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I was a caretaker/POA for my parents until my father passed a few months ago. Mom has dementia and recently allowed her niece to convince her to change her POA. I took time away from my job of 15 years to travel back and forth, as I live several hours away, to assist them with appointments, develop relationships with all their doctors, handle their affairs, etc. Once father passed away, the niece swooped in and acted as if she was so concerned about our well being and wanted to help since I still travel to and from. Little did I know that every time I was away for a few days/weeks, she was convincing mom to change legal documents. I believed she lured her by convincing her that we (the adult children/grandchildren) didn't care about her and if we did, we would be there. Mom can live on her own, but just cant manage things day to day (bills, appointments, remembering day to day) and I see her dementia progressing. She clearly doesn't trust us anymore and accuses us of stealing her money, wanting to sell her property and cars. We all know the niece isn't doing this in mom's best interest just for what she can gain in the future. She has also stopped communicating with us and comes around mom more when we're not around but she's already exceeded in isolating mom. I thought an attorney in the next town was giving me sound advice, but soon realized I need an Elder Law attorney to provide the expertise I need. We decided not to seek counsel in the same town because it's very small and the attorneys appear to be friends and often work together though they shouldn't. The niece used an attorney that mom has used over the years to also gain her trust. This entire ordeal is costing us unnecessary money that we don't have but more so our relationship with mom as she declines. There has to be something that can be done about people/family that takes advantage of your elderly love ones.

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One side note: when a person passes POA is automatically invalidated. You could setup a Living Trust and (as the other poster said) make yourself executor so at least you could usurp the niece later. You'd want to make the Trust as beneficiaries of the accounts to mitigate probate. Also Grant Deed for real estate. I realize this doesn't solve the immediate issue but would avoid the mess and costs of probate. There's a good book on making your own Living Trust with fill-in-the-forms in the back here: https://amzn.to/2DjOrQa
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Reply to commander
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Hi there, so about "free or low cost elder attorneys"...

I know there is a program for this where I live. There is a legal association that provides lawyers for those who need help with all-things-probate and elder care related for no cost. It's locally organized and funded, though.

Make inquiries at your local court records place, or the local probate court to see if there is anything similar in your area.
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SweetCarolina18 Nov 1, 2018
Thanks AliBoBali..I will check into this. Greatly appreciated!
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You file for guardianship. Really that’s the only way to legally ensure that only you have access and control of persons situation.

But if your mom seems kinda competent& cognitive, judge is likely not to grant it.

Hmmm, but I’m wondering if you might just might approach this from a different angle. So your dad died recently, right? so what is happening with his estate? Was there a will and who was named Executor in his will? If there’s a will naming one of the kids as Executor I’d suggest you open probate. Often with couples, everything passes to the surviving spouse so probate doesn’t need to be opened but it can be if family wants to. (When my dad died, everything went to my mom, she didn’t need to do Probate to get access to $ or change title stuff but she decided to do probate as dad had long ago estranged kids from prior marriage that he quite deliberately left out of his will and she wanted the will and his intentions to be a known fact which probate does as it’s all public). So if your dad had a will, you can open probate & if your named Executor as per the will that’s fabulous as you have an all access pass to everything; if it’s mom thats named Executor, you petition court to have his probate done as a dependent administration (so everything needs court oversight) and that should stop cousin from taking advantage and you can get copies or downloads of all assets & debt filed to get your Nancy Drew or Veronica Mars on to see where $ is going or went to.

To do this you’ll need an atty’s that have a practice that does both estate planning (NAELA or CELA level) and probate. If your Executor, you can access everything & have pretty wide powers; dependent administration more complicated but in either case you get the estate planning side of the law firm to set up $ from the Estate for mom in a Special Needs Trust so it’s only for her needs and care and your or the NAELA atty as the Trustee. Cuts cousin out of the equation. Think if this could possibly be an option. It will have costs but will be less costly than finding mom in a few years impoverished & needing LTC Medicaid and your stuck with gifting penalty for $ Mom “gave”to her niece.
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SweetCarolina18 Nov 1, 2018
Thanks igloo572 but the niece worked pretty quickly in getting her hands on things. My father was close to doing his will but passed away before we got to it.
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