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We have our house for sale and it is in both my husband and my names. My husband has many financial problems and debt. It is impossible to have a logical conversation re the sale of the house and the proceeds. I have been paying all the household expenses and also the Real Estate taxes which are quite high. I think we will have to split the proceeds from the sale into two separate accounts. I also think I should be reimbursed for at least half of the real estate taxes I have paid. How do I have a conversation with someone who can't follow logic? Legally am I responsible for him?

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JoAnn29, you are right. There are differences between a POA and a Durable POA, but both would suffice provided they had the right provisions in them.
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only in a community property state are spouses automatically responsible for each other's debts; it's clearly understood that I'm not responsible for my husband's debt, which is quite much, thankfully, because at this point even selling our house wouldn't cover it, and even though it's in both our names, I'm not even responsible for the mortgage on it, because it's not in my name, but he couldn't sell it out from under me either, should he decide he needed to in order to cover "his" debts or refi it without my knowledge or consent, which is a bone of contention for him, but is for my protection, so maybe that's the way she's looking at it, not necessarily from divorce perspective but just simply from protection
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It sounds to me like you're divorcing since you wanted to be reimbursed for half of the real estate taxes.
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you can't "get" a POA; it has to be given, is maybe why she doesn't already have it; maybe he wouldn't give it to her, like in the situation with hub's aunt and uncle; uncle wouldn't give aunt POA
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Hire an estate atty.
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A durable POA gives you full power. I can sell and even buy in my Moms name. There is a temporary used for one transaction.
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A durable power of attorney is not adequate - you need a full power of attorney to sign a deed. A deed in both names must be signed by both owners, so you need a POA for that. The POA is no good upon the death of the party, so it does not allow for post death transactions. The advice to do the funeral planning and fund it before death was excellent advice. You will need to do an irrevocable funeral plan otherwise Medicaid will consider it an asset and can make you cash it in.
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Garden Artist Give a Hug, yes, a POA can be effective before or after incompetence, or both. I was trying to let people know that they have the option of limiting when someone else can handle their affairs to only after they are no longer competent. Thanks for pointing out that what I said needed clarification. Also, someone can cancel a POA by putting it in writing that they are cancelling.
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Are u divorcing? As a married couple you are as responsible for the debts either of you have. The creditors don't look at that you split your bills or have separate bank accts. If it was reversed, he'd be responsible for ur bills. I agree, u need a lawyer. You need tp protect yourself for the future.
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I was lucky with mom as her lawyer said when I called that she [the lawyer] was enacting the POA as of the minute we were talking - the drs about a week later told me mom had moderate bordering high not low dementia - they can fool you because you are used to them & it is very slow to progress - she even fool a family member who was a retired dr who saw her nearly daily

her POA papers said that POA would get no compensation - when I talk to lawyer I asked about this because back up is a bank & they wouldn't do that without $$$ [& it was noted that possible POAs had agreed to this ... no] - lawyer said that should not have been in the POA papers [lawyer admitted that was her mistake & I copied & kept that correspondence of my emails with her .... when in doubt copy it] - I was to keep track of my time for 2 months then at minimum wage & take a certain % of mom's net worth - when I did that it was about the same - the lawyer was happy with amount involved for my compensation [kept that too]

For a while I was reluctant to take that $$ but I realized that after nearly 2 years mom was worth more than when I took over despite all those thousands of dollars spent on her care + 2 new wheelchairs + doing final funeral expenses - she had not been doing anything about finances except when [we would regularly talk about our stocks] shortly after I bought something she would - she used a 'discount' broker which only follows your instructions - make sure that if your loved one uses this type to get them into a full broker who will give notifications & advice

About final funeral plans - the bank is executor of her will - the man who will be in charge strongly urged me to do this while I'm POA because if mom died on a Fri evening of a long weekend we would have no power to deal with funeral home but because my POA dies with her - so all her children got together to do this without the trauma of a recent death making everyone behave at their worst - I also write a overview every 18 months or so & copy the bank - mom left $$ to a girl who she 'fostered' through one of those charities & my sister took on the job of tracking her down in Haiti after that massive earthquake but this girl couldn't be found [better sooner than later] so we all said that money goes to Haitian relief & bank is okay with this - NOTE THIS DOES NOT HOLD UP MOM'S ESTATE FOR YEARS LOOKING FOR HER

FYI - my dad has in his POA document that 2 drs must declare him incompetent before it can be enacted

BEST ADVICE I GOT - buy a multi subject school book and another plane book - take 1 'subject' each of medical, financial, contact numbers [subdivided into family, gov't, care, drs/eye/teeth/meds on different pages] + anything else pertenant - use the 'plane' book [or one of 'subjects' but you can run out of space] for a log of times you speak to anyone taking care of your loved one at least in the initial year or so until things quite down a lot - get everyone's full name/employee number [not just 'Mary'], time of start of call & end, date & quick note on discussion - many times having that "John Jones on 6 Sept at 1140 told me this.... why is it different now?" resulted in a later further explanation/exploration to my favour
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From what you describe, it sounds like it's time to see an elder care lawyer as mentioned here and go for guardianship. I'm not sure how to handle joint transactions situations especially since some transactions require signatures from both parties in front of a witness. I was joint owner on my foster dad's bank account, so I faced something similar. There came a point in time he was not in his right mind, also having both of our signatures for banking account changes would've been impossible. I don't recall what the change was for, I think the bank had something special going on at the time but I don't recall what. Anyway, they couldn't do anything without both of our signatures, so I understand a little about joint transactions. A third-party eventually became his guardian but neither of us saw it coming
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Iggy, may I offer a correction to your statement on a POA that: "...- it can go into effect only when you are declared unable to handle your affairs..." This is not true unless that POA is specifically drafted to include that provision.

If prepared by an attorney, it can include provisions that allow the proxy/attorney-in-fact to act w/o declaration of cognitive compromise.
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Follow the advice to hire an Eldercare attorney. You can't handle this alone.
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Why didn't you get a Durable Power of Attorney before he got dementia? If you live in a community property state, then half of everything is divided. Do you have money separate from his? At best, you need a CPA or tax attorney to sort out your financial issues.
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You need to talk to a Lawyer who knows Elder Law.
At least the house is in both of your names.
The major problem I see is if he begins to sign any papers and a lawyer sees that he is confused or if the lawyer even suspects that he has problems that could void or hold up a sale. A person that is not cognizant can not sign legal documents.
You may have to become his guardian.
Please talk to an Elder Care Attorney. Expensive, but most lawyers are, but you need to do this for your own safety. (financial safety not personal)
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Definitely talk to an elder medicaid planner, because how you handle the money may make a difference in eligibility. If he still has some lucid moments, have the planner recommend attorneys who they have worked with that can provide a power of attorney that will give you the ability to do everything you could do as a guardian. The toughest part is finding a notary at a time when he is lucid, so find a half dozen - if they will come to the house even better. When you see he is in a lucid period, get the notary to come right away - pay extra if you have to. Guardianship is a long, drawn out court proceeding, in many states, it is very expensive, and if on the day of your guardianship hearing he happens to have a moment of lucidity and can answer the judge's questions or objects to the guardianship, then you will have gone through all of that and spent all that money for nothing. And ordinarily there is a long time period before you can start the proceedings all over again. For the immediate need for the sale of the house, if you can prepare documents to have him sign the house over to you in one of his more lucid moments (if you don't have a power of attorney), but you will need a notary to notarize his signature. Further, anyone reading this should sign a power of attorney - it can go into effect only when you are declared unable to handle your affairs, and can be amended if you decide you want to change the person who you have named to handle your affairs. I know this will fall on deaf ears - how many of you even have wills? I am struggling right now to help relatives and some were still of sound mind and signed a POA (after the notary questioned them about their understanding of what they were signing, and the implications). For another relative, I am waiting for a guardianship and license to sell to be issued by the probate court and we may lose the only offer that we have received (the closing was scheduled for tomorrow and the buyers have already given their landlord notice and hired a truck and are ready to back out of the deal.) So my recommendation is get a POA immediately! Do whatever it is that you have noticed helps him be in the present and triggers his memory and understanding, and get him and the POA to a notary and get it signed!
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Has his cognitive decline been documented by a doctor? I assume you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney. An Elder Law Attorney can proceed with guardianship if you don't have a POA. With a guardianship the courts will determine what you can be paid. His mental state could be a big issue in the sale of the house. Look for an Elder Law Attorney with CELA after their name.
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If everything is in BOTH of your names--why can't you just handle everything.
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You might want to think about guardianship status or having a third party be his guardian. I don't see how he can sign anything in his current state.
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Mary, you need to get to an Eldercare attorney asap to ask these questions.
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