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My mom is in a nursing home and admin is saying that they are going to file for guardianship of my mom. If the nursing home admins are successful and are awarded guardianship of my mom, can I fight this somehow and can I later have the decision of the judge reversed?

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When a New York City nursing home becomes the guardian of an incapacitated patient due to dementia and Alzheimer, what is the nursing home's responsibilities for last rites, burial, etc. when death occurs
Nursing home has 100% control over patient's pension and social security
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Trass - it probably is NOT that the NH is seeking guardianship, it is probably more likely that they are going to petition for the court to name a Guardian / Conservator for your mom as a "ward of the state". The NH really doesn't want to be the guardian per se but wants someone they can work with to be the point person in charge of mom's situation. A G/C will supersede the POA. Your mom - as a ward - will have a vetted by the court appointed guardian / conservator. This can be an attorney who specialized in this OR may be a person who has takes courses with continuing ed on G/C and does this as a professional. They know how to do the reporting to the courts; deal with the NH and mom's care plan and other very timeframe oriented items for their ward. Now just because mom is ward, doesn't mean that family is shutout. The G/C wants family input but whatever happens HAS TO BE IN the best interest of the ward. So if family have financial or emotional issues that impact on mom, the G/C can keep family at a distance. All G/C hearing are held in open court by probate judges, so you can & should attend all hearings. If you have a concerns you voice them with whatever documentation to the court too. You can get copies of the required financial & asset report that the G/C does too. Usually the first round, the G/C is named a "temporary G/C" for 6 months and then another hearing held to determine if it should continue permanently. Often family have a short term issue that they can't be POA due to their own health issue (like they are undergoing chemo so they are out for 3 -5 months) so a temporary G/C is ideal.

But for a NH to go to this step with family who is POA and will fight the G/C, it almost always is either that the elder is NOT doing whatever is needed to pay their bill; & family has not stepped up to get whatever documents are needed to complete a Medicaid or Medicare or insurance situation & resolve billing; that family is interfering with the elders care plan. Not to sound harsh, but IF you have been loud or aggressive on your mom's being in your opinion "doped up by the NH", that is going to be an issue for the NH. I would imagine that someone has complained to staff about your behavior & or the staff has found you to be threatening, so the NH has to do something. Going to the G/C is really the nuclear option the NH has and for whatever reason they feel that is the route they have to take with you.

I'd suggest that you calmly & carefully go over your actions the last couple of months @ the NH; go over mom's finances and her co-pay to the NH to make sure no issues with that; and go over her trust fund account to see if it shows that you are doing your duties in taking care of her needs not paid by Medicaid. Often family doesn't do anything with the trust account, NOT GOOD, as it shows lack of concern which can be brought up in a G/C hearing. Simple way to do this is to establish a regular session @ the beauty salon for mom. Really if you can, dial it back a bit & review your actions to see what's there that would warrant a G/C.
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My mother is in a nursing home. I am not satisfied with the way they have been taking care of her. My brother and sister are her POA. The nursing home is now taking us to court to obtain guardianship over my mother this includes medical. My problem is that I have been staying on top of them because they have been negligent in my mothers health. Her eyes were infected and no one noticed. Someone took her eyeglasses they didn't notice they gave her someone elses glasses to wear and it took weeks to get a new pair. They keep her so doped up on medication that I am sure that it has contributed o her falling. I asked them not to give her the medication because the medication is very strong and should not be given to patients who have dementia or heart conditions which she has both. I feel they are trying to keep her on theses meds so they don't have to do their job. My question is do they have rights to try to take guardianship if family members are her POA?
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MyLadyAlexis, I asked an online lawyer what happens when a ward of the state dies? He said that it is pretty similar in all states, with some variations. The guardian uses any assets left to pay for a simple funeral. If there are not sufficient assets, the guardian applies for the SS death benefit and petitions the state for additional funds, which are paid to the funeral home for the most modest service possible.

I suggest that you find out what would happen in your particular state.

Also, please go back and read again igloo572's answer. She is giving you some very sound advice.
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MyLadyAlexis, I thought your mother only had $8,000 in the bank, and that she has medical bills far in excess of that. So what could the nursing home do with that money? I mean, there really is nothing for you to protect, is there?

And her SS money will go to pay a part of her NH costs, whether she is a ward of the state or NH has guardianship or you do. There is nothing different that can be done with that money, no matter what. They will not take more than they need for her care, because she does not even have enough for her care. What they take is controlled by law. Mom will be on Medicaid -- all of her SS except for a small allowance for personal expenses goes to the NH, no matter what. That pays only a fraction of the monthly cost; Medicaid pays the rest. There is nothing to trust or distrust. Your mother's money is going to go to her care in the nursing home, no matter what.

No one is going to steal from your mom, because she has nothing to steal. Sad, but that is how it is.

I think your primary concern here is paying for her funeral, right? Have you had a conversation yet with the NH administrator? Ask if a pre-paid funeral plan can come out of her $8,000 before debts are paid. And ask what will happen if she dies without having money for burial and no family member comes forward with money to take care of that. If that is your major concern, then focus on trying to get that taken care of, and let the rest go.

I understand that you care deeply about your mother. If you can manage to get some of her money set aside for the funeral, you will have accomplished a lot.
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Jeangibbs, I want control because I don't trust the nursing home or anyone when it comes to my mom's finances, especially in this economy. Besides if they take control of her finances chances are they will take more than what they actually need for her care and leave nothing for me to see to her funeral expenses later. I am the only one of her kids that give a damned about her and her care. The rest simply have their own selfish lives to live and have forgotten how much mother sacrificed over the years for them. I haven't, and I will continue to make sure no one takes advantage of her state of mind and steal from her.
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Kadwilder, thank you and I will look into the NH thingy at this point it can't hurt. I am in Pa. so I don't know how the laws work here pertaining to NH issues but I'm sure I will find out. BTW, thank you for the hug it is so much appreciated.
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And I still don't understand why you want legal control. Isn't the nursing home doing a good job for her?

I am very, very sorry that your mother doesn't recognize you. I think that is one of the saddest aspects of some forms of dementia. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with how much she loved/loves you or anything you did. She may still recognize you as a nice lady who comes to visit her and makes her happy.
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I suggest that you contact your local Office on Aging to see if they can assist you or refer you to someone who can. I'm in CA so I used CANHR -- California Activists for Nursing Home Reform to obtain legal assistance. I am wary of Nursing Homes getting control of anyone's income because in my experience they put their own interests ahead of the patient's. Good luck.
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Well they did tell me that they were filing for guardianship and could so legally. And since I have no money to fight them and i can't find any legal aid attorney who will take the case. My mom is badly demented now and is mentally incapable of giving anyone POA, she barely knows me now whenever I see her. This bothers me alot and doesn't help the situation any.
The nursing home did however file for mom's medicaid when it needed to be renewed since she was already recieving social security of her own and my late dad's social security. I do believe tho that the nursing home may be having problems accessing my mom's bank account which I hope remains to be an issue. In the meantime, I am still trying desperately to find a way to get some kind of legal control, of course my sibling still refuse to lend even the slightest of help. I am so tired sometimes.
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the nursing home, itself, can not be guardian/conservator for your mother. Henceforth, they must search for someone to become guardian/conservator which should be a family member. And who is that person? this is where the guardianship/conservatorship must be stopped by family. A POA is all that is necessary. the facility should have started the process of applying for Medicaid upon admission to the nursing home if they had done a good job of asking financial questions AND asking who is POA? Very poor facility to have come to this point of causing undue stress for the family.
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I want to thank everyone for their helpful answers to my question about my mom and the situation she and i face. I will be making arrangements to speak with the social services at the NH where she is. Again thank you all.
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Alexis - Having her become a ward of the state really is the best situation. If the NH even wants to keep her as a resident at this point in time is, imho, a good sign that this is a caring NH. I have seen this happen at my mom's prior NH to a resident, & it was a most antagonistic situation and the resident was transferred to a NH that was a 2 hr drive away (it had lots of empty beds). I would really, really, really suggest that you develop a good relationship with social services @ the NH so that you are in the loop when your mom's situation is discussed. Most states have a requirement that every 90 days there is a formal "care plan" meeting. There is usually the residents representative (family), a point person from social work dept, dietary & nursing & maybe activities. If they are on hospice, then someone from the hospice group and usually not the hospice daily/weekly person but someone from 1 level above that. There is no real reason for them to exclude you, if it is a good NH, but realize that if she is a ward of the state they legally don't have to. You want to do whatever to be in on these meetings.

I'd like to expand on Jake's comment, when they are on Medicaid, ALL their monthly income (like SS or retirement or annuity, etc) MUST go to the NH except for whatever their state has set as their "personal needs allowance". PNA amount varies by state. My mom is in TX, she get's $ 1880 a mo and her PNA is $ 60 a month, so every month the NH must be paid $ 1,820.00 in order for her to be in compliance with Medicaid. In theory, this PNA is supposed to be used for their needs and items not included in Medicaid reinbursement to the NH. You need to ask the NH how they handle the $ when she is a ward of the state. Some have it where they get their monthly income and the PNA $ goes into a seperate trust fund @ the NH that they draw against like for hairdresser, cable or shopping the staff does (they may allow you to withdraw $ to be reinbursed for items you buy for her if you have receipts ). Or some NH have it where they get a check from the elder's bank account for the required copay @ the NH and you can keep the PNA in their bank account and spend on her as needed on your own AND you can also do an independent trust fund at the NH for their incidentals (this is what I do, mainly to pay for hair salon). If she becomes a ward of the state, the state determines what happens with her PNA $. If you can show a sensible use of the $ to pay for something she needs, then the state can allow that to happen. A burial policy would fall into this category but you have to have the amount be less than her PNA so that she has funds for clothing replacement, hairdresser, etc. So if her PNA is $ 50 a month, and you can find a burial policy at $ 15 a month and provide the documentation on it to the state, they might allow it and the state does an auto-pay for it directly to the insurer or funeral home.

Whatever the case, the key to doing anything will be social services at the NH and having you work with them in a positive way so that they welcome your input.
Good luck and keep a sense of humor.
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You might want to talk to an elder law about that insurance question and what the State will take once they start paying for her care. If by some chance you were able to get insurance (which I doubt), the State might end up getting it anyhow.
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The collection agencys can not make you responsible to pay your mother's bills. What will happen is, they will investigate whether or not she has money to pay and if not, she will be declared destitute, especially if she is in a facility and they will write off what is owed. They don't like doing that, but that's what will be done. I worked for a billing company and that happened all the time. You might want to see if either you or the nursing home can take some of your mother's money and pre-pay for her funeral. That way you know she will have what she wanted when the time comes. That's what my mother-in-law did before she went into a NH. And if you can get someone else to fill out all that paperwork with the Medicaid, it will be so much easier on yourself. The NH will make sure it's done right because that is where they will be paid from. Your mother will get an allowance from the State, to be used for herself and if your father served in the military the NH can also apply for a VA pension for her, which back years ago was about $90 a month at that time. And the State allowance was about $30 a month at that time. So she will have money in her NH account for things like getting her hair done or being able to buy other things she might need, like personal items. Good luck.
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If you answer all questions on an insurance policy truthfully and they issue a policy there is nothing illegal about that.

Are there any of your mother's funds available to pre-pay a funeral or to buy insurance? I'd use funds for that before paying bills (keeping the funeral costs down as much as possible.) If she has no funds and you can't afford to pay for a funeral, what will happen when she dies? Talk to the NH social worker about this, so you know what to expect.
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An elder lawyer should be able to answer your questions but as far as I know you can use her money to prepay funeral expensives but you have to do it at once before she dies and all her money it tied up then you would have to pay for the funeral yourself and they run about $10,000.00 these days so do that real quick-I personally would not worry about her wishes of what kind of funeral she wanted she broke your trust in her when she gave her money away instead of paying her bill-go to a funeral home and plan and prepay for what you want and tell them they have to deal with the nursing home because they are handling her financies-let us know what happens-if you wait until she dies you will have to pay for the funeral out of your own pocket so get it done while there is still money in her accounts.
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I hate to be a pain but does anyone know if i could purchase an insurance policy on my mom even if she is in a NH and suffering from dementia / alzheimers?? I would like to know if there is anything about it illegal, I certainly don't want to do anything stupid and get arrested for it.
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Thank you Bhenson, I am relieved abit cause I am glad that the collection agencies can't make me pay my mom's debts. I just barely have enough to live on myself and i cannot afford to have to pay off debts that my mom did in her later years. All her bills and collection agencies are being sent to me since she got sick. I never knew how in debt she was till all this happened. She gave away so much of her income to those Televangelists and neglected to pay her bills and there are so many of them. I thought for sure I was going to be held to the task of trying to settle them. I only get $700+/- per month and simply have no way of doing that.
I have checked around to see if she had any money stashed away somewhere but from all those reciepts that show she gave most of her income to the televangelists I just don't think she had enough money to stashed anywhere because she wasn't even paying her bills. As far as an estate, she didn't even own a home, car or much of anything else. She was living in one of those low income apartments for senior citizens and was barely paying the rent.

I am also relieved that i won't lose control of any decisions considering my mom's health and things. I don't want the NH to have all the say about what is right for her and her family affairs. Although I still have other worries when it comes to thing concerning her. But thank you, you have been a big help. Hugs back to you!!! :)
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Alexsis, I wish I had better answers for you about who will get paid and who won't but in the end, it's not going to really matter. If you dear mom passes away with no money to her name, those bills just go away. YOU are not liable for them. I want to make that clear to you. If there is some money somewhere, the estate will pay those bills as much as they can with what is left.
Now, as far as after your mom passes, I have to tell you that POA's end in case of death. They are no longer valid once the person is gone. At that time, you and your family will come into play and have to make arrangements and pay for whatever your mom requested. I sincerely don't want you to worry that the nursing home will make all of the decisions. It's just not so. I found out first hand about POA after my sweet mom died this year and I tried to retrieve some of her money from the bank for the funeral. I made the mistake of telling them she had passed away the day before and they very quickly let me know that my POA was invalid after that and I couldn't touch the money until it went through probate. I do hope that this gives you a little bit of relief. Hugs
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But she has nothing left to protect, correct? Aren't her debts, medical bills and past due nursing home bills more than she has money or assets to cover? (is there a house in here somewhere?) While the details vary from state to state as guardianship is covered under state laws, the judge will tell the guardian (and the nursing home probably already knows the tradition of their state) who to pay and in what order. Guardianship ends at death. Go to the hearing and ask the judge your questions. Does she have a burial insurance policy or pre-paid funeral arrangements? If they are under state limits they should be okay, its varies from state to state. Are you and the other siblings planning on paying for Mom's desired outcome with her remains once she passes- if no arrangements have been made at this point? Schedule a meeting with the nursing home's social worker to see if they can help you understand the process. If no money has been set aside for her burial - ask the judge about it. And again, is there a house or any other assets besides the checking account -which doesn't have enough money to cover her bills? They will get "control" of her Social Security as her guardian, it will be applied to her care.
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Here is the issue I am having about the NH having my mom be declared a ward of the state. Yes they most likely will apply for medicaid and pay her bills that are due, but she has many more bills that are NOT of the medical nature and also are begging to be paid up. Are they also going ask the court to give them control of her Social Security and will they see to it that those non medical bills get paid as well or will they just take her money and do whatever they want with it? The other thing is that what happens when she dies and she is a ward of the state. Do they bury , cremate her or do whatever they want with her remains? Will they take that responsibilty from me to so that I can make sure she gets what I know she wanted in her passing. Like i said, it is NOT about the money, it is about the love, respect I owe and to protect her and what she has left in this life.
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I agree the nursing home has to be paid-this happens when elders think they do not have to plan until something happens-since she played games when her mind was good not you have this mess the NH probably haas lawyers on retainer so they will get things done fast and they will do the medicaide paperwork and believe me it is daunting. You will still be involved in her health and can visit-none of her bill will be your rsponsibility-it sounds like the NH told you this to get you upset just because they can.
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I agree with above answers. If the nursing home is willing to file for guardianship; they can then send in paperwork for medicaid for which she surely will be approved and the nursing home will be paid. You can still look after your mother's needs and if you have any concerns about her treatment at the nursing home, there are nursing home ombudsman reps that you can contact. The local elder services could give you that number.

If she is already in a nursing home that you are happy with; then half the battle is over. You can focus on her needs and care without the worries.
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My answer was a bit brief. Many times elders feel that they can still handle their own affairs, so put off doing things like making wills and assigning POAs. Some people avoid doing these things because they feel it is like tempting fate. If they don't do them, then they won't die or become disabled. It does cause much difficulty in the end if a parent becomes incapacitated.

From what you write, I believe your primary focus should be on keeping yourself on your feet. It may be that the NH also feels that way. Sometimes things like this can actually be a blessing. Since there are no assets to plunder, the only worry is that they take good care of your mother at the facility. They would not be able to do this for free, which is where Medicaid comes in. I hope that it all turns out well and you'll be able to feel thankful for the NH's help. You will be able to enjoy being with her without worrying about her finances. I know that will be a relief -- it would to me!
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MyLady, I agree with Jeanne. The NH can apply for Medicaid for your mother. You can still visit and make sure things are going well.
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MyLady, why do you want guardianship now? I understand perfectly that it isn't for some financial gain. But would it be OK if your mother did become a ward of the state or the NH became her guardian? I think you want what they would want -- to pay her debts as far as possible (which won't be very far on $8,000). And then I imagine that Medicaid will be applied for on her behalf. That seems like a logical next step, and if they are willing to do it it will save you a lot of hassle.

What do you think would be the disadvantage of having the NH take on the guardian role?
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So to cotinue, now that nobody has been paying for my mom's many hospitals emergencies and the nursing home care, those expenses are now due and someone has to pay them. I am disabled myself, I am a burn survivor and am living on SSI (a fixed income) and no other income at all. I can't pay her expenses therefore the nursing home told me that they do have the legal right to either sue for legal guardianship or ask the courts to make my mom a ward of the state so they can have legal access to her bank accounts and pay her medical expenses for the many hospital stays she' s had since she has been a resident of the nursing home and for thier own money she owes for her room / board etc. at the ursing home.

The problem here is like i said, I am on a fixed income and very low at that and I cannot afford to stop them because I cannot afford an attorney. I have checked with legal aid and pro bonos that I could find and neither were helpful. They just told me they felt bad for me and wished they could do something but couldn't help me and didn't know where else to direct me. So I am at my wits end here.

Oh and by the way, it has nothing to do with being worried about my mom's money because she only has about $8,000 in her checking account and that doesn't even come close to paying her many, many debts and not just her medical or nursing home.
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JessieBelle, Its because she never gave me POA. A few years ago before she took ill I had asked her many times about which of the kids she would give a POA to and she always said the same thing, she said she gave my youngest brother POA in her best interests. So I believed her and left it at that, even if I didn't agree with that decision. But when she finally did fall ill it was only then that I found out that she had not given my brother POA or any of the rest of us kids a POA. During some of her more lucid moments in the hospital I tried to convince her to sign me on as her POA but she insisted that she was alright and quite capable of doing things for herself and was determined to get well and return home... again I left it at that, arguing with her I believed would just aggravate her illness and keep her ill. When she ended up in the NHome it was already too late since she had lost her ability to hold anything in her hands or even write, rendering her incapable mentally as well to sign a POA. To make a long story short, her bills just from her medical treatments and her boarding at the nursing home is now thousands of dollars due and I am unable to legally access her bank accounts to allow money to be withdrawn to pay to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes etc. although her bank statements are sent directly to me at which time all I can do is look at them and toss them into a file I keep pertaining to some of her finances and there are many.
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I can understand why an NH would need to have someone to make decisions for a resident totally incompetent to make their own decisions. I doubt that you would be successful in fighting that your mother needs a guardian, but you could certainly ask to be considered for guardianship yourself. Consult a lawyer to learn how to get all your ducks in a row and show up at the hearing with your own proposal. Do not wait until a decision is made and then try to get it reversed -- try to influence the decision while it is being made.
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