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My 91 years mother has dementia and is in a nursing home under Medicare Rehab. She has $5000 life insurance that I need to cash out and pre-pay funeral expenses in order to apply for Medicaid when the rehab days runs out. Insurance Company says I need DPOA to do this. I also have to apply for Guardianship according to the nursing home. She has only been out of the home for one month and we never thought she wouldn't be able to live at home. I'm lost at what I should be doing first.

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For guardianship, the petitioner (that's you) would need to front ALL the costs to go through the process. By & large guardianship costs, probably somewhere between 5K - 15K and then all the reporting afterwards. The $ 150.00 filing is just the start of the costs. IF you are awarded guardianship, then from their assets you can be reimbursed.

It sounds like you have been rapidly thrust into having to do all this, kinda working in crisis mode. Would that be a fair assessment?

If so, Couple of things to mull over:
- mom is on rehab, which means that MediCARE is paying. Now the first 21 days is 100% Medicare paid. After that MediCARE will continue to pay if she is "progressing" in her rehab - Medicare pays 80% with 20% private pay or her secondary insurance. As long as she is good for Medicare, you don't need to apply for Medicaid. To buy yourself some time in all this, please do whatever you can to have mom qualify to stay "progressing" on rehab. It can go to 100 days too - it helps mom & also buys you time. NH gets like triple payment from Medicare paid for beds, so they are happy too. I'd speak with the rehab PT, OT to see how she is doing, then you and other family do what you can to keep her "progressing".
I've found that its a rare family to actually speak with the PT OT guys, they do have some degree of discretion in how reporting is done…….comprende?

as others have said 5K insurance becomes prepaid NCV (no cash value) funeral & burial.May not cover average burial, you have to get one so that it does.

Now about the guardianship/conservatorship, it is not simple. I have not been a G/C but executrix twice and spend more hours in probate court where G/C also are heard, here's my take on G/C issues:
- the court need to be assured that you are fit to be G/C. So if you do not have your own source of dedicated income (job, secure retirement), you may not be named. If you have bad credit, tax issues, felony record, etc, you may not be named. They can run a background report on you. Ditto if anyone within your household have these issues. If other family show up for the hearing, everybody needs to be 100 & 1% kumbaya that you are to be the guardian. Any family infighting, you all are toast. What the probate judge is likely to do, if there are ANY issues, is to place mom with a temporary G/C. The court has a whole list of vetted & approved G/C and they get mom. Back when I was executrix, years ago, the law firms would have a paralegal sit the day in the courtroom to get anything that needed to be awarded, now it's all on a list for the judge to do in 1 click. So think about if there are any issues in your or your spouses' background.

Once you become G/C, there will be required reporting. It's not so much complex as time consuming as you have to document all spending. You may need to have court approval to do bigger ticket items too. You may have to actually appear in court to present your report. And do all this for the rest of your elders life. If you don't live in the county, you have to do all this where the court is. A judge can decline to name you if you don't live within his jurisdiction too - they rule their courtroom and you want to really pay attention & respect to the judge. They are also the best looking person in the room even if they look like Jabba the Hut.

Often for family, being a G/C is just too much for whatever reasons. Then mom can become a "ward of the state" with a court appointed G/C. It doesn't mean that you are barred from her life, but that someone else has to deal with her financials, etc. It could be a way to do things best.

If you could get mom to be cognitive enough to sign off on a POA, that would be the simplest solution around all this. I'd ask the social worker for a short list of attorney's who may have come to the NH/rehab for others. Those are likely to be more flexible to work with. Be sure to check to see if POA needs to have outside witnessed &/or notarized for validity in your state. The NH staff cannot be witnesses nor can family. Good luck & keep a sense of humor going.
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Schedule an appointment with an Elder law attorney as soon as possible. They can provide you with guidance through this situation. If your mother is already incompetent (legally) then she cannot give you power of attorney. Guardianship should allow you to take the steps you need.
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Did you agree to take responsibility for her admission and bills?

Before you take on a guardianship have a good talk with your own lawyer.
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We had a doctor verify my parents were competient to make the decision to update their DPOA. Even within moderate dementa, a doctor can determine if they understand the right they are assigning. This will be much easier than guardianship.
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Both previous comments offer very good advice. An Elder Law attorney is your best option. If you feel that guardiansho is more than you want to take on after talking Dothan attorney a guardian will be appointed by the courts.
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You can only get DPOA if your mom's dementia is mild enough that she is still competent.

You can only get guardianship for your mom is two doctors have said that she is not competent.

Thus, the grounds for each are mutually exclusive and I fail to see reasoning behind you needing both right now. because you can't get both at the same time given the qualifications for each.

If you have to pursue guardianship, it will cost about $5,000;.

Is your mother against the idea of going to a nursing home?
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Contact an attorney, and yes if the dementia is mild enough you can still obtain the DPOA. Guardianship does cost and I am unaware of any source that would help pay for the fees. I have had attorney's speak with the client with dementia and if mild enough will complete the DPOA. If you use the life insurance policy for a prepaid burial it will not count as an asset. You may only need to re-assign the beneficiary, which would be the funeral home. Make sure you receive quarterly statements from the burial account. An attorney will be able to guide you.
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For a Guardianship in FLA you need to pay a doctor, caseworker, psychologist, lawyer and court costs ($15-20,000). DPOA is a better choice. Always sign your name with DPOA on anything concerning your mom to avoid your personal financial liability for moms contracts and invoices.
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Thanks for the useful information Igloo 572. I believe her to be cognitive to handle a DPOA and will find someone to notorize at the NH along with outside witness. She's 35 days into her 100 available Medicare days. Just seems simpler as she only has the life insurance I need to take care of.
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Go to the funeral home you wish to use. Speak to a counselor about the pre-arrangements you wish to choose. Take a copy of the insurance she has. Arrange an "irrevocable" trust. (That means you cant cash it in.) A privately owned funeral home or cemetery uses an insurance company to fund their contracts. A national one, like SCI Corp (listed under different names in you local phone book- usually "Dignity" Memorial as a logo, is a trust funded contract. Bring Mom's life insurance, they can start a file for her with all pertinent documents. You can put down the least minimum to get that started, they will apply the insurance as payment when she passes. You will probably have to pay a monthly stipend, it can be linked to mom's bank account, presuming she still has social security. This avoids the death-care question. Apply for medicaid NOW anyway, even without the guardianship: she may qualify for share-of-cost right now. Example: share of cost may be 1300.00. If maximum total out of pocket for any one given month (all docs, meds, etc.) is $2900, patient is liable for FIRST 1300, MEDICARE WILL PICK UP THE REST. You won't have to turn over the insurance to the nursing home or any creditor IF you change the beneficiary on the policy to the funeral home, linked to that irrevocable contract. (I was a death care counselor for nine years, and care for Mom, 91, in my home. My sister -out of state- has DPOA. Go figure.)
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