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I'm afraid it may be too late. To establish or change the provisions of a legal document the principal must have competency. It is possible to draft the required documents yourself but they will still have to be notarized and depending on the notary they may or may not question her competency.

An attorney or notary basically has discretion if there is no medical evidence that mom is not able to handle her own affairs. If such a finding has been made you still might find professionals who will particpate but those who take their obligations to heart will not.

If, because of incompetency it is not possible to re-state/re-draft documents, there are alternatives to meet the families requirements. For instance: Keep in mind that trust provisions only apply to assets that are titled in the name of the trust. If you have a valid POA it is possible to remove funds from the trust and have them deposited in a bank or brokerage account under mom's name with a POA to have authority over the account. You can then name beneficiaries for the account (Payable on Death or Transfer on Death) that may be different than trust beneficiaries. This will avoid probate (as the trust does) and provide for beneficiaries (as the trust does).

Similarly, keep in mind that assets will be governed by an existing will only if they are not devised by some other means. For instance, bank accounts can be titled to name a Payable on Death beneficiary as mentioned above. This will prevent those assets from being devised by probate (and the will). Life insurance policies and annuities also permit direct beneficiaries as do IRA's (if such assets exist make sure the beneficiary is not mom's "estate" or proceeds will revert back to the provisions of the will) .

The key to this is to always be certain you are acting in the best interest of the principal (your mother). If you have siblings or other family members who may be affected by your actions it is equally important that you keep them informed.

With respect to emergency alert systems it is astounding how fast the technology is progressing. Lo Jack as well as others now have not only falling sensors but have units that are GPS enabled in case of elopement (wandering, etc.) as well. Check out some of the DME suppliers on this site.

Also, we feel she needs a medical alert device as she is at significant of falling, but she is adamant about not wearing one. We cannot be with her 24/7, she lives alone, loves to be outside gardening, and is also resistant to having us hire a companion/aide. Does anyone have suggestions for us? Thank you!

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