My mom is in stage 6 of Alzheimer's. My brother has share responsibility with me for a year, but is now being transferred to another town 4 hours away due to his job. We've started the guardianship process; this Friday, we have a meeting with her court appointed lawyer and guardian. Next Friday is the court appointment. I am just not sure what to expect. Has anyone had to go through this with a parent? She would not give us power of attorney, so this was the other alternative. Her doctor suggested we look into long term place as it will only get worse. Today a doctor would not perform an endoscopy to determine the cause of her choking because we did not have POA. As you can see, it's only going to get worse and I have to go back to work next week, so it will be my husband and kids taking care of her for now. If they find full time work, we will have to hire in private nurses. Any suggestions?

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My MIL is also in stage 6 of Alzheimers and refused to give us POA. My husband and I contacted the area office on aging for guidance and they were wonderul. They explained guardianship (in PA) and gave us a list of eldercare attorneys. The retainer fee was $3000 and he helped us through the paperwork, court, ect. My MIL's primary care physician filled out a questionaire (for a fee) which was presented to the court showing his diagnosis of dementia and his opinion that she could not safely live on her own. The hearing was private and included my husband, myself, our attorney and my SIL who did not oppose our guardianship. Dress in business attire (or like you would for a funeral) which is expected when you attend court. We wrote notes in advance to help with our testimony in which we gave an overview of why we believed my MIL needed guardianship. My MIL refused to go but your Mom can attend (she may be your best witness to allow the judge to see her for him/herself). The hearing lasted 30 minutes. I was initially given emergency guardianship which lasted for 30 days. That allowed us to hire a daytime caregiver (we live in another state) for her without her consent. My husband became the plenary (permanent) guardian after mine expired. He will have to submit statements to the court regarding her welfare and assets annually - a small price to pay to ensure her safety. Mom initially was angry but because of dementia she remembers nothing of the guardianship procedure and it has not affected our relationship. Not all guardianship procedures are nightmares. And sometimes that is your only option. Good Luck.
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even if AN EVENT should occur, she could still object

in the very act of trying to PROTECT HER


ps I forgot to mom was living in her own home and I was living with her, taking care of her, watching over her. But I am disabled, couldn't work anymore, had a small Social Security income and no savings: backing me up. As everyone here has read so many times before, my sibling had no sense of value about the caregiving and thought I was being a mooch on my mom. So even though sib drug my mother through court and had her declared incompetent in the eyes of the world, much to my mothers chagrin, and drained my mother's resources (legally!), sib was actually doing it against me that I didn't have the financial resources to protect myself or my mother. Courts aren't about moral, justice or what's right, they're about legal. Pleeze ALWAYS keep that in mind.
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My non-caregiving sibling started the conservatorship process against my mom, who was opposed. So there was a court appointed attorney, court appointed doctor-evaluator and court investigator, all racking up huge sums of money. When the "impaired" verdict came in, ALL parties (sibling's lawyer + all court appointed people) petition the court, since my mom "had the funds", for all expenses to be paid out of my moms assets. AND THE COURT GRANTED THE PAYMENTS. To date, it has cost in excess of $60,000, and still counting. That represents more than half of my mothers lifetime savings. You see, even after the granting of the conservatorship, siblings lawyer gets to continue in the process with the prescribed, usually annual, filing of the accounting reports. Ka-ching!

Now, I don't know if your mom has assets. If she doesn't, they aren't as likely to do as much (because no money involved) BUT YOU will pay expenses out of pocket that you will never recover. If she has assets, you will further have to prove your financial responsibility and possibly even be bonded. Even without assets, if there is a monthly income, bonding insurance may still be required, and that would also be at your expense if she has no assets from which you could petition the court for reimbursement.

If your mom has an "imminent event", is in the hospital and is scared, she may give you POA at that time. I know you are trying to be proactive and prevent such an event but sometimes that is not possible when people have gone so far into their dementia that they really cannot make good decisions for themselves. Even if anyone should occur, she could still object, and could possibly receive a public Guardian at that time.

Your profile says your mom is living AT HOME WITH YOU and your question includes the information that your husband and kids will be taking care of Grandma. Ok, if that's true, you don't have a POA, grandma is resistant and she needs medical care (ie, the endoscopy you mentioned), if you don't get her that care, you could be found negligent. So, in the very act of trying to protector from hurting herself and watching over her well being, IMHO you are putting yourself in an untenable situation.

So, here's my question to you... can you be tough enough to tell your mom that unless she gives her POA to you and your brother, she has to move immediately and become a ward of the state in order for her to get the medical care she needs against her consent? You may get her cooperation or maybe she is too far gone, you won't know until you press the issue. The very sad thing is that you are willing to have her, be there for her, take care of her, and it MAY and up that you are not able to do that.

JUST IN CASE I've talked too much, which I often do, let me restate what for me would be the bottom line: (1) don't go for conservatorship (2) mom signs the POA or she has to move out.
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Sunflo - thanks for your details as really people don't realize just how detailed of a process guardianship can be. For one aunt, her probate ran 4 years and I got to see the train crash of elder guardianship hearings when the elder wants to fight it. Probate court is just so sad & where all that long time family animosity comes home.

Yeah, I know what you mean about the "imminent event" or as my DH said about his mom, "1 good fall from the home (as in NH)" & that is what happened to her. MIL was out walking a too big dog with no dog manners and bolted and she broke a hip. She went to hospital, then rehab & then NH. And no choice in the decision making. She could have had it totally different but too difficult to work with. Good luck with your mom but whatever happens you know you have tried to make it different for her and she rebuffed it all. You can only do so much.
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I haven't been thru this; but considered it and consulted an elder law attorney. My mom has dementia. The lawyer was more than willing to go to bat; but she was also honest that awarding guardianship to me wasn't a slam dunk and not necessarily a quick process. She explained that there would be an independent assessment (this is in Northern VA) on my mother's health, mental condition, home living conditions, financial - including whether or not she was able to afford in-home assistance even if that meant 24/7 and if that was mom's preference!, interview with family, neighbors, doctors; doctor evaluations. She also warned that if mom didn't want to live with me (i was in another state); the judge could just order that she be monitored, assistance arranged and they would convene again in X months and evaluate the situation. Her doctor, although he diagnosed her with dementia, paranoia, depression, etc. was reluctant to testify that she was "incompetent" at the time.

All of that said, the cost could have been upwards of $10K+ and I wasn't assured of guardianship and conservatorship. Also, if you file for guardianship; you will have to foot this bill; not your mom. Also, I learned that if I did get guardianship; I would have to make sure that I kept good financial records regarding mom's care and file those annually.

I elected to let it go and not pursue as I've heard from others that this can be quite traumatic for you and your loved one (unless they are totally out of it). My mom is living independently and I've elected to wait for an "imminent event" where she is hospitalized and will have to move from her home.

My mom is not cooperative and has refused to leave her home and hometown. She has refused in-home help.

Would she be willing to just come and live with you or enter care facility? This would save you a lot of legal heartache and expense especially if brother wont contest.
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Also the probate judge is the smartest & most interesting person you have ever met, make that your mantra......even if he looks like Jabba the Hut. Wait for him to completley finish his sentences... again he is the smartest person in his world.

Dress middle america - like you bought it at Target rather than Macy's. No noisy jewelry or bangle bracelets either or expensive watches. Flat shoes. Look clean & neat. Clean & neat = competent & sensible. Family does the same too.
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I've not been a G/C but have been an executrix twice and spend countless hours in & out of probate and my take is based on that

You - as the elder's child - 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. I believe this is done through Probate Court in all states. The good part about this is you will learn a lot how Probate runs if you are named the executor of the estate in their will (LOL)

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. The recent incident on getting the endoscopy is a good example. You should make a list of the where & when on this and any other items that show her inability to make good cognitive & competent decisions.

Usually 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 amy be asked to provide that list – don’t get cute and leave anyone off. Other family can file letters either supporting or contesting. You want to have other family members there to speak on your behalf. Clergy is good too. You may be asked to provide your & your spouse personal and financial data that is entered into public record. If you have a room all prepared for mom, take photos and bring prints to show the court. The court can X your name for police records.

Do you have an attorney? Guardianships 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.

Now a ? for you, did the judge appoint a temporary guardian for her?? It reads that was the case. If so, why? What will the court appointed lawyer & guardian say is what she needs for her care? The 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. You really need to present a united front that is all kum-ba-ya on their care. You need to look competent and committed to doing this for the long haul (even if you know, that won't happen, you need to appear that you will). Don;t say I have to go back to work next week, say we are planning on hiring home health care for those times we cannot cover. Keep in mind, if the judge feels you aren't totally 100 & 1% about doing this, the Court has the right to make them a Ward of the State.
You know that may be a good thing as the state appointed guardian can often make things happen - like a room in a NH - happen immediately.COurt appointed guardians have undergone training & certification and usually are attorneys. Some times it may just be best to have an outside guardian.

But the court is going to look first to immediate family as the G/C.

Oh about her doctor....will he be there for the hearing and what will he testify to?
Some doc's just won't do this at all as there can be liability issues. What you don't want is that he is there to testify and says "Mrs Appleseed needs skilled nursing care in a facility as she needs twice a week physical therapy; on-call oxygen; . management of class 3 or 4 drugs; assistance in all her ADL's". This screams she needs to be in a facility and not in a home with children.
So that kills your having her live with you and makes you look like you don't understand what her needs & health situation is.

If your kids are going to be living in the home, they need to be there. The judge may ask them questions too. You all need to do a totally united front that everybody is going to do whatever for grannie. Please be realistic if this can work for you for the best possible care for your mom. Good luck none of this is easy.


Each state has their own "set" of accounting/reporting documents that reflects that state's legal. Most probate courts- which is where G/C, adoption proceedings & estate settlement- are structured so that it is all open records, so you should be able to in theory go down there and ask a clerk to see what others have done & copy others format or sit in on someone's hearing to see what's what
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