How do you talk to an ill, elderly parent about appointing a power of attorney for medical and financial matters?

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My mother lives with me and my husband. She has diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure and renal failure. Her health is deteriorating and though she hasn't been tested, I think she is entering the beginning stages of alzheimers. My sister also lives with us and she has cerebral palsey. My mom was sole caretaker of my sister until her health starting failing and I had them both come live with me. My mom gets a social security check and a disability check on my sisters behalf. I don't know how long she will be able to continue handling these matters and she will not part with any finances she has control over. One goog thing is she does not own a home or any property. My problem is if I have to take over these things especially on my sister's behalf it will be hell and high water getting through the red tape. Can anyone advise me on where to start, particularly on speaking with her about the power of attorney.

Answers 1 to 5 of 5
Have you and your husband made plans for yourselves for the eventual deaths and costs associated with it? I was thinking that if you haven't, then maybe as a family you and your husband could talk about it between yourselves and include her in the discussion. Maybe by talking matter of factually about preparing for dying/funeral/POA etc., that that might take the scary dreading part out. And if you and your hubby have already been down this road, then talk to mom and tell her of your plans, and ask her what she thinks would be wisest for her position. Strike now while she still has her wits about her. When/if she says 'yes' to the POA thing, then get yourself to her bank with her in tow and sign the papers. Or hire a lawyer to do whatever.
I have been trying to get my Mom to make me the alternate on her POAs and accounts for four years. No luck yet. She reluctantly put my brother on everything but left me off everything. Things will work fine as long as brother is able to fulfill his duties. The problem will be if brother dies and Mom is incompetent. Then my only option is to get guardianship. Not a good thing, money involved, time, court, just not great.

Mom has every excuse known to man to avoid doing the things she needs to do. Doesn't care what it costs me. So if you can figure out a good way to get through to a hard headed, narcissistic old lady, let me know. I am batting "0" at this point.
Hi, I know it is hard but I just brought it up to my Mother and told her I had an appointment and she said okay. I was shocked because some of the simpler things are tough, when she does not remember and she wants to argue over simply things and I feel so bad I thought this was going to be huge and it went very smoothly. So good luck and I hope you have the same result I did.
I think 2 of the hardest things for an elder to let go of are driving and their finances. I was fortunate to have a sensible father who had everything in place long before needed....he even had his and mom's funerals planned and paid for years before he passed.
If your mother has signs of dementia you need to act fast. Maybe setting up an appt. with legal council would work...hearing the hard facts from an "outsider" may do the trick. You have a lot on your plate with both your mom and your sister and having things in place would at least give you some peace of mind so good luck.
I would approach it with your mom as something that is needed to really take care of her daughter with CP - I think that will be less fearful for her.

Your mom can set up a "Special Needs Trust" for your sister. An attorney really needs to do this so that if your mom needs to go into a NH and apply for Medicaid to do so then the trust has to be written according to how your state reviews the Medicaid application, so that the $ put into the trust has no transfer penalty. There really is no short cut to doing this right. I'd look for a certified in elder law attorney.

Special Needs Trusts are sticky in that if your CP sister is getting SSDI or Medicaid & her income increases due to the trust she could be ineligible for some services. They really need to be done right by an attorney who knows SNT.

I know it can seem daunting. Sometimes overwhelming. My mom's NH Medicaid application with the supporting documentation was over 100 pages - mainly because of all the pages of her funeral, burial & term life policy. I am pretty OCD when it comes to paperwork, and we still had glitches in her application both from the NH side (late submission of paperwork and incomplete documentation on the medical necessity part) and the state Medicaid review that required sending documents more than once……. If you have your mom's & sis records together, you can probably do an asset evaluation in a long weekend to see where they stand and then see the attorney. If you are facing a short time frame (like imminent NH admission) then alot of this you will just have to take time off to walk it all through. Another suggestion is to do 2 binders on this with copies of everything original in each - 1 binder you always can put your hands on in a minute and the other give to a good friend or family member for safekeeping. Good luck & keep a sense of humor (you’ll need it).

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