My mother was recently admitted to a mental facility. I don't know what to do to help with her house payment, houshold bills, etc. She has paranoia and never trusted anyone so she would never put anyones name on anything. I am her closest blood relative left. (daughter) I know that her bills are past due including her house payment so I need assistance. I don't know where to turn

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If she won't do a POA - which sounds like that's the case - then you pretty well have to go to court to become her guardian or conservator (G/C). What it's called depends on the state. I've been executrix a couple of times and those hearings are held in probate court where they also do guardianships & conservator hearings. Based on what I heard and experienced if the family is all kum-ba-ya on the approach to care for the person, it is pretty straight forward if they are really "mental" (with a documented history) and not a pig-headed, difficult, mean old man/woman. The judges are savvy and can sniff that out.

You, as a family member, have the right to go to court to petition to become their legal guardian -- although that doesn't mean the arrangement will automatically come to pass.

To be appointed a legal guardian, also called a conservator, you first need to file papers with the local court, clearly describing the person’s physical or mental condition and inability to make decisions and why G/C needs to happen and happen quickly (e.g. mortgage not getting paid). The court will notify other family that the papers have been filed and that a judge will be deciding whether or not to grant the request. You will be asked to provide that list – don’t get cute and leave anyone off. If you do and an absent family member shows up it will be an issue. Other family can file letters either supporting or contesting. You want to have letters supporting your position. You may be asked to provide your & your spouse's personal and financial data that is entered into public record. The court will X ck your name for police records. These parts can be tricky as something from your past can become an issue for the court. You need to have an G/C experienced attorney to represent you. The good thing is that once you are appointed, you can pay for the representation from mom's accounts.

All these things are sticky, you'll likely need to hire an experienced lawyer to help. To begin your search for the best lawyer for the job, contact the local bar association and ask whether it has a lawyer referral service that includes those who specialize in conservatorships or elder law. You can also contact the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for a referral to its members in your area.

The G/C judge does NOT have to appoint you or a family member as the G/C. If there is family friction, they will appoint an outsider to manage the elder's affairs and that person will be paid to do so out of the person’s assets while the family sorts out their issues. The county has a standing list of attorneys at the ready to be G/C or to be an interim G/C. They are paid out of her $ to do so.

Again you really need to present a united front that is all kum-ba-ya on their care. If you don't, the Court has the right to remove the person from all family members and make him a Ward of the State with an attorney as his G/C.

The court is going to look first to immediate family as the G/C, if you're the closest blood relative, then you are probably going to be looked at favorably. Unfortunately none of this is easy, inexpensive or simple. Good luck.
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It would be wise to contact the local Council on Aging or the equivalent to try to get a referral to an Attorney if that is what you decide to do because there are a lot of crooked greedy ones that can string you along and take your money. Always get a referral to a reputable Attorney, especially in this situation. Good luck.
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Interesting question and answers. I do not need the answers, but all questions and answers are learning for me. Thanks for all of the sharing. Always remember the patient has rights, fight for them..!!!!

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fishy60.....cmagnum is correct.
This is long post but I feel these details may help you and hopefully others in a similar situation..
If you don't have a joint account with Mom or POA at this point you may have to pay lawyers out of your pocket. If possible, have POA papers written and give it a shot(not extremely costly for those papers and lawyers can't do anything about her bills etc. without POA or guardienship either), and remember nothing beats a failure but a try. (Have more than one copy made and stamped as originals, found this out the hard way, make 2 or 3). Also if it is a problem at first attempt it's like fishing you will catch a fish if your bait and the right time of day, lure and patience are used to your advantage.
I found that there are steps in the process that noone will explain unless you question the situation. I myself, found all of this out the hard way.
Unfortunately trying to talk to anyone about your Mom's healthcare,assets and finances will be difficult without her ability to communicate her consent, signature or POA papers, I had difficulties myself "and I do have POA". There's alot of crooked people out there and when it comes to someones money these days finanicial and legal issues are very cautiously reviewed.
If arrangements are not made for a safe care environment pending discharge from hospital and an agreement that a person will take on that responsibility have not been made, they cannot release her. If she remains in the hospital for more than a certain time period (for mental health issues only) there will be a court hearing infront of a judge. This is a law in NJ not sure if this differs by state. The court decides infront of lawyers and judge and her Dr.'s (that are treating her in hospital) if she is unable to care for herself. If the decision is that she is a harm to herself or to others and/or can't care for herself, they cannot release her and will find her incompitent. This is only if she does not agree on her own to remain in the hospital, in the front of judge in court . They cannot "involentarily" admit her unless they find her incompitent. At this point they will be appointing a guardian (if you don't get POA papers and want to be guardian talk to the socialworker) or I believe Mom becomes a ward of the state. This also means they investigate her assets and finances for future care costs (believe me this is the main concern...who's paying) . Most likely by this point they already have investigated her funds and any potential hier to her funds or anyone that has acess to accounts or assets,in the future and even after death(as in life insurance recipient). So I suggest to you to try to get POA if possible and have a plan for her release so you can control her healthcare and finances. If it "IS" decided that she is incompitent, POA papers cannot be legaly binding (if signed after the court rules her incompitent). Social workers should explain the process if you ask. In most cases if you ask they have to tell, if you don't ask they don't tell. It is prefered by all that someone is POA and is active in the future care plans and finances.
My Mother is and always will be stubborn and never trusted anyone(but her father) and PRIOR to her admittance into the mental/behavioral health hospital, she was delusional and paranoid and more stubborn and more untrusting etc.. What the Dr.s do is to stabalize the behavior with a proper diagnosis and treat the person with meds and diet and have a daily routine for less stressful behavior. All these factors properly used for care and treatment worked a miracle for my mother. In no way, I am saying this works in every case. Sometimes if meds are taken improperly or other health factors are there,this all can cause unstable behavior.
It takes a while for the behavior and confusion to stabalize to a level that is close to "normal". Paranoia,depression,irractic behavior,can be treated. I hate meds and the last thing I would have ever thought was that Mom's behavior could be adjusted this way. She does not ever seem to be medicated, she is just happy and pleasant and she's a big hit at the NH, singing, dancing, smiling and complimenting everyone that she likes and simply avoids those who... shall I say... get on her nerves. With ups and downs basically, Three years now... stable. (I make sure I observe her behavior at the home and make my concerns known and documented by staff) So other than her getting lost and not knowing what year or day or season it is, she's a delight. Her controlled routine but sense of independance and the environment at the NH is safe, secure and we are both happy for the most part now. Again I am no expert but living through this I have learned alot more than I ever thought I could or would. That is why I am shareing this with you in such detail. Wish you and Mom Well.
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Given her paranoia and her lack of trust, I highly doubt that your mother will sign a durable or medical POA for you. Thus, I would definitely talk with a lawyer for your only recourse to help her might be having to become her guardian which means a doctor will have to say that she is incompetent to handle her business in a business like manner. This is tough! I wish you the best as you work through this mess.
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I went thru this with my Mom. I got a crash course on this subject and If I was graded I'd get an A+ and extra credit, without a doubt.
DO NOT sign as her responsible party or Admittance Forms to any hospital or facility. I am assuming your in the USA. There is a law, HIPPA that is nessasary for communicating with Dr.'s your Mom needs to sign so that gives you the right to communicate with the hospital or Dr.'s. with her permission this is the one thing you may need to sign but read carefully what you are agreeing to..
Always Remember ......~ Noone is responsible for anyone else financially .~ If anyone tells you you have to sign they are tricking you into making yourself responsible. In order to handle things. You do need to try to get the legal authority to handle her finances and medical needs. This means you need to get Durable Power of Attorney(look online for details). That is if she has not been found legally incapable to handle things herself, by DR and/or a Judge. The alternative if she refuses to do this or has been found incompitent you need guardienship or exactly what CindyLou posted.
Medicare pays for only about 30 days(80%) for mental stablization. After the 30 days you need to get help with her care 24/7 most likely. My sister and I agreed to 24/7 care so that they could release her with care agreement.
It may take some convincing for her to sign POA papers, I have helpful hints. After she is treated and stablized she may be more agreeable. The time of day is an important factor in behavioral health issues, morning is usually the agreeable happy time in a relaxed pleasant atmosphere, setting a mood may seem silly but it is a huge factor in behavior. You need POA papers to be notorized in front of a witness , you need picture ID as well. Example: so you can relate: if someone asked you to do anything when your mad or overwhelmed or awakened, would they get a response from you? My Mother always was agreeable if I gave her icecream (her favorite goody) and then she'd be happier.
The best thing that happened to Mom was the mental health facility. They diagnosed and treated her and she was much easier to communicate with and care for. The social workers will guide you but in my case they are on overload and seem to force everything on you at once like you know what's happening. Just try to think before you act and ask questions if needed they know answers but unless you ask they may forget to inform you. There are alot of resources if she qualifies financially. I am here to help you. This is overwhelming but not impossible and I will say, My careing for Mom was/is a great feeling and things just fell in place with my whole hearted effort and love for her. I am not an expert by title but I've been there and at this point I can paint a real clear picture.
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You're in a tough spot! Will your mother be in the facility for a long time? Contact a lawyer about what your options are. It could be that you would be granted a conservatorship but I believe it has to go before a judge. Explain all or some of the facts to her creditors and ask for an extension.
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