If grandma is giving away all of her money, who is responsible for paying for her care once her funds are depleted?

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Please don't take this as me being cold and unfeeling, but I believe that our family is at the point where we need to make sure our futures are safe and secure. Grandma is currently in a NH with the possibility of being sent home if she continues to progress in her physical therapy. There are suspicions of A/D, but no diagnosis. Since she has been in the nursing home, we have discovered that a particular family member has been receiving lots and lots of money (20 years and no contact but all of the sudden they are best friends....). Her POA has taken control of her checkbooks and credit cards to prevent this from happening for now. She only has enough money saved to pay for about 6 months of NH after Medicare runs out. We are concerned that if they send her back home, the leechers will be back and will drain her accounts very quickly. She is aware that we are concerned about her financial situation, but she does not care and still thinks she needs to "pay people who visit her." None of this money is coming to our family, but yet we are expected to take care of her. We cannot financially or physically take care of her if she requires NH care. So my question is this - who is responsible to pay for her care once her money runs out? The NH made the POA sign a form saying he is responsible for her, but he does not want to be responsible for her, especially when she is blatantly giving her money away to everyone but the POA. Not getting money from her is not really the issue. It is more that she is giving her money away to people who are basically stealing from her and all the while she is treating her POA like crap and then expecting him to financially support her when her money runs out. What legal obligations does her POA (or her immediate family) have when her money runs out? How do we protect ourselves from whatever happens as a result of her selfish behavior (please note, the selfish behavior is not new, we just added the A/D symptoms to it!)?

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I am a doctor, not an attorney. But I have talked with elder law attorneys about situations like this.

My understanding is that if you have real reason to be concerned about her mental capacities, or about the possibility of someone financially taking advantage of her, the POA doesn't have to give her the checkbook back right away.

She will probably be mad at you and/or the POA. But my understanding is that it's reasonable for a POA to refuse to comply with an older person's request -- at least for the short-term -- if you have good reason to believe her cognition is in question and that her actions might harm her, especially if you:
a) make prompt plans to have her and the situation assessed, and
b) don't do anything sketchy or very significant with her money (e.g. sell off her investments) while you maintain control during this period of assessment.

In particular, sounds like you will need to get her capacity to manage her finances assessed, and possibly her capacity to manage other aspects of her life.

I would also recommend you notify her usual doctor of your concerns re her capacity. And follow up with an elder law attorney as soon as you can. Good luck!
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BBird, sadly, when Grandmother's money runs out she will need to apply for Medicaid [which is differently from Medicare]. Medicaid will pay for her future nursing home care.

BUT... Medicaid will look back through 5 years worth of financial paperwork and see that Grandmother had been giving away her money. NOT GOOD. What will happen is that Medicaid will add up all this give-away money and deduct it from Grandmother's care... thus, Grandmother would need to live with a relative until she is finally accepted by Medicaid. Nursing homes cost around $10k per month depending on where you live. So if Grandmother gave away $30k, that is 3 months. If she gave away hundreds of thousands, then it will be a long wait.

Who has been taking care of Grandmother before she went into rehab? Or has she been on her own? Or was another relative helping out?

How did you find out that another relative has been getting a lot of the money over time?

As for calling Grandmother selfish, please remember she has dementia and this is affecting her thinking. Maybe the dementia had been there for many years, time to have Grandmother diagnosed.
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Get an elder attorney well versed in Medicaid for GMs state. Pay for it out of her funds. That's an allowed use of her money because it's for her care. Get guidance on how to go forward with her care.
It's a vulnerable time for her. She may not be able to understand that but at least you have the POA. That should help.
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BBird205
I'm so glad you are making arrangements to see an elder attorney. I understand the stress you must feel knowing her release from the rehab is imminent and you have no way to care for her. Many people face this deliema daily with vulnerable elders. You are a step ahead in that one of you has a POA and there are funds available for temporary care until long term arrangements can be made. Filing for Medicaid and getting it through successfully the first time is key. Timing, diagnosis from drs, extensive records, etc.
It's a tough road and each persons is different depending on extenuating circumstances such as the moocher in GM case.
An attorney can help you focus on exactly what steps you need to take for your unique circumstances and your state laws.
You mention having to give her back the bank book. This is another reason to see the attorney ASAP in order to legally keep the funds from her access. The wording of the POA is very important.
You could refuse to pick her up when she is released but she might get the moocher to take her back to her place or to the bank. Legally you may not be able to refuse her entry depending on the occupancy laws of your state. The owner might have to evict her.
There are many legal issues that MIGHT be in play. The POA really needs legal advice. Be sure to come back and let us know how this plays out. We try to learn from one another in this complex world of elder care.
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If grandma has money to give the moocher then she has money to pay for in home help. Period. You and POA need an elder law attorney like yesterday. Call your state bar association immediately and ask them for the names and telephone numbers of elder law and trusts and estates attorneys in your area. And take the POA document as well as your grandmother's checkbook and ATM withdrawals that you've already gone through with you. Do not show up at the attorney's office unprepared.
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Why do you have to give her back the checkbook? It should be handled by the POA.
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Everyone has given you great advice. I would agree with drkernisan - get her assessed. You need that diagnosis to prove she can no longer handle her finances.

Years ago my mother also did foolish things with her money, she would not remember who she wrote checks to etc. The Alzheimer's foundation told me that I could not do anything without a diagnosis and it would be her word against mine.

Get the diagnosis, it's great the POA is meeting with an attorney. The attorney will guide you on how to proceed.
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The POA is not responsible for her NH costs. POA's responsibilities are to pay bills, can sell car and house etc. Is not responsible to support the person who assigned him POA. Giving her money away may effect her Medicaid. Person who received it may have to cover her care. He was wise to take the checkbook but she has to be declared incompetent for him to override her decisions. If u haven't you may want to make the facility aware she can't come home. That there is no one to take care of her.
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All of the relatives will consider you reponsible for her care (probably!), since you are already living in the basement apartment. (Do you pay rent?)

I'd move out as soon as possible!
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This posting raises several questions for me.
1. What is your relationship with the POA?
2. What oversight have you exerted while GM was spending her assets?
3. What actions have you taken to prevent family members from taking cash, etc.
4. Are you sure this isn't about your inheritance?
You may find these questions insulting. But I read a substantial amount of victimization in your postings.
Immediate steps you should take.
1. Get a diagnosis from a medical professional recommended by your elder law attorney.
2. Document the losses from her accounts caused by family members.
3. Have the POA set up an account with low withdrawal limits. Tell a bank officer about the situation.
4. Investigate a restraining order against the mooching family member.
5. Don't employ revisionist history when meeting with the elder law attorney. A good many families find themselves in your position. It is hard to undo the past.
6. Figure out a game plan if she can't qualify for Medicaid immediately.
Good luck and try to be calm in this situation, as difficult as it may be.
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