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Our Dr. (psychiatrist) printed out POA documents for us and told us that when I felt it was necessary to enforce this (husband has dementia) I should call him and the POA would be activated. Is this all I need to do?

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I will just point out one very bad experience to avoid:

Someone needs a POA or Guardianship. They have dementia or Alzheimer's. You are told by attorneys, I didn't say all, that because they have this mental condition, they cannot assist you with it, that you waited too long.

However, the truth is you can obtain in many states a durable power of attorney even though the person has AD. It can be crushing to find this out too late. Quite often the person has many lucid moments and always remembers you in their past and so forth. You will find this in law books, if you cannot get a lawyer to state it. I recommend you keep looking till you find a lawyer who will help you get a Durable POA. I'm assuming you would be qualified for it under the law.

I was a caregiver for 25 years. It's horrible to see people try to assign 100% mental disability to somebody who can recognize you, talk about all her siblings, mom and dad, grandparents, her favorite songs. We need more good lawyers out there willing to fight for what is right and fear about it be damned.

It's time to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. NOW!
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Reply to RichCapableSon
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So my husband's sister got a POA for their mother without telling anyone and she refuses to show us the document or when it was signed. She lived with us for 4 years before being placed in memory care. We took car eof her medically, financially and emotionally. Now we have no say on anything. I don't think she was lucid enough to sign the POA and the only recourse we would have is to get a lawyer. Is there a way to request a copy of the POA without a lawyer?? The Nursing home cannot share it.
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Reply to Pataepa
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Geaton777 Nov 14, 2022
I asked my own elder law attorney this questiion and he said to engage a CELA (certified elder law attorney) for the state in which your mom resides and they will start by writing a letter saying that if the PoA paperwork is not disclosed to interested parties then it will be pursued in court to force them to show it. The hope is that the threat alone will get them to show it.
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From Baltimore again. Question is how long does the Person retain all of his legal rights. There is no loss of legal rights here in Maryland by the appointment of a POA mainly because this process does not go through the Court System. Loss of one's legal rights can occur, as an example, through the Court process for Guardianship of the estate which entails no loss of one's right to handle his own Personal affairs. Or the Court could award a Guardian of the Person with no loss of the person's right to handle his own estate. Plenary Guardianship is where the Person is at risk of loss of all of his legal rights. The guiding principle should be the question as to what is the least restrictive process to use which allows the Person to exercise participation is as much of the decision making process as possible for him or her.
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Reply to johnawheeler
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Be aware a POA ends when the party dies. You won't be able to use their bank accounts. You need to get an Executive order putting you in charge when they pass, or ensure you are 'on' their accounts.
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Reply to BHrzenak
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I was told by an attorney if they have are lucid and can tell the you what is going on for that short time get the paperwork in order to get it signed. But if they can't there is nothing that you can do, I know this because with my BIL we didn't get that POA paperwork signed and right now I am on every financial bank acct he has so I can withdraw out money for his place in a nursing home in memory care. I pulled out all of his IRA CD's to pay for the nursing home until we get him back on Medicaid. I also learned that his pension along with his social security will be paid to that nursing home for his room. All I will get to pay the bills is $50 and that won't pay them all. So Medicaid allows you to have $2000 on hand that is all he can have well that money won't last forever so I know now the family will have to step up to help him out. He likes his diet pepsi and snacks. Also has a cell phone and a room phone after 6 months won't have the cell phone unless some family member wants him to have it. His room phone is at least $42 and his life ins is $11. And my BIL has pride still he likes paying for his own stuff when he is away from the nursing home now he can't get into any of his accts. And the other family members don't understand so I will be turned in again to DHS for mishandling of his money. I was turned in before for not letting them get to his medical and another time for letting him go places out of his apartment. Both times it was unfounded but the family likes turning me in.
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Reply to Babs2013
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My attorney drafted a POA for all medical decisions and another one for all financial matters as soon as my sister moved in with us, when she was exhibiting signs of Alzheimers but could "pass" as lucid enough to sign the documents. As others have said, the more compromised your loved one, the greater the chance that the POA can be challenged. I used the POA for many matters while my sister was both alive and after she passed away. I urge everyone to get a POA for your loved ones ASAP. It doesn't mean that you have to USE it; just that you have it if/when you need it. It also puts to rest the issue of who has the ultimate decision-making authority in the family.
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Reply to SusanFeig
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Call the psychiatrist right away. Get an eldercare attorney. POA works only if your husband was of sound since dementia invalidates documents.
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Reply to Patathome01
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Good luck, we were also handed the POA papers by dementia clinic at initial diagnosis and ended up going around in circles for 3 years until Mum got much worse (too late now). Still going through process for guardianship and waiting for another specialist appointment first and being bounced around (2 appointments were cancelled as no interpreter found). The lawyers wanted assessment of Mums capacity (despite dementia clinic handing out the forms) and he GP’s wanted nothing to do with it and said it needs to be a specialist that determines. Which was baffling as she was handed the papers by the specialist to complete. Aka no one would sign off on them. I wish I would have pushed harder now at the start and waltzed back into the specialist without an appointment but it was during start of covid. If you have a good psychiatrist willing to do the forms, do it now. But sounds like you may have already done them if the dr said to just call.
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Reply to Cappuccino42
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indubuque: See an elder law attorney.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Get with a competent elder care attorney licensed in your State! This is not something to guess at and each State is slightly different. But as others have indicated this is not just a "print if off the internet" thing and call to execute. A well-drafted POA for your State laws need to be created and notarized! Some states have boiler plate "Advanced Directive" documents so you can make medical decisions for your LO if/when needed, better than nothing; but a medical POA properly drafted for your State is better. The signing and notarizing of these documents is done in-person in most States although some States may still allow for "remote" execution given COVID. That said, in-person is the best approach so there are no questions or challenges later.

A durable financial POA is critical to allowing you upon execution of the documents (signed/notarized) to step in and take over on all financial matters. This give you rights to bank account management if NOT on joint accounts now. Ditto for retirement-related accounts (Social Security, pension, 401K, IRA, etc.) so that if you need to take minimum distributions or use the funds for care, you may do that. This allows you to sign and file State and Federal taxes on their behalf. To sell any asset (home, car, stocks/bonds, CD, any other tangible asset) that may need to be sold in order to generate funds for your LO's care. To make funeral arrangements, to pay lawyers (such as the elder care lawyer hired to execute these documents or to handle any Medicaid applications as needed or end of life planning: Will, Trusts, etc.).

The media POA allows you to take charge of your LO's medical care; which doctors are or are not part of the care team, where your LO resides (which nursing home, memory care facility, etc. and so sign any admission paperwork for such facilities), to agree to medical procedures and/or tests OR NOT, or when to end life sustaining care and instead move to hospice or only palliative care.

Without these documents properly executed for your State's laws and before a dementia diagnosis generally (in most States) is rendered are imperative to allowing you to essentially take over on all matters for your LO.

For both documents a successor can be also named. So if you get hit by a buss, and are no longer able to do this, serve as your LO's agent in these matters, then who then takes over? An adult child, the attorney (another option) or other person?

Talk with your area agency on aging or a quality Medicare/Medicaid memory care facility business office staff (they tend to know who the reputable players are in the elder care legal space) or your State Bar Assn to see who is a practicing elder care attorney who handles these matters, as well as Medicaid long term care nursing home coverage qualification (if that might need to come into play) and other end of life estate planning matters.

Good luck with this.
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Reply to Sohenc
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1. Talk to a certified eldercare attorney asap;
2. Get two POAs: Medical POA and financial POA. They are not the same.

If your spouse has already been diagnosed with dementia, it may be difficult to get a POA, because it could be argued in court that your spouse is not able to appoint a rep due to the illness.

Good luck.
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Reply to Worriedspouse
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It sounds like the doctor already had documents that had already been signed by your husband? Is that what happened?

A DURABLE power of attorney becomes active the day it is signed. It does not need to be approved at a later date. The 'agent' (also known as 'attorney in fact') named in the document can immediately start performing actions and making decisions in the place of the impaired person.

A SPRINGING power of attorney becomes active when a doctor gives a diagnosis that the person is cognitively incapacitated and can no longer conduct their own affairs.

A DURABLE power of attorney is going to be more useful and convenient. If documents have not already been signed, get a durable power of attorney. Go to a real lawyer for that, not a doctor.

In order for a lawyer to draw up the document, your husband needs to be oriented enough to understand he is in a lawyer's office and understand that the document he is signing gives you the ability to conduct transactions in his name.

The lawyer will not ask to see any medical proof of your husband's mental status. The lawyer uses their own professional judgement based on your husband's behavior in the lawyer's office that day.

Before your husband signs anything, you make sure the document has all the language you need, giving the 'agent' (you) as much authority as possible to conduct all types of transactions and make all types of decisions. For that, you might be looking at 10 pages detailing all types of transactions.

You should contact the lawyer first, on your own, to specify what you want. The lawyer should email you a draft to read before bring your husband in to sign.

Then think about what will help your husband go along with the process. A male or female lawyer? A large formal office (looks legit but could feel intimidating), or a smaller informal office (nice casual atmosphere, friendly people).

The day before you bring your husband to the lawyer to sign the document, get him a haircut, a new shirt. Make sure he's carrying a wallet like a competent person (even if there are only discount cards in the wallet).

Good luck.
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Reply to Beekee
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My mom and dad had there durable poa and living will drawn up just a couple of months before my dad fell and eventually ending up in the nursing home. Yes you can do it on your own but at least in our case the nursing home or hospice really wouldn’t take it unless it was done by a lawyer. I would also like to add that my sister still had to sign a dnr because the nursing home would not just except the living will. I agree with the others you should get some type of legal advice elder lawyer would really be the best especially if there are any financial issues. Wishing you the best
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Reply to Horseshoemama6
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The Alzheimers Association suggested we get a POA as well as a diagnosis for my brother when he began to show signs of early onset dementia. We went to an elder law attorney who prepared the POA as well as an advanced directive and a HIPPA form. It’s important to do this while the person has relatively clear thinking so they understand what it’s for. I explained to my brother that it was a paper saying that I had his permission to do everything that I’d been doing—handling his affairs. He understood this.

The POA was incredibly important. It gave permission to the doctors, hospitals and all health care providers for me to make decisions on his behalf for his care. It also was necessary for the bank and even the utility company and when his daughter (23 years old) was trying to get his car titled to her. My niece was secondary POA and my other brother third. She lives in the same area as he was—I live 1600 miles away. So when it came time to arrange for the cremation and hospice care, I’d be on speaker phone as she was signing the paperwork. Taking care of your loved one would be a train wreck if you didn’t have a POA. I think it’s a good idea to have more than one POA listed.
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Reply to katepaints
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I am writing from Baltimore Maryland. Here a court appointed Guardian (CAG) has power over the POA. In practice the Person continues to be His own legal guardian if there is no CAG. Even with a POA it is expected that the Person will also be consulted when the POA acts on his behalf because the Person is the final decision maker. The POA is subject to no one but the Person and to how the POA is written. There is a Durable POA that one may undertake should a situation arise where the Person is no longer able to make decisions. Both a POA and a Durable POA is enforceable in Court
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Reply to johnawheeler
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Worriedspouse Nov 12, 2022
Are you sure that CAG overrides POA?

POA occurs BEFORE the person is incapacitated and s/he appoints someone to represent them on their behalf when needed.

CAG occurs AFTER the person has been found incapacitated by 2 doctors and has no POA. The court then appoints a lawyer to be that person’s CAG.

The two legal tools are executed at two different points in time, depending on the person’s situation. If anything, the POA has power over CAG, not the other way around.

Maybe there are certified estate planning attorneys in here to educate us all.
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Basically go to the bank and get it signed and notarized and your psychiatrist will back it up
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Reply to KNance72
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I have learned that many can get their money's worth with our Elder Law Attorneys by setting up our own paperwork right alongside our elders or spouse. You get educated on the first person and then doing our own is much easier. Be smart, get a twofer.
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker
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Talk to an attorney.
Every state may (likely) is different.
I believe many here will tell you this.
If finances are an issue, there are 'legal aid' in some counties that could help.
* Talk to your bank / investment institutions. They have their own forms, too" (or might).

FYI: While I am a POA for a friend, the VA doesn't recognize it as an official legal document so I needed to become his fiduciary which seems to have more / other safety procedures in place to protect the intended person being cared for.
I know I should end a sentence with a preposition ...

Gena
Touch Matters
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Reply to TouchMatters
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Do it now. Don’t wait. We had this done with a family friend attorney just in time. A few months after dad was not able to sign his name or understand a lot anymore. Glad we did it when we did. Make sure you also have the health advocate and DNR paperwork in order. God bless.
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Reply to Skelly1230
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You should consult a lawyer. that's not how it worked for me. My dad signed the forms when he was able-minded. and as soon as he wasn't i used my POA as and when necessary. You should have the docs.
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Reply to naomijulia
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I’m not exactly sure what the psychiatrist is telling you but they are definitely telling you it’s time to get the legal documents in order. If this just recently happened and this is the doctor seeing your husband for his dementia (I imagine there is a neurologist involved too) I would ask what they want you to do with the documents now and ask if it isn’t too late. Normally I would agree that this is better handled by an attorney who deals with elder law but if there isn’t a family attorney that knows your husband to do this and the doctor is trying to tell you your husbands diagnosis and cognitive ability may not pass muster with an attorney who doesn’t know him they may very well be trying to help by suggesting you just do the cookie cutter paperwork that’s allowed in your state and come to them to enforce the durable or springing portion because they do feel comfortable with the situation.

If on the other hand you already have some of these documents in place they may be telling you that your husband has reached the threshold for using the durable or springing POA and they will verify this with the form he handed you whenever you want or need. Again I would get clearer on what he is actually saying and suggesting before taking any other steps and this may require asking him the questions rather than expecting him to tell you all the specifics for some legal reason too. Maybe he’s telling you to get these things covered without saying it so as not to agitate your husband, it’s just hard to say. A treating psychiatrist is not the typical person to set these things up so it seems obvious to me that this doctor is trying to help you and communicate the importance of timing here.
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Reply to Lymie61
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Something sounds not right from ur description...but it may be the description not the doc action.
There r many POA.. they can be customized. They r state dependent... There is a health care POA. And I concerned u not have the financial resources for laywer?
Call 2-1-1 to talk to someone who can direct u to local resources u need.
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Reply to baileyif
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Indub, I don't know why I didn't see your post when it first came along, but I sure want to echo what MJ has said. I myself would take your papers, wherever they are (most wills have a Spring DPOA in them, most Trusts, so look for that in yours and your hubby's papers) to an Elder Law Attorney. There ask about what you have and what you need. If there isn't already a POA written then--if your hubby is incapable of understanding conferring said duty upon you--it may be too late to do one. If there is one, the attorney will help you understand how all of this works. Keep clear records, mostly. And follow the Spring POA instructions of the documents you need to become POA. But definitely pay for the advice of an attorney. Be certain to say you are coming for an hour or more of time, with questions for said attorney.
You can find out a lot online by researching POA under your own state as rules vary state to state.
I surely wish you good luck.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Spend the money to get a paralegal or estate attorney to do these correctly. You should both be doing POAs (you obviously should grant it to someone other than your husband), and there are durable POAs for finacial things like bank accounts and medical POAs for medical decisions. You should be getting both for him and granting both to someone you trust for you with back-ups named, too.

In California where I am, they need to be notarized, too, so you don't just sign one and you're good to go.

Banks in particular are very fussy about POAs and want you to use their paberwork, so get to your bank and deal with it now, too. (You still do your own POA, but just make sure the bank is OK with what you've got.)

If your husband can't understand what he's signing, then it's all moot and he can't grant POA, but you still need it for yourself, so get them done.

My folks waited a tad too long to do all of that and my mom wasn't 100% competent, but not obviously so. She was able to say she wanted Dad and me to oversee her care. Their attorney knew them well enough to realize that none of us were trying to steal their money or wanted anything but to care for them, so he did the POAs with me as my dad's (he was fine healthwise) and as the back-up for my mom. It was a good thing, too, as Dad was the one who died first, so I was able to take over Mom's care seamlessly.
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Reply to MJ1929
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In, are these documents you and husband provided prior to the dementia getting worse? Or are these fill in the blanks POAs?

Here is your challenge if the answer is fill in the blanks. For your husband (principal) to grant you (agent) a DPOA he must be able to understand what he is signing at the time he signs it. You CAN NOT sign it, not if you will be his agent. That is per the Iowa (paraphrased) Statute. Chapter 633B.

I recommend that you go to www.legis.Iowa.gov and search CH 633B it is 25 pages of your states laws that explain how your POA laws work. It sounds daunting but, it is a pretty easy read.

Thankfully you have a doctor that is willing to help you. I would trust the documents he gave you, this obviously isn't his first rodeo.

Reading the laws governing your responsibility as POA will give you confidence in handling this role and I have found that to be immensely valuable as so many people think they know and make your life hard.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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its all good, boyfriend did my taxes last year and h and r block required the poa papers. we live together 20 yrs.
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Reply to lovelyliz
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bank got suscpious when boyfriend wrote a 10,000 check for my funeral so would not cash it until i came home and went with him in a wheelchair to re sign a signature varification card in front of bank mger and poa papers. used them also to do my taxes,
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Reply to lovelyliz
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i had a stroke and was in a nursing home for awhile. boyfriend took the poa to do my banking over and prebought by funeral arrangements and had to go to bank with poa papers and prove his signature and bought my health care proxy and poa papers to nursing home. we are not married.
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Reply to lovelyliz
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I live in Texas have both a Statutory Durable POA and a Medical POA for my mom. Each are worded specific to the duties and criteria required with no limitations in place. Mine states that my power is not dependent on any disability or incapacity so that I didn’t have to have a doctor designate her incompetent. I strongly recommend hiring a good lawyer to go over all the wording and specifics as it does make a huge difference once you have to activate it.
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Reply to campbec
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The names of POA types are different from state to state.

Here they is "Standing" (good as soon as signed) and "Springing" (requires some threshold to be met before it is activated).
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Reply to gladimhere
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KPWCSC Nov 12, 2022
Thanks for that insight I had never heard of that before... however, I know some have tried to interpret POAs as "springing" when the intent was "standing" and refused to recognize them. So it would be good for everyone to verify what they really have in their hands and know how to best use them when advocating for their loved ones. This would be particularly important when there are family members who want to interfere. This is why it is so worthwhile to have an attorney specializing in elder law who stays up to date on the latest law changes. Our attorney has told us that our older documents were still legal, but laws had been updated to clarify and close up a lot of loopholes that would allow misuse.
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