot depends on the individual's finances and family. I have many friends who because of family members and/or numerous financial situations needed to consult an elder law attorney to draw up a POA & Durable POA - to make sure it covered every aspect. You mentioned that mom is with advanced dementia, so drawing up either of these may be a problem right now - the reason - a POA & a DPOA must be signed by the individual in front of a notary/attorney who MUST make sure that the person involved/signing is FULLY competent when they sign it. The person needs to be aware and fully understand what they are signing. If mom is able to understand what she is signing at this point, I would also make sure you also get a Durable Power of Attorney signed by her. . A durable power of attorney is signed by the person when they are competent, but kicks in when the person becomes incompetent as opposed to the POA which is used by the agent (appointed person to be POA-which may be you in this case) while the person is competent - it allows the agent to make financial decisions based on needs (some people own real estate, businesses, stocks,) and the form could include medical decisions, depending on how it is drawn up. The agent appointed would be able to sell property, spend money, go into contact, etc. on behalf of the person. If mom is competent now I would also have her sign a "health care surrogate" (designating someone to make health care decisions); "HIPPA (allowing you access to her medical information); a living will (mom would state her decisions as to prolonging life); and a "DNR" (do not resuscitate if that is her wishes). Since I am an only child (thus no complaints from other family members) and mom already had my name on her house deed and bank accounts and had no other financial situations, I actually drew up a POA and DPOA for her by taking different forms online and combining them to make it pertinent to her situation. She signed them in front of witnesses and a notary who made sure mom understood & was competent in what she was signing. The notary said I must have had an excellent attorney (LOL) draw it up because I made mom & the notary initial every page and numbered the pages 1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc. something they said is usually not done but I always play the safe course. I also had the other forms signed by her. You can get many of these other forms from your local Council on Aging and many times the rehab/nursing home/assisted living has these forms or they can be downloaded. Just make sure they are pertinent for the particular State you live in. I was glad all these forms were in order years ago. When mom fell and broke her hip and spent 5 months between the hospital, rehab, assisted living, I was able to go into contract with the assisted living in her behalf (POA); I was able to speak to doctors and obtain written health reports (HIPPA & Health care surrogate forms). She was rushed to ER in a semi-coma and after tests (some needed a signature and thats when the health care surrogate form kicked in again) it was determined she developed a hole in her colon, poisons had already attacked her vital organs and a decision on major surgery was needed. She was in a semi-coma and sedated at that point and could not make a decision. This is when a DPOA would kick in. After speaking to the surgeon and other drs., I decided for her not to have surgery but to just make her comfortable and let God take over. Honestly, it was an easy decision to do because SHE had signed a living will stating she did not want any heroic efforts, SHE signed a DNR, so in reality SHE made the decision when she was competent and I was just carrying out her wishes. Believe me, as the drs. stated then, having those forms in place and seeing the loved ones signature on those forms and knowing the loved ones wishes makes it easier to make that final decision. So please make sure you have ALL these documents in place asap. Also when I signed any documents as POA for mom (contract, etc.) I signed "my (fill in) name as POA for (fill in) moms name". I heard at legal seminars I attended that I should never just sign my name as that could make me liable for her debts. My signature as POA for (her name) would change the legality of that and keep me clear. Hope some of this helps. Good luck!
My mother-in-law lives in a condo with many elderly widows. A few young former male employees prey on their loneliness and tell them how attracted they are to them. Mom has been giving him money because he lost his job. She has been showing signs of dementia. What can we do to protect her.? We would like to retire and move away but are afraid he will take this opportunity to get more money from her and make her feel we are abandoning her .
I have a hard time believing that they NEED a power of attorney or a conservatorship. What would they do if she had no living relatives? Would they need her to be declared a ward of the state? How would that happen? I think what they NEED is assurance that they will be paid. What is the financial situation here? Will mother be private pay or Medicaid? Is she on Medicaid now or will that have to be applied for?

I think that you and the facility director really want the same thing: For Mother to be able to live in this nice facility. Sit down with the director and brainstorm how you can work together to make that happen.

The easiest would be if Mother had granted you (or someone) POA while she was legally competent to make such decisons. If she has advanced dementia that probably isn't going to happen now. (Does she have any lucid periods when she would understand the concept of appointing you to make decisons for her? Dementia itself doesn't rule out the possibility, but as elaine826 explains, only she can appoint a POA and there must be evidence that she understands what she is doing.

If the easiest route, POA, is ruled out, I think any other option will involve going through the court system. Work with the facility person, and then consult a lawyer.

I guess some key questions here are
1) Is there any possibility Mother has periods where she would comprehend what signed POA documents would mean?
2) How is the facility going to be paid?

Good luck!

I may be wrong but I believe a durable power of attorney means it stays in effect when the principal becomes incompetent. It is also active upon notarizing. A springing power of attorney is only active when a person is determined incompetent. This involves a doctor or two, or judge determining that the parent is incompetent. This can take some time unless there is an emergency. And I have read also that nursing homes do expect someone with the authority of the power of attorney to be able to place a parent in a nursing home. Therefore, this is why all elderly parents needs a power of attorney that is usable upon notarization and an alternate power of attorney in case the agent can not do their duty.

Just think about it. If you mother gives you power of attorney on Monday and she has a stroke on Tuesday, a durable power of attorney would be in effect. With a springing poa, your mother has to be deemed incompetent. Not as easy to use. With no power of attorney you may have to seek guardianship if the parent is not competent to sign one.

I agree with JeanneGibbs, I don't know why the nursing facility would need a DPOA. They just need to know your mom's financial condition so they can determine how they'll be paid and if she will have sufficient funds to continue to pay the bill (assuming that this is private pay). I don't know how someone with advanced dementia can legitimately designate a DPOA. It would probably have to be done by a judge. But, again, I don't know why it would be necessary if you (or someone) has the authority to pay your mom's bill. I see why they want one, but not why they need one. If it's for authority to direct her care in the event of an emergency, you're her next of kin. A DPOA is preferred, but in the absence of one, your mom's next of kin call the shots.
Regarding a "springing" and "durable" POA - a springing POA can also be used when the person becomes incompetent as well as other situations. "Springing" means that it ONLY goes into effect upon the occurrance of an event; it delays taking effect from the time it is signed, and goes into (springing) effect upon a specified condition. That condition could be incompetency, during an illness (remember the person could be sick and recover and no longer want someone as their POA) , or if the person leaves the county, etc. The agent can handle bills and manage financial dealings as stated in the document only during the specified times. When the person recovers or returns to the country, an agent is no longer needed and then the "springing" POA is no longer valid until the next occurrance. . In comparison, when a POA is signed it becomes valid at that moment with no conditions. Assisted living, rehabs and nursing homes want a POA because they need someone to sign the contract for the individual. There are rules and regulations at these facilities and basically the facility needs someone to take responsibility; thus a POA if the person involved cannot sign. My mom could have signed herself for the assisted living and the rehab; however, I made the arrangements with these facilities while she was in the hospital. It was a matter of convenience for me to sign it then. Hope this helps.

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