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My father has been diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney failure. His doctor has given him 6 months or less to live. My parents don't have a living trust, because my father wouldn't pay for it. I would like to set things in motion now (if dad agrees to this) so that I can have access to their finances to pay for her care. She is completely healthy, but her mind has failed her.

Talk with your father regardless. This is his wife. Get you a good elder law attorney who will help you petition the court for permanent guardianship.
Your attorney will walk you through the details and accomplish this as quickly as possible.
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Reply to LuvingSon
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POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR FINANCES AND HEALTH.

LIVING TRUST
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Reply to MAYDAY
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Go to Office depot, and look up books etc with Living Trusts. You can do this on your own if you have the time. I think it's like the book " Patent It Yourself" book.

fill out papers etc, and take it to notary, and take it to the Main Court and IT SOUNDS SO EASY, DOESN'T IT?

Paralegal is another name that just popped up in my head. They may be able do it cheaper. Do look up paralegals in your area, they may be able to help you. And people who are studying law have to get practice, so check in with the courts, sometimes they have student assistants who can help you file and fill out all this paper work, it is good study habits for students who need to excercise.

GOOD LUCK, check out your main court and paralegals. It may be cheaper and easier than you think.

I believe my cousin went to Office depot and got the forms, followed instructions, and finished it himself...Seriously. But that was over 12 years ago.
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Reply to MAYDAY
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An attorney can get this straightened out for you - please find one today who specializes in eldercare. You need immediately help - do not wait.
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Reply to Riley2166
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You bring up so many legal questions. Definitely time to invest in a consult with an elder law attorney which probably is mentioned 16 times in the answers belong; just try to find one who has flat rates for consult and each item you need. Surely your father's situation might trigger him to realize the importance of action now. My father is almost 102 and although stubborn and naive at times, has his full faculties, clueless to the responsibilities of caregiving long-term while maintaining a clean home and day to day stuff. Mom is 96 with dementia. For now he remains her next of kin/one to make decisions and guardianship will be dealt with if and when he passes...although then I will be next of kin for her. Guardianship from what I hear is a witch, financially and time wise and logistically. I..e to be avoided if one can. I'm not sure of all the ins and outs of it but much will depend on the financial situation as you don't want to take a hit yourself while helping your mother. Without a doubt you should be getting a financial POA, and dad should be doing healthcare POA so you can help convey his wishes toward the end if he can't speak for himself. .
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Reply to gdaughter
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Best to go through an elder law attorney.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Okay my accounting records consisted of printing a monthly bank statement, keeping rceipts for purchases for Luz: such as underwear, pads, maybe a prescribed food, specific clothing. Nothing for transportation, dining out, entertainment, etc.
We did consult a Certified Elder Attorney to hash over the options. He cost us $2k, that's all, so shop around.
The annual report was the only paper work required to be submitted to the court. Took me about three days to juggle the numers to get them to balance.
I should have use a CPA. One reason was that I paid for nearly every thing so I could save her money for unplanned expenses in the future. I was allowed by the court to spent up to $250.00 a month of her money in the checking account. I could not touch the money in the savings account because of the amount saved exceeded an amount set by the state law.
This why I say check your state laws before you decide and consult with a Certified Elder Care Lawyer to hear all of the options.
No cost there, free. It cost more for parking and mailing.

My primary conern was that one of the professional Guardians would file for Luz's guardianship and kick me out of the picture entirely.

To read what I am talking about, do a search for "April Parks in Las Vegas."
It is an eye opener.

Things may be very different in your state, so please do your home work.
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Reply to OldSailor
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Avoid conservatorship as much as possible. That other person is right. not only do you have to report every dime spent to the court, that there are many ongoing additional fees Which will cut into the money you would prefer to use caring for her. Conservatorship is really when you have multiple people trying to take control of the care of someone and this is the safest route to go to try to ensure that person is really protected. Don’t do that to yourself. Get a durable POA.
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Reply to Lizhappens
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I would get a Durable POA. Guardianship requires that you make reports to a court regularly and you have to keep meticulous records on every dime spent. The POA should outline everything you would have power over : finances, property, banking, medical decisions, etc. Most POA’s terminate on the death of the person you are helping, unless stipulated in the POA.

I actually found one online for my mother. Best decision I ever made. It needs to be notarized and you need a witness other than the notary to sign as well.

I got one for my mother
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Reply to Princessblue
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Grandma1954 Apr 19, 2019
This would only work if Mom is competent enough to appoint someone DPOA. If she is not competent then the Guardianship would have to be put into place.
And if Dad makes a "fuss" about it Guardianship also would be the way to go.
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Anyone can petition the court for guardianship. I would contact an Elder Law Attorney to discuss the process.
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Reply to cjwilson
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Tough place but can be sorted out by a good dedicated elder attorney. Every question you have can be answered with your attorney. Quite naturally your attorney would help you get everything from your father's affairs in order to that of petitioning the court for guardianship of your mother. Your attorney can set up trusts, etc.
We all have opinions & personal experience testimonies. Yet each situation is personally different and specific in details. Your attorney needs to line it out for you. Your attorney can also give light as to how the expense for all this can be paid at no cost to you, but paid from your parent's funds for this is all being done for them.
Blessings
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Reply to LuvingSon
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You should talk to your father about Power of Attorney. Durable Power of Attorney will give you access to financial matters (and it can be for both parents), and Medical Power of Attorney (make medical decisions). Because your parents never put anything into place, their future finances will be quite messy, involving probate, etc. Pay to consult with an Elder Attorney, and follow their recommendations in order to provide the best care for your parents at this point in time. Guardianship may not be the best way to accomplish this. I would consult an attorney as soon as possible, because of the prognosis of your father. There may be a very short window of time to put anything in to place with your father's consent. You are in a difficult situation, my best to you.
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Reply to Maallis10
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Yes you can apply for guardianship. In the circumstances it isn't even any kind of negative reflection on your father, it's purely a practical measure to ensure smooth running of your mother's care.

Your father can give you power of attorney for himself, which would be a good idea besides; but he can't do that on your mother's behalf so at some point you're going to have to go through the process anyway.

When did your father receive this diagnosis? How is he coping with that, and in general?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You can obtain guardianship. Particularly given your Dad's condition I would not see that there is a problem unless he would fight it. Is it possible that you could seek guardianship for both of them as your Mom, the one that would make medical decisions for your Dad when he needs it will not be able to. This would also allow you to have access of your Dad's finances as well. (Do they have separate accounts? If you do not gain guardianship for your dad you might have to have a separate account started for your Mom if your dad does not want you having access to all finances.)
If your Dad is on Hospice the Social Worker might be able to help you out with this discussion. (and just because it is me...You should contact Hospice for your dad, they can help make things so much easier for you, your dad, mom and the whole family)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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You need to check the laws in your state to make sure. Around here ANYBODY can file for guardianship over another person. Yes that is right. But the courts have and are leaning heavily toward the family. Although the state can appoint someone else. Not done very often.
So if you only have a POA, a person with a guardianship can trump your POA.
That is why I filed for and was granted guardianship for Luz. And yes the annual accounting was really tough. I should have hired a CPA to help so I coud keep the four remaining hairs on my head. It also depends on how detailed the annual report is. I simply told the judge I had supported her for nearly fifty years and would continue to do so. And I did. Although I still kept records of what I bought for Luz with her SSA money. And what I bought for her with my money, like underwear, bed pads, special clothing, etc.
Now I am filing to terminate the guardianship and filing to be the only legal heir for what is in her name or what we owned jointly. There are no other living heirs in this country. And her sister will not object.
Best of luck to you.
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Reply to OldSailor
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Time to talk to a lawyer who specializes in Elder Law. Generally a half-hour consultation is free and can help you identify which to pursue. Definitely start with a Power of Attorney from your father. But ask for advice about dealing with your mom before this situation gets any worse.
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Reply to maggiebea
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As long as Dad is Not Mad, Although Cheap(I know how that is)You don't have any Rights. However, Sad to Say, Everything Dad Has, Will Go Through Probate Will. My own Dad who is A Widower, Is seeing this is Done, Hun...
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Reply to Parise
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Obviously dementia in my view is far more a legal and financial disease than anything else. Cuase the person is other wise functional in the early and mid stages.
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Reply to Rbonuc2999
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Even if your dad agrees now, your POA ends when he dies. Your mom may not be able to assign POA to you now because of her dementia. So guardianship should still be considered.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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MargaretMcKen Apr 16, 2019
There may be simpler ways to cope with the finances, which is a key issue. It's worth checking.
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Does your father appreciate the diagnosis that he has such a short time to live? Does he understand that towards the end he will probably be heavily sedated to keep him out of pain? If he does, he should be willing to accept that you need the power to access their funds now while he is still competent to sign a POA. It will be much quicker and cheaper than guardianship. Make sure that the will and HIPPA are in place as well, and that you are estate executor or will have adequate funds to take care of your mother. Perhaps you should ask or think through another question about how you cope with your mother (who probably isn’t now legally competent) after his death.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Of course you can. You don’t need your dads permission. Just be aware, guardianship tends to be a long and expensive process.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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