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Long story short. She then filed for divorce months later and stopped paying nursing home bill. We hired attorney on his behalf. Could no longer continue to pay out of pocket. Divorce was granted without him having representation. Once we received the ability to manage his funds, it was less then what was stated on financial declaration. We paid everything we could to nursing home and settle his debt, between his SS, Pension and long term care insurance, he is in arrears 2K a month.


We just received a letter from attorney on nursing home's behalf threatening to send him to collections. He has little to no money left. He is not eligible for Medicaid as look back period is 5 years and she had him sign quit claim deed for the condo in ND in 1/2016.


What is our responsibility to respond to this letter? We want to remove ourselves as POA. Difficult to find help as we live in WA state and need to find attorney in ND. Can't seem to find any that will help or even know where to begin with this mess. Any recommendations?

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Does the nursing home he is in accept medicaid?

It seems to me that your best bet is to work with the social worker at the facility on next steps. Explain the money/divorce situation and that you have no difficulty with giving up POA and allowing the State to become his guardian.

This is your first rodeo, but she will have seen this situation before and may be your best source of advice and referral.

As noted by others, do not use your funds in this endeavor and remember that some social workers use guilt to try to make relatives think they are personally responsible (you're not). If that is the case, the state ombudsman would be the next call you make to advocate for your loved one.

I'm so sorry you are mired in this awful situation.
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Let me get this straight. Your husband's father is 93 years old in a nursing home that is threatening to send him to collection. His wife divorced him, cleaned him out, and stopped paying the bill. That's called elder abuse and should be reported. People go to jail for it all the time.

Secondly, who is watching out over your father in law and making sure he s being properly cared for? Where is your husband? Does he have any siblings? This is his father.

What do you mean your husband wants to give up POA and you both just want to be done with it? Am I missing something here?

Your husband is going to abandon his father. If there's one thing I've learned in life is to watch how people treat other people. You can expect the same treatment from them eventually. Don't get real sick is all I can say for you with a husband who wants to give up POA for his father and let the state take care of him.

That poor man. I can only imagine his loneliness and hurt. At 93 he's in a nursing home and appears he is alone with no one to care. His wife robbed him and left and his son doesn't want to be bothered it seems. Being a parent is a thankless job. Really a shame this is happening to him.

Is there a nursing home close by you where he an be transferred to? He is elderly and needs help. He should be eligible for Medicaid. It's as easy as applying online for him.

He only gets about $2,000/per month. Medicaid will pay a portion and your father in law will pay the rest. He'll be allowed to keep $105/month which can be used for personal items. I'm sure he could use a haircut , shave, some slippers, shirts, pants, pajamas, etc.
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cwinter Jun 20, 2020
Thank you for your acute clarity... Heartbreaking story... and eye rolling at the same time. Sigh...
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I am afraid that the divorce has robbed Dad of money, and his spouse may have done it to protect her own assets best she can. This is what we come to in this country. As far as removing yourself as POA, I would do that for all but health. Go to an Elder Law Attorney and get the letter drawn up declaring your intention. Sounds as though your Dad is soon out of money and then the nursing home and social workers will have to decide where, with state funds he can stay. Was he suffering from dementia at the time he signed a quit claim? You may do very well now to see an elder law attorney for one hour for advice on where things stand legally in your own state, and what are the best moves to make for yourselves and for your Dad. WhatEVER you do do NOT use funds that you and husband will need for YOURSELVES when you meet this time in your own lives as you have seen what can happen.
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Lschla Jun 18, 2020
I wouldn't dream of doing this to my children, it's a real shame. The burden of having to manage his estate, to the best of our ability, has literally crushed this family for the past 4 years. I thank you for the kind words, something we haven't heard from anyone this entire process, while trying to do the right thing.
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Ugh, she was a predator. We had one operate in our family (a CG who drained the stroke victim of everything and literally even took his dog). I'm guessing you don't have the funds or appetite to pursue her for theft/elder financial abuse? I was just thinking that if you looked at SD or the states bordering ND they might have attorneys who have duel licenses. I totally get there are not enough attorneys in ND, I needed to find one for a collections case and couldn't. My final comment is that if you know where the ex is, and you don't pursue legal charges against her, she won't show up in a background check and she'll go on to victimize others. These predators count on this. They know EXACTLY what they are doing. But I totally don't blame you if you're just done with it. ((hug))
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Lschla Jun 18, 2020
great advice, I will look at surrounding states. Predator is the nicest thing I think she can be called.... There are no words for people like this...

Be well!
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1 - POA is not responsible to pay bills out of their own pockets.

2 - You need a ND lawyer that specializes in family law - one that specializes in elder law would be better.

3 - Talk to social services at nursing home - they all have one. Let them know FIL's situation and ask for their help.

4 - Find the elder care board for his state, city, county... whichever one you can find for help. If that doesn't work try AARP and local BBB.
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Frances73 Jun 20, 2020
If the father has no money who pays the lawyer? The son is obviously not willing to pay any expenses. When I was looking into one for my parents the cost in Ohio was usually $2500 up front, then $350 an hour. How does someone qualified for Medicaid pay that?
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I know that you said that he is not eligible for medicaid but have you actually tried applying? I ask because you may be able to file a waiver of some kind due to the circumstances. You also stated that he had "full blown Alzheimer's when he signed the Quit Claim Deed. If this can be proven you may be able to apply for medicaid. It is worth a try if you haven't already. I hope that this works out for you and your dad.
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WendyM Jun 20, 2020
exactly - if he was cognitively impaired when he signed the quitclaim, then ex wife can be sued, or try to settle w her, because that is a criminal offense in some states..
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I'd get a legal opinion on how best to proceed. Is the asset transfer the only issue? I'd explore from attorney who practices in that field about transfers pursuant to divorce, as they may not be considered the same as other transfers. Normally, transfers pursuant to divorce are tax exempt as well. I'm no expert, but, explore with an expert. ALSO, Quit Claim deed is not the same as regular deed.

Also, inquire about the POA's duty. It's not really their legal duty to pay the debts with their personal funds, but, only those that of the person who's finances they are managing. An attorney who is well versed in Medicaid should be able to lay out the options.
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Lschla Jun 18, 2020
Thank you, I wish I could fine someone to answer that simple question.
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Look here to see if you can find a ND elder law attorney:

https://nelf.org/search/custom.asp?id=5427

Also, if you resign as PoA the NH or the county will pursue guardianship over him, and I'm not sure if that will then allow him to qualify for Medicaid. Not sure what happens when some is "abandoned" (and I know you are not really abandoning him). If this happens all assets and properties will then be controlled by the guardian and you won't be privy to any of their actions, nor will you be able to dictate where he is placed for care. You can certainly retain your relationship with him and communicate things to the guardian, you just won't be make any decisions on his behalf. They will inform you when he passes and the county will pay for his cremation. He will not be given a funeral or have a non-cremation burial. You can request his ashes and they will ship it to you. This is how it happened for our family in MN. I'm sorry for your family's distress. May you get resolution and receive peace in your hearts.
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Lschla Jun 18, 2020
Thank you for the kind words.
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Is your father in law a veteran? If yes he might be eligible for a VA pension to cover medical expenses. Your local VA office could help you. The program is called Aid and Assistance.
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Let them send him to collections. He has no money left to collect from. I would apply to Medicaid though, don't worry so much about that quit claim deed in 2016. Just continue to pay whatever funds he has to the NH, tell them there is no more money, tell the social worker and finance business person there to help apply him for Medicaid. There is not much more you can do. If they want to try to collect, let them try to collect whatever they can from him. Remember they can't collect from you. You personally do not pay them one penny from your money. The nursing home cannot evict him to the streets, it is against the law. They may find some reason to send him to the hospital though and then when the hospital discharges him, tell the hospital that his bed is no longer available, then the hospital will have to find another location for him. That may happen. But there's not much more you can do except trying to hire a bulldog lawyer to look into going after the ex wife.
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