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My mother resides in assisted living with my father. My brother and I were able to get POA paperwork signed by and for my Dad however, my mom will NOT sign ANYTHING!


Any suggestions appreciated!


RH

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I think some answers here will let you know that you might get it and wish you did not. It is a massive amount of work to manage someone else's finances and property and insurance and upkeep on everything, and I am only doing my brother's very organized very simple very "easy" estate which he actually asked me to do for him as POA for health and financial and trustee of trust. So be certain you want this. If you don't do it and they want access to her funds they will get it done with social services and a court appointed guardian soon enough. This will cost the estate some amount and perhaps as high as 10% of it. But there you are. Otherwise, if you want it, an Elder Care Attorney will guide you through the process.
The costs, if I have not be misinformed, can be recovered from the estate IF you win guardianship.
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Yes, I just obtained conservator-ship of my dad for both his person and his estate, in May of this year. It cost 3000 and took about 5 weeks (California). I had to have a statement/form filled out by a doctor who saw him specifically to see his state of mind. There was a court investigator that interviewed him. He told the investigator he did not want conservator-ship so he was assigned a public defender to contest it .My dad wouldn't even sign that he contested the conservatorship, so I get the not signing anything! My dad is pretty far gone, even though he lives alone still, so there was no appearance of being normal on any level so I was able to get it fairly easily.
After the conservator-ship went through though, was like getting hit with a ton of bricks, there was so much stuff I had to do for him legally and to make his living environment better and to get help for him in his remote location. It was very overwhelming, but now I have found some angels to help out-- a caregiver, a handyman, Loves and Fishes and a group of monks that bring him meals, and a neighbor that looks in. ( I live 8 hours away and caregive for my granddaughter so only get up to see him every 6 weeks).
I'm keeping good records and will have to provide an accounting to the courts and to social security each year--so that's a drag--but I'm feeling encouraged that I'm doing the best I can. Take it one day at a time, delegate as much as possible, and get the help you need for your loved one and for you too, like therapy, massage, creative time, nature time etc. Blessings on you!
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Babs75 Aug 13, 2019
Yes, I was awarded guardianship/conservatorship just about a year ago. Coming up on first year anniversary and I have to do an 'accounting'. I do not, however, have control of all of the money and dad insists on getting all of the incoming money he gets from multiple places. I keep a log of all incoming checks and whether they were cashed, deposited, etc. and I suppose if I have to go back to all of these places and get copies of the cancelled checks showing that dad cashed them, I guess I can do so. I have told my attorney on several occasions that I cannot account for every penny (dad still has his own checking account too and pays most of the monthly bills with the help of caregivers but uses cash for everything else) so this year will be interesting. I have thorough records of everything that is paid from the conservatorship account. Guess taking total control of the money will happen at some point but he has enough cash for me to pay the larger bills so it is not an issue yet. Just an address change away when the time comes. The guardianship is the hardest and I've thought very seriously of giving it up. He is 93 and I want to move him out of his house but he won't go. I have to petition the court and they may not go along with the idea. He has care that comes in part time but there are things happening that will not be fixed with additional care hours. He really needs to be out of that house. I refuse to spend any money on it nor will he allow people to come work on it. I'm still trying to keep the house together plus his 2 cars (his caregivers drive them). He would truly benefit from assisted living. I have found a great place.
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I went to court and got advise from elder law.
I requested conservatorship for my mother who suffers from dementia. They will give you forms that her doctors need to sign stating her illnesses. Or you can check this with a lawyer
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Reply to VLAlvarez
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Hard and expensive to do no matter what the circumstances. Is mom mentally compromised? If so, you'll have better luck with the courts. If she is considered mentally competent, you won't get guardianship.

Try talking to mom about her wishes for medical treatment, dealing with finances if she is unable to handle them (I like to say "what would happen if you broke your leg and were in the hospital for months waiting for it to heal"), where she has stashed the copy of her will... Try to get her to understand that you want to fulfill her wishes, not run her life.
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Reply to Taarna
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Yes. My sister and I did. We did have POA. Often, that is not enough. It was expensive. But allowed us to do what we had to.
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I have DPOA so conservative ship was not necessary and I have medical, DNR, and trust all in place.
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Reply to slp1684
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I have apply for guardianship for my mother last February and was appointed.
Now, I have it but .... it's the hardest you will ever endeavor in your lifetime. I do not have any family help at all caring for my mother who is in AL. It's a HUGE responsibility.. draining emotionally and physically.

A good elderly attorney can review your case and let you know the "odd's" of the court granting guardianship. Be prepared to bring $$$$'s
The first time I visited the attorney, September 2018, the elderly attorney was skeptical - even though I had two (2) doctors signatures that she was incompetent, so we did not pursue at that time.

Well, as time went on my mother continued to make decisions deter-mental to her health and safety. Continuous Falls and UTI's despite 24/7 care at home.
She eventually went into a Rehab center post one of her hospital visits- I presented the Rehab facility with the paper work of incompetence. We decided it was time for AL, Well the day prior to her discharge my mom was told going to live at AL. My mother told the Rehab facility she was going to commit suicide if going to AL. She was on a 24/7 watch. The next day, another doctor deemed her competent, she was sent home, kicked out the caretaker. Next day Fell and back to hospital.
Therefore, 2nd trip to the attorney, who expedited the hearing for guardianship. It was called an "emergency" type guardianship hearing.
A person from the court visits my mom (it's called a GAL) and assesses the individual, my mom, writes a report that is presented during the court hearing.
My mom was served papers, and I went to court with attorney, explained my story and the court granted guardianship. The 'non-biases" (GAL) reported out as well during the hearing.
My mom never went to court.
Even when the person is granted guardianship "temporary", my mother had the right to appeal the decision.
She did not appeal, as I believe she really didn't understand what any of it meant.
I will be required to go back to court in one year and report out to the court.

My circumstances with my mother, the decision making for her health and well being resulted in the guardianship. Also, the attorney used an argument that the Rehab center did not recognize my authority with the sign doctors statement.

It's not easy..
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Babs75 Aug 11, 2019
You are not kidding about this being hard. Actually, dad and I do pretty good except he's too stubborn to do what he should, but the caregivers that come to his house are tough. They can report me if I'm not doing what they think I should be. I push back and push back on what they think. I don't think they give my dad enough credit. I do not wish this on anyone. My attorney has had more than one 'venting' email from me.
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I agree that these tools should only be used when absolutely necessary, but there are two mechanisms for taking over a person's care when they are unable to voluntarily surrender the decision-making: Guardianship and Conservatorship. These can be the same person, but don't have to be. Conservatorship is for money. If the incapacitated person (IP) has money and/or assets, the court will require that the conservator be bonded & will be required to file reports with the court on a regular basis. If you have any public problems (bad credit, bankruptcy, criminal record, etc), you may not qualify to be the conservator. You can hire a professional conservator if you need one. Shop around! They are not all the same. Conservators are responsible for using the IP's assets in the best interest of the IP. They Conservator has the legal right to act (as WindyRidge says) as if they are the person, but they will ultimately have to answer to the court, so all actions must be defensible as "in the best interest of..."

The Guardian makes decision about things like where the person lives, what healthcare providers they see - anything that's not related to money. The conservator basically pays the bills and safeguards the assets.

In the state where I researched this, here's what you have to do. All of this requires you to use your own money. At the end, if you "win," the court will allow you to be reimbursed for these expenses: 1) Have a doctor say the person is incapacitated. There is a form and it's not Yes/No.; 2) Hire an attorney who will exclusively represent the alleged IP; 3) Hire a guardian ad litem (GAL) who basically researches the situation; 4) Complete the paperwork; 5) Serve (like in the movies) all relevant parties: Spouses, adult children and anyone else who might have a stake; 6) Go to court for the hearing.

The GAL will have interviewed people and will have submitted a report. She/he will be at the hearing. The attorney you hired to rep the alleged IP will be there. If there is any doubt that the person is incapacitated, they will argue that this action should be denied. Of course, anyone you have served (adult children, etc) may also hire attorneys.

Here's the bottom line: If a person is truly incapacitated, this mechanism is a life-saver for them. A married couple were walking together and got hit by a car. Both were in comas, and the guardianship/conservatorship was required to continue their financial life and make decisions for their care and for their children's care.

But, the State is not going to declare a person to be incapacitated without significant evidence. Remember, adults can be stupid. That's not against the law. They can act in ways that are not in their own best interest. That's not against the law. Incapacitation is way beyond ordinary behavior that we might not agree with.

In conclusion, do it if you have to, but know that it's a BFD - morally, financially and logistically.
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Babs75 Aug 11, 2019
I would really like to move my dad to AL. I think he would thrive. I have found a great one and it would be less money than we pay for in home care several hours per day now. He is still continent, pays some bills himself, and loves to have people take him out and about in the car but he gets very little socialization. Just him and a caregiver. Lives in a dark dreary house. Eats horribly. Doesn't bathe enough. He really is a social person. Just wish he'd let me move him. I have to petition the court and I may lose. They may tell me to let him stay at home. I am going to wait until this fall to work on this further. He is doing well this summer but when the shorter days start, he will have issues again.
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Have you sat your mother down and explained what can happen to her if nobody has POA or ability to help her? Or is the dementia too far gone for her to understand? Please research this for your state - and give her the facts, hoping she is able to understand. Being a ward of the state (because your father can’t last forever) is not a good thing... If he passes and you don’t have access to the bank accounts to continue paying for assisted living, what happens? Can she do it? What if money runs out? Can YOU undertake this responsibility?
I have to be honest - I would never apply for guardianship for my parents...it’s too much. God bless those of you who do this..
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Reply to ML4444
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Why do people jump on the dementia train every time an elderly loved one doesn't conform to their rules? I see this, and ask "doesn't anyone take the time to engage conversation with their love ones anymore? Instead, they see a physician who they have already influenced to render a verdict that leaves the individual known as "the loved one" completely betrayed.
It's efficient.
The simple solution rests in allowing the " loved one" to come to their own individual conclusions regarding all matters, including the nursing home expenses.
A few days "on the street" so to speak well bring all parties concerned the answers that fit instead of the answers which are convenient.
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Reply to HisPathway77
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Dad is the Spouse and Can be in Charge of His Wife with Strife..Get him Onboard.
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Reply to Parise
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Once a person has been diagnosed with dementia and unable to make legal decisions. You would have to go to her lawyer and court to get ePOA
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Reply to muffincat
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Sounds like your mother has early stage of dementia. Paranoia. Been through this. My mother refused to sign anything at that point. She said we (her four children), could deal with "it" when she was dead and gone! Unfortunately "I" have been dealing with everything for the last 5 years! If you really want to take on this huge responsibility, you will probably have to start by having a doctor evaluate her and file paperwork with Clerk of Court to have her deemed incompetent.
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I went through the guardianship/conservator process for both parents when they were in assisted living. I had POA for both but was having trouble with a couple banks who would not accept the POA and complications had arisen regarding selling the house and property.

With guardianship there is absolutely no question about your rights to act on the protected persons behalf. You essentially ARE that person. I used a local attorney, cost about $4K, took 4 months, had to collect lots of financial and other info, then went to a simple hearing in front of a judge. It was another month before all the paperwork was filed by the court.

I then was able to deal with all issues, financial, housing, medical care, real estate etc.

I wouldn’t advise going through this unless there is no other way. If mom has property and funds in her name only it may be necessary to go the guardianship route. A letter of incompetence from a doc can usually free you up to deal with most issues other than finances and property.
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Robinchoell Aug 10, 2019
Thank you so much for your reply. I appreciate your time responding. It sounds like seeking guardianship may be the last resort.
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Start by going to your state website in order to go the legal way. The website should explain the process. You can hire an attorney and use your parents funds. What you may not know is once granted, you may have to file annual paperwork as the guardianship needs renewal every year. You can weigh this now whether there are behaviors that necessitate this or can you delay it.
If your mom becomes seriously ill, even if she does not give you POA, if she is not able to give any consent, doctors will still seek approval of the next of kin for decision making.
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Robinchoell Aug 10, 2019
Thank you for your input. I appreciate this as I am In “uncharted
waters” as far as this is concerned.
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Guardianship may need to come into play later if she has dementia and as it progresses. If you or your dad are able to get her to see her regular doc on some pretense (her "annual physical"), you can call in advance and ask for the cognitive assessment test to be performed. You will need this evidence if you pursue guardianship. She may need to be questioned privately by an attorney as well. At the doctor's office have her tested for a UTI as the elderly tend to get many and their symptoms are not always obvious physically, but can affect their minds. Antibiotics will help with an infection. If your dad's abilities diminish first to the point he can't help your mom, you will need the guardianship in order to manage care for her. Otherwise the facility may pursue it themselves and then no one has control. I'm sorry for the struggle but it is definitely not uncommon.
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Robinchoell Aug 10, 2019
Thank you so much for your insightful response. I truly appreciate all of your suggestions!
This is not a easy situation for all involved.
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If your mother has dementia, and it's advanced enough for you to be taking over key decisions for her, she can't create a POA anyway. It doesn't matter whether she's refusing or not. Forget it.

Before you apply for guardianship, though, make sure you actually need it. What do you or might you have to do for your mother that you're not already doing?
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