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My parents have both been diagnosed with Dementia. My mom is so bad that she was not allowed to sign legal documents a month ago. I don't see how she can be a POA agent for my Dad at this point, but I don't know how to get that changed. My Dad is not far behind her in his mental decline. He holds POA for her. My brother lives in the same city and has tried to do whatever they will allow to help them. He is feeling overwhelmed and worried. He does not have the resources to hire an attorney and force them to assign POA or guardianship to him or someone other than eachother.

If she wasn't allowed to sign legal documents, then her POA is pretty much null and void. The POA is what gives us the legal ability to sign those documents and manage financial and/or medical issues. You can't "change" that POA, but if dad is deemed competent "enough", he can assign POA over him to one of you. That is up to the attorney doing the paperwork. Once a new POA is assigned, it should override the previous one.

When mom started down the dementia path, we had to make some changes (set up a trust, etc, POAs had been done previously, so although dad was POA #1, he was deceased, so our secondary POA appointments would take effect.) The attorney took her aside and queried her. When he was satisfied that she understood enough to proceed, we got the paperwork done.
As others said, check the POA documents to see if there was a secondary POA assigned. When doing POAs, this would be the wise way to do it. If for any reason the primary POA can't or won't take on the task, there will be an alternate already, so no worries if dementia comes calling!

So, if you can convince dad to go to the attorney and assign one or both of you as his POA, the atty can say yay or nay. As for hiring the atty, mom/dad's finances should be paying for that, not you or your brother.

If you can't convince him, then the only other alternative is guardianship and conservatorship. For your mother, this is really the only option left. Their assets should be paying for this to be done. If it's critical, there is a way to expedite and get an emergency order done. If it can wait a bit, muddle along until the process gets done, then proceed that way.

While it might be helpful to get an assessment and Dx, my understanding is that the courts will appoint someone to examine them for competence. This only makes sense, to protect the person from nefarious family or others (it happens!) Legal fees may be difficult at first - speak with the attorney about that. Until someone is appointed, you really wouldn't have legal access to their funds to cover the costs, but might be able to arrange something. It would be best to get an estimate for the cost up front, to be sure they have enough assets to cover the costs.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Explain everything to your Dad and let him no that you won't be doing anything else for them unless POA Has been given
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Lonniesgirl: No, an individual with dementia cannot hold a Power of Attorney.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Isn’t there a second person if the 1st can not do the duties?
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Reply to Marylepete
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I write from the patients perspective. I would get in touch with the Attorney that handled the POA's for them. My DW and I were preparing to create a Trust when we found out I was being diagnosed with Early-Onset ALZ. Our lawyer encouraged us to choose one of our adult children to be DPOA for both Financial an and Medical issues. I was diagnosed in April of this year as having moved on to Moderate-Severe ALZ, and that I should have 24/7 supervision and care. When we had a follow up meeting with the Neuropsych Dr., he told us that the test he did was based on Critical Thinking Skills, which is a totally out of my abilities. He also said, he'd never had a patient like me who scored in the lowest 1% of patients who could carry on a conversation let alone an hour long discussion of the test results. Still he said, legally, I can not make any decisions including medical and legal issues as a result of the scores on my Neuropsych report. I hope you find some valuable information in my answer. Fortunately for me my DW is my #1 DPOA for both Health and Finances, one of our adult children is #2, and there is a #3 chosen in the event of something happening to my DW or one of our adult children. In turn, she named our two Adult Children as #1 and #2. I believe that is the best way to handle things. We also created a Trust where I gave my DW all of my interest in our property and money. I have what I call a Sissy Account for my Social Security money and she is on that account so she can access my funds when I am no longer able to do anything for myself. The 5 yr birthday of the Trust is only 3 mos away.
Good Luck
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Reply to jfbctc
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disgustedtoo Jun 28, 2021
"The 5 yr birthday of the Trust is only 3 mos away."

Party time??? ;-)

As for tests, some are good, some aren't. Some people can take tests and easily "pass" them, even with flying colors. Some people can't take tests. In my experiences, not every one who aces tests or graduates with honors has a thinking bone in their body. Some who don't do as well on testing or in school are very adept at what they do. (think Einstein)

I actually found a short "Critical Thinking" test online and only scored 7 out of 10. Honestly, most of the questions asked are NOT useful in my life. I found most of them rather stupid.

You've done fairly well in life and continue to do so. I'm not saying you shouldn't be concerned or take back control, just don't put as much trust in those tests. I've known people with multiple degrees who would be put to shame by your insight and knowledge.

Keep in mind also, in my last job the person in charge really had it in for me. If you read HER comments in my performance reviews (done online), I couldn't get myself out of a wet paper bag. If you then read comments from various coworkers, you'd scratch your head and wonder if this is the same person!!! This woman, BTW, called me to a meeting with my supervisor (paper pusher) and said she didn't know what I did all day, for all she knows I stand outside smoking all day. To which I replied, "No, I only smoke 4/day." She gasped and said "Oh, I didn't even know you smoked." Her reply says a lot - she clearly didn't know ANYTHING about me. She managed to get rid of me (layoff) and the timing was excellent! Others were angry or felt bad. Nope. No more 3+ hour commute, no more dealing with her crap and when my severance ran out, eligible for SS.

The same goes for highfalutin degreed medical people. I went to a neurologist who told me there was nothing wrong with me after he finished his "tests." When I returned for another appt, I said first I'd like to know what you meant when you said there was nothing wrong with me. He stated he never said that. AAARGH! Never mind that - I suffered in a lot of pain for FIVE years, with multiple docs telling me my cervical disc was not the issue. It was.

So, you do you. I consider you intelligent and insightful. Based on what you've said about your relationship with your wife and children, you're also a very nice person. I would be honored to have you as a friend!
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Go and search for eldercare attorneys and find one who will give you a free consultation and go from there. There are also legal aid attorneys who an help you. This is NOT legal or acceptable.
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Reply to Riley2166
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No. Mental incapacity disqualifies a person from holding/exercising power of attorney - their mutual POAs will become invalid if they aren't already. They will lapse without anyone's having to do anything in particular about it.

Your brother can't and shouldn't try to force your parents to do anything; he should find out how to make an application for guardianship - your parents' state's own website is a good place to start.

Does your brother need to make any decisions or take any actions on their behalf at the moment? - because if not there may be less urgency than he fears, and if so there may be other ways round it.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Good Lord.

One thing is for certain--they should ***NOT*** be by themselves.

Medicare/Medicaid should cover the cost of medical evaluation since psychiatry does that. You need to talk to their primary doctor about this issue and get appropriate referrals. If any of them end up on the psychiatric unit they can get medically evaluated by psychiatry and a visiting justice holds court there on the unit, and they can appoint a legal guardian.
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Reply to cetude
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Best option is to get doctor to declare them mentally incompetent and then to hire the attorney.

Please make sure to have both parents evaluated by a doctor for mental competency. Do not be surprised if their family doctor makes a referral to a neurologist for evaluation and treatment. The will both need to be declared mentally incompetent.

Hire a local lawyer that specializes in family law, elder law would be better. Since the person with POA is incompetent and so is the person authorizing the POA, it will require doctor's declaration of mental incompetency and courts deciding on whom to appoint as their legal guardian.
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Reply to Taarna
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No your Mom cannot be a POA for Dad and visa versa. Medicaid may allow the cost of guardianship come out of parents money.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Was there an alternate POA named to replace the named agent in case they are unable to serve. If not, then it is too late - especially in your mom's case to have a new POA appointed - an most likely your father as well.

So if there is no second named - you and or your brother are probably looking into guardianship which means going to court and all the expenses that entails.

Talk to social services or Council on agency in their area or consult an elder care attorney to find what options and resources are available. Some attorneys have a free consultation, you can set that up and see what is required and how much - and whether the money would be paid out of your parents' resources.

My parents named me as their POA and there is no second - while I have a brother - he has his own issues which includes money management and being able to make good decisions. So if anything happens to me before mom dies (dad died about 2 years ago) mom will be in much the same position as your parents.

It really stinks to get old and feeble. I wish you and your brother the best of luck. Support each other.
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Reply to cweissp
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disgustedtoo Jun 28, 2021
Even with a secondary, if they are responsible enough, it's almost like not having one! Thankfully mom and dad's POA docs named me and YB (OB wasn't local at the time, so he was left out - probably just as well!)

I have been saying for years god help mom if something happens to me! YB is rather scatterbrained at times and he'd likely be missing bills, not dealing with documents, etc. I took over finances when it was clear mom was having issues. Neither brother ever said boo. Since mom's passing, the bulk of the trust was distributed to us. They didn't do it the way I requested, so thankfully I had xferred some after mom's first stroke, just in case (all 3 are trustees, so I was concerned they might take their share and not deal with the remaining taxes, etc.), and the final monthly xfer was in place already, couldn't stop it. Just as well. The trust taxes for 2020 were about 4k! There's still a final estate return (should be no tax as none of what's left is income) and a final trust tax return (should be minimal since the distribution happened 3/2/21.)

Point is, sometimes a second or 3rd POA can be worse! Depends on who they are and how responsible they are.
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Exactly what Alva said. If a competent attorney set up their estate paperwork, including POAs, there should be a secondary and even a tertiary name listed on the form.

My dad was my mom's POA, then I was listed as #2, and my brother is #3. Dad died a few years ago, so I have taken over as next in line.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Read the document. If there is a second named (there should be if this was done by a professional, then the papers to prove incompetency should be brought to a lawyer and the second appointed in some way. Otherwise it is a matter of going for guardianship. If a person has dementia they may still be well aware of the wishes of medical advanced directive but likely could not do any financial POA and likely needs help with their own. Speak with your Mom and Dad and speak with an elder law attorney on how to proceed.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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AT1234 Jun 28, 2021
Exactly, if it was done by a professional there is a secondary.
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