Should I change the "language" on my POA?

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I went to seminar put on by a large local elder care attorney firm, and they give a talk, get your information, and then call you to see if they can see your loved ones POA. I scanned it over to them, and then they called and said I needed to change the language to include 'gifting " in the POA. I was hoping to get some answers regarding financials about moving my almost 91 yr old mother in my home, and not being hit with that gifting penalty due the needed renovations for her to live here, specifically a bathroom, chairlift, and for her to have her own apartment space. My mother had the current POA drawn up by an attorney she trusts-
I am wondering if some of these firms are just trying to make the $550 to redo POAs, as it seemed like the attorney didn't want to give me my "free" consultation, and wanted to get off the phone quickly,after I said I didn't think my mother would want to sign a new POA agreement, since she is quite stubborn. They had said in the seminar that you could take an hour or two, and go over may things, I was interested in VA benefit information, too. Anyone else encounter these types of firms, and is their really "gifting language " that can help on the possible Medicaid needs dowm the road? My mother does not have a lot of money, so It is definitely on my mind, as to not get in a situation down the road.

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It may be true that any attorney can do what any other can; but, the fact is that specialization makes a huge difference in the services they provide.

My sister and her husband had wills prepared by a general practice attorney. Later, when reviewed by an elder law attorney, they found that: 1) Her will was invalid because it had never even been dated. 2) The manner used to leave their assets at death was not the most tax-advantageous. 3) The manner used to bequeath their assets made the estate subject to a probate process that would have been lengthy and difficult (and incidentally, would incur a lot more legal fees). 4) The attorney named himself as back-up representative or executor (more fees for him). While legal, this is ethically shaky.

Additionally, he had not recommended that they have DPOAs, living wills, or perform other important planning.
Fortunately, the elder law attorney was able to address all their needs and saved them and their heirs thousands of dollars as well as a lot of unnecessary trouble. His fee was more than repaid by the extra money they were able to leave their church, not to mention the aggravation I was saved as personal representative by not having to inventory all their personal assets and go through probate.

An attorney who does not specialize in these matters may be quite well-intentioned, but he may not know what he doesn't know. If he can't explain the reason for his "gifting clause" opinion to your satisfaction, go elsewhere.
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There is nothing that the seminar attorney can do that your mother's own attorney can't do. Have your mother ask her current attorney whether such changes are necessary. This attorney has already earned her trust and is familiar with her estate planning goals.
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I've attended the seminars, too, in the past. At the time, it seemed they were pushing trusts for estate planning. That way, the firm gets annual fees for administering the trust and reviewing its terms.
I agree with contacting the trusted attorney who prepared the POA with your question and tell him where you got the info. If he rebuffs or ridicules you for asking, I'd question his knowledge of the issue and consider asking for his recommendation for an elder law specialist--more to rankle him than otherwise; but he might give you a helpful referral.
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These types of "broad spectrum" seminars aren't of any real value. I wouldn't trust their advice if you paid me! I agree with Countrymouse.
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Here is the gifting language in the POA that I hold for my mother: "The POA has the power to make gifts from my assets to members of my family and to such other persons or charitable organizations with whom I have an established pattern of giving, to file state and federal gift tax returns and to file a tax election to split gifts with my spouse, if any. However, my Agent shall be prohibited, except as specifically authorized in this instrument, for gifting, appointing, assigning or designating any of my assets, interests or rights, directly or indirectly, to my Agent." I interpret this to mean that I can send gifts to the grandchildren and great grandchildren and continue to send money to mom's church and any other charity she has supported in the past.

I agree that you should consult an attorney about the modifications to your house, but if your mom is still conducting her own financial affairs such as writing checks and paying bills, it would seem that she could directly pay for the modifications for her use.
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Also, we went to one of those seminar elder attorneys because I insisted they were more familiar with "elder" law. My husband refused to work with them. We ended up going back to our tried and true attorneys.
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When my husband signed POA over to me, the authorization to gift property was part of it. He made it very clear that he was not giving me power to gift anything. He gave me all other powers. He is a retired attorney---not sure why he didn't want me gifting property but I respect his wishes.
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As situations get more complex, there are always people that come out of the woodwork in the hopes of cashing in on the confusion to help "simplify" things for you. Go with your gut, Ladydi431. I am not a lawyer but at $550 for an hour or two, clearly I should be. I have helped many people do a POA and gifting was never mentioned. Notary, yes; gifting, no. But that isn't to say it isn't a thing. I suggest you find or go back to a trusted lawyer and find out.
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LadyDi - what was the name of the law firm from Prarie Home Companion?
.....Duewe, Cheatum & Howe!

But back to your ?....you mention that moms moving to your house has/will placed costs. Like for renovations, lift, etc. and you are thinking that mom could gift you $ to offset all those costs. That's correct, right?

If so, Realize that if this is gifting. If mom should need a higher level of care and she moves into a facility and applies for Medicaid, the state can require mom (aka you as her DPOA) to provide 5 years of all financials. Done today that means going back to 2012. And that $ given to you for work done on your house will be viewed as gifting. It's your property that is getting renovated, not moms. There is planning that can be done that is within Medicaid rules though.

Mom can instead do 2 things:
a personal services contract AND rental agreement.
Both drawn up by an atty & not by Duewe, Cheatum & Howe. I'd suggest that if moms old atty is not a NAELA level elder law atty that you ask old atty for a referral to a naela in your state. All needs to be done above board with taxes paid, etc.

If mom has or is about to sell her home AND also could get VAs Aid & Attendance, well, mom is going to have a big bigly puddle of a$$et$. So getting updated legal done is a good idea, as is getting whatever contracts & updated legal done so that all are Medicaid compliant. Really whatever needs to be done so that if mom should need a facility later on, and has run through her $, that she can qualify for Medicaid with no gifting transfer penalties.

Things change; caregivers run out of ability; mom could live another decade as those who are in their 90's are outside of any health or aging chart. Unless mom had you as a very very late in life baby, you are in your 70's. You don't want a problem 4 years from now as to improper transfer of moms $ and mom needs to be in a NH. Mom has the $ to get solid experienced legal done & that means NAELA.
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My dad had to do a new POA to include the ability for the POA to gift and establish trusts. It is legally sound advice if you have any money to preserve. My only advice is to be sure you are dealing with an attorney who practices with FULL disclosure to all governmental agencies. If they do not, you (and the attorney) will be acting illegally/maliciously and as well as placing yourself and your benefactors at huge risk of a financial and legal nightmare.
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