If my parents' primary POA has recused himself and I (secondary POA) recuse myself, will the state step in to take care of them?


My dad and stepmom both have dementia and Alzheimer's. For years my family was trying to encourage them to save money and get their POAs all together. Long of the short, without telling anyone, they had their legal docs drawn up and initially made each of them each other's POA. Then the back up was her stepbrother (who no one really knows). As their health declined, we reached out to the stepbrother and he recused. Now I am next in line. Because they have clearly blown just about all of their money and have nothing as far as assets (they have a mortgage), I don't know what to do.

I received a call from Adult Protective Services stating that now that both have been deemed incapable, I have to step in ASAP and make things happen. I let her know they cannot afford a care home, will run out of money very soon (currently they are also paying for home health care), etc. She stated that me and my family will have to step up but my understanding is that in Texas, we have no financial obligation. Our family has discussed it and because I live a few hours from my parents, and because I/we cannot pay for them to be in a home and manage what happens to everything else, we agree that if possible I should recuse myself. I do not want to be their POA. If I recuse and there is no one else listed, can the state step in and take care of them? (TEXAS)

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I think you're coming at this from a slightly "off" angle.

As your father and stepmother's POA, you would represent them and act for them. You would in no way be liable to pay for them.

So Medicaid applications, researching care options, organising placements - these are the tasks that need doing, and somebody needs to do them because obviously they can't do it themselves, and the only remaining question is whether you are happy for that to be done by strangers - albeit professional strangers, who know their business and are paid to carry it out - or whether you want to be the person who makes the decisions. As far as there are any decisions to make, that is. The options may be very limited.

So to answer the question - no worries, you can resign your POA, you'd better find out and write down a list of people to notify and then go ahead and do that.

But don't do it simply because you can't fund their care. That is not part of the POA's role.
Helpful Answer (29)
Reply to Countrymouse

No one can be forced to be POA. Are you documented as one? I’m not an attorney, but I don’t believe you can be held financially responsible for their debts. If a file has been opened on them by APS, they will hopefully do what is necessary to make them wards of the state.

If I were you,I would consult with an Elder Law Attorney who is familiar with the laws in Texas. He/she can explain what you need to do to recuse yourself from POA, what papers need to be signed and how to deal with APS.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

I believe that no one can be forced to be a POA. Did you sign anything agreeing to be POA if it came to incompetence? If not, I do not see why you could be forced to do this. Just because someone "appoints you", that does not constitute your acceptance. As for officialdom, I found I had to dig, dig, dig, repeat, etc. or ask for a supervisor and do the same. Be very specific "if I refuse, which under the law I can do, what exactly happens then? Step by step, what happens? " When they say "family must step up", ask them to quote the exact law(s) requiring this, then check the references to see what they actually say. When a friend of mine was facing this kind of situation with FIL, they were trying to guilt her, family responsibility, the Waltons, etc. etc. Finally she asked them: "Are you listening? I don't care what happens to the old coot, so lets get down to brass tacks here." She was able to get some straight answers then.
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Reply to rovana

I hear you, D. These people are masters at the runaround non-answer answers. This is why we suggest getting an attorney. Attorneys know their way around people like this. They are able to get a straight answer when we cannot.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

I can not believe how often these agencies put the responsibility on families. It makes me see red.

You DO NOT NEED TO ACCEPT POA. No one can force you to step in and deal with this situation. I would tell APS that you do not want anything to do with it and it is all them. That's what that agency exists for, they seem to think it's just so they get a paycheck and benefits. Let them know under no uncertain terms you are not going to jump in and rescue these 2 adults. It is a horrid situation but if you are not able, willing or ... then be firm and give it to APS, they should know all the proper procedures to ensure something happens quickly. Yes, the state will assign a guardian and be responsible for them if no one steps up to accept responsibility.

I hope that makes sense.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Have you specifically asked APS whether Texas would assume care of your parents if you decline to act as proxy?
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Reply to GardenArtist

You're thinking like a responsible person who pays their bills, etc. You tried and appear to continue to try to make them financially responsible, as well. Time to throw the switch. This happens all the time when there are no children to handle things. If the mortgage and is
aren't paid, the bank will handle the sale of the house from there and medicaid will deal with the bank. At this stage, bad credit won't matter. Do what you can live with.
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Reply to Jpatootie

Thank you all for your feedback. In Texas there is no filial law (thank God) which many states have the require adult children to care for their parents.

Here's the thing. I love my Dad very much. My stepmom too, but she has made things very difficult these last few years and believes they are loaded rich (which they definitely are not). But her resistance of the last few years to let us help them to set a budget, save money, etc has be a huge hurdle and now they literally have very little left. They will be broke soon. They live off social security, have no retirement and don't even have medicaid which I have begging her to let me fill out the paperwork and have her sign a form to apply on their behalf. She refused. So here we are.

Adult Protective Services advised me that they spoke with my parents physician (who has been less than helpful to us until now) and he is now ready to sign off that they are incapable of finances, medical decisions, etc. When he does that I am automatically POA. The APS workers has advised that I must remove the car (which should be done by someone no matter what because my stepmom insists she is allowed to drive), either ensure they have home health care based on the hours the doctor thinks they need (which is costly and part of why their account is almost drained), or place them in a home...all while ensuring all of their medical needs are met, finances are in order etc. So I explained they cannot afford it and she said family will have to step in. But I know we are not obligated. And even if we get them into a home, their mortgage has to be paid until the house sells. The house needs work which will cost money, and they only bought the house about 4 years ago. Based on condition it's not likely they have much if any equity and if they do, it would only pay for a realtor...if that. So managing their living expenses and their bills with their limited funds is not possible.
Again, on top of that I live about 3 hours away, have a full time career and family. I feel selfish in some way, but I cannot manage that situation.

My family and I agree, recusing is probably the best option for them...but I need to know that the state will step in.
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Reply to DSully

Have you seen the papers assigning you POA? Your parents should qualify for Medicaid. Their SS will go to their care. I had a lawyer for Moms house. Medicaid will not allow parents funds to be used on the house. They do not guarantee reimbursement for upkeep on the house. So, I was told not to pay taxes or insurance on the house. If my nephew had not lived there, I would have shut the utilities off. I had Moms house for sale as is.
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Reply to JoAnn29

You don’t want to be POA, I understand that and why. But go ahead and pay the attorney fee so you can get answers and move on otherwise you’re going in circles. It’s better to do that, then be POA or have to deal with nimwits at the agency. As far as the house I agree with the poster...don’t pay taxes, insurance or the mortgage. Let it foreclose since you’re saying it’s not going to give them any equity. That is what they would had to end up doing too. If you don’t have POA you have no authority to sell it.
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Reply to Harpcat

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