What do you do when your MIL in assisted living decides she wants to overthrow the POA? - AgingCare.com

What do you do when your MIL in assisted living decides she wants to overthrow the POA?

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Yesterday we learned that several of her church members, who have been picking her up on Sundays for services, bought her a tablet computer and internet access. She didn't want us to know about it. Hubby went to visit her this morning, and then had a chat with the director. She has been telling everyone that we are holding her prisoner there, stealing her money. Director said that these church members are going to take her to an attorney and overturn the POA because we are mistreating her. She is trying to get credit cards again - she LIVED on credit cards before she broke her hip last summer (credit is frozen, thankfully), wanting to quit meds and take supplements again, etc. There are limited funds in her account until we can get her house sold. She is nearly broke due to poor money management and all those credit cards we paid off and cancelled.
Is it time to ask for an incompetency hearing, or hand the finances over to the attorney and let him deal with everything? My husband and I are ready to throw in the towel.

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Thanks everyone for your feedback. You are right, Eyerishlass, that handling money poorly does not make her incompetent. She doesn't have a sense of handling real money, though, because she is in the habit of paying all her purchases by credit card, paying part of it at the end of the month, and repeating the process the next month. When she moved down here, she had almost $100K in the bank. In about 2 years she managed to go through almost $66k of that. That's when we convinced her to put some of it in an annuity so she wouldn't go broke, or she'd be in even worse shape now.

She had four credit cards with large balances when she fell and broke her hip. We used the time that she was in rehab to pay off those balances so she could start with a clean slate when she got out of rehab, moved her into a nice little ground floor apartment with all her treasures. 17 days later, the Life Alert folks called us and said she was not responding after she pushed the panic button. She had had a series of seizures and laid in the hallway for five hours before she roused enough to push the button for help. Then we learned that she had stopped taking her anti seizure meds, her blood pressure meds, and her insulin as soon as she got out of rehab.

It was then that we felt she needed to be in assisted living. She has less than $16K left in annuity funds, and even though there is some social security and a small pension, those two checks are not enough to pay the monthly fee at the facility. We are afraid the money won't last until we can sell her house for her.

Her name is only on two small accounts that receive the direct deposits from Social Security and the pension; then we transfer them into the operating account that her name is not on, and pay all bills from there. The attorney and accountant advised us to do that when we had to withdraw her annuity funds in order to pay her bills.
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Not always, Jeanne, but I prefer to act on the assumption that there are far more ignorant and credulous good people in the world than there are cunning malicious ones. Or does that make me too dewy-eyed?!

And it's true I haven't met many stupid clergymen or women. Possibly I just haven't sought enough spiritual guidance.

Pam as I understand it the cared-for lady's funds are already in hand, no? So if the congregants are just out to pinch her money they've wasted a perfectly good tablet computer, then. I suspect they've rushed in where angels fear to tread and swallowed her nasty stories about her son whole and without chewing them over first.
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RED FLAG those church members. Call an attorney immediately and get Guardianship. RED FLAG all bank accounts. You are witnessing a cyber heist in progress. Hope you caught it in time.
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I'd get dr to evaluate her and get diagnosis on record. Consult with dr in advance or document your concerns and mail to him. If he says she has dementia or isn't competent to make good decisions, get him to write letter so you can invoke DPOA (if one already exists). Then you can restrict what she is capable of doing, for example credit cards. You can even restrict visitation of certain church members.

Would she be interested in going to a new church? Is there a pastor at the AL that can spend more time with her?

Other than that, nothing you can do. I would tell her in no uncertain terms that if she removes you from POA and continues to lie about you to others that you will no longer visit or care for her, that lack of trust will sever your relationship; then stay away for awhile and refuse calls. I've had to do that with my mom as she has attempted to hold me hostage with Will and POA threats. I encourage her to call the lawyer and do it and kiss me goodbye. These are all idle threats from her. It has curtailed her threats and saying bad things to me or others. In fact she hasn't done it in a while.
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You are so right, Eyerishlass, handling her finances poorly doesn't make her incompetent. If that were the case there would not be enough competent people around to run the country!

Countrymouse, I envy you living in a world where people who belong to churches are always well-intentioned and pastors are always smart enough to see through murky situations. Wish I did.

Jellybean, if MIL is found to be incompetent your husband may be able to become her guardian. (The church may fight you on that ...) I would think long and hard about whether I wanted that responsibility. If you do, fine, problem solved. If she is not judged incompetent or you do not want to be her guardian, then I suppose she'll go to her lawyer and have a new POA named.

In any case, it sounds like determining her competency (in the legal sense) is the first step. And that will involve getting medical opinions.
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Your husband could also have a quiet word with the pastor of your mother's church, perhaps. These people probably have the best and kindest of intentions when they set about helping your MIL to wreak all this havoc. A little education about dementia might do a great deal to make them think before they act.
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Have her doctor evaluate her for dementia and have that diagnosis put on her record, if he so finds. Then go for guardianship. I would never turn over family's financials to an attorney. Nothing he's going to do that I can't do cheaper. Save MILs money for her assisted living facility, not management fees.

I'd also advise calling the attorney she's likely to use (probably the one who drew up the one in place) and tell him you're having her evaluated for dementia, and that her church friends may be facilitating her (in good faith) to change her POA. You have now put HIM, at least, on notice that your MIL may not be competent. I'd say he's going to have a hard time drawing up a new POA while that diagnosis is pending.
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Handling her finances poorly doesn't make her incompetent.
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If your MIL doesn't have dementia I think it would be difficult to obtain guardianship and/or prove that she's incompetent. Not having dementia, she can say whatever she wants to whomever she wants. It sounds like she has the church ladies snowed.

Scroll up to the top of this page and on the right is a tab, Money and Legal. There are excellent articles and information there. Handing the finances over to the attorney may be the way to go but then your MIL will just accuse the attorney of stealing from her. You can't win either way.

Are you sure she doesn't have dementia?
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It is time for an incompetency hearing indeed. Actually, it is probably past due given her inability to handle her finances in a business like manner. Has she always handled her money this poorly?
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