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My mother may need to go from the phsyc. ward at the hospital to a nursing home. I need to take money out of her savings to pay off bills while she is gone. I am on the account. Can I do that legally?

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As Ralph said, it is very important to start early if Medicaid assistance is needed. There is so much paperwork and documentation needed....find an expert in your area. A senior center or the social worker at a hospital may be able to give you a good referral. I also think that a PoA is a good idea...it covers all her assets and gives you access to information. I created my PoAs on line on a website called "Legacy Writers." It was low cost and you can print out as many as you like. Or you can have a lawyer draw them up.
good luck
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If the above person does NOT have a durable power of attorney, should they still apply for MEDICAID assistance?
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Yes you can. If mom is headed to a nursing home as a phsyc patient she may very well need to qualify for Medicaid sooner than later. Therefore, if you are going to have control over her finances remember this one thing: Any money spent from her funds MUST be spent on HER health, maintenance, and welfare. Do not make any gifts and make sure that all of your expenditures are documented. If mom looks like she will need long-term care look into Medicaid planning as soon as possible to avoid unecessary spend down to provide for funds for items/services that Medicaid does not cover or does not do so adequately.

If she applies for Medicaid your name will have to come off the account. Hopefully she has established a Durable Power of Attorney with you as attorney-in-fact. That was you can remove your name from the account and still have authority over it.
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