I seem to have a lot of questions lately, but I find this forum so helpful! My mom is 88 and is beginning to have some cognitive difficulties. Presently, she is fretting over her finances and how much she receives each month from her IRA. We go see the financial advisor, and she seems pleased, then later feels he's somehow tricked her. She doesn't like and/or believe my attempts to clarify what transpired. She refuses to let any of us three daughters take over these onerous tasks for her. We each have an equal POA, but Mom says that doesn't apply until she passes away. What happens if she becomes unconscious? If she, or as she, becomes increasingly impaired, how do we handle it. We three don't always agree -- in fact my two sisters don't speak. I am at a complete loss and feel I should consult an elder care attorney. All suggestions are welcome!

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Is there some authority figure in her life that Mom will listen to? A priest, rabbi, pastor, etc.? Her doctor? Her financial advisor? A lawyer? Or maybe not an authority figure, but some non-family member she has respected for a long time? A close friend? A man who was a close friend of her husband? Often an elderly person will listen more to someone outside of the family.

Does your mother learn by reading? If you found materials for her that explain, for example, POA, would she be apt to understand and accept that?

If she still has enough comprehension, she needs to be educated about some basics, such as the difference between a POA and an executor. POA stops upon death. POA only applies while the person is living. It is not an "honor" or a "benefit" and it has nothing to do with treating your children "fairly" It is about arranging for someone to act on your behalf in certain circumstances. Requiring three people to agree before any action can be taken is defeating the purpose and, is absolutely stupid (in my mind). When was the POA set up? Was it entirely a do-it-yourself project or did she have some advice?

Getting this straigtened out seems fairly urgent, to me. While she is still competent in the legal sense it is simple to arrange for someone to act on her behalf. If she declines to the point where she is not competent by law to set things up as she wants them, then you are stuck with the untennable committee of three, or with the need for more complicated and costly measures to establish guardianship.

What happens after her death is an entirely different issue. POA has nothing whatsoever to do with that.

Yes, you should consult an elder law attorney on your mother's behalf. Perhaps that professional will be able to educate Mother on what she needs to do to see to it that her best interests are served while she is living, and also, separately, that her three daughters have equal shares in her estate upon her death (if that is what she wants.)
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