Please help me, after 33 years of marriage my dementia husband's daughter got power of attorney over my husband. Is this is legal?


Hi, my husband and I have been married for 33 years. I care for him, no money. When we were informed that my husband has dementia his daughter (my step daughter) and I attended a class on what to do next after learning diagnosis. One of the suggestions was to get power of attorney and sadly enough my stepdaughter beat me to the punch. So behind my back she obtained a power of attorney and now has taken everything my husband and I worked for these last 33 years. She has taken the house and all the assets and all the cash flow. So needless to say I am caring for my husband on my social security. I am speechless. Is there any one who can tell me is this legal? As his wife don't I have some sort of power or say or even a legal right? Can I ask her to pay me for his care since the care in the home he visited briefly was $6,000 a month. I feel as though I have been swindled. If someone has knowledge of something like this could you please advise me or share your knowledge. I just can't believe that I have lost everything. I mean if the law is 50-50 then I should be entitled to at least half. Thank You

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CaregiverL, did you not read the post? Are you serious?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

If he is still in his rt mind enough to change the POA then do it. Have DH change it to you.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to tevincolorado

So sorry you have this difficult issue to deal with in addition to your DH's disease.

First, I agree with the previous posters that you need to engage an elder law attorney and seek to invalidate the stepdaughter's POA. Then you should probably seek guardianship of your husband. In many states when the guardian process is started the court appoints a guardian ad litum who can access accounts and approve expenditures to maintain the home and cover living expenses. The court can temporary or permanently suspend the contested POA during the guardianship process in many states too.

Second, I hope your posting that your stepdaughter took things (house, assets, cashflow) means your stepdaughter has taken control of them and not actually seized them by transferring them into accounts in her name alone. Even with a valid POA, moving funds to accounts without your husband's name on them or transferring real estate to herself is illegal. It's an even bigger no no if transfers are made from joint accounts with both your husband's and your name on them.

In most states if you have been married 33 years and do not have a prenuptial agreement that specifies the house is your husband's exclusively, then you own an interest in the martial home that cannot be transfered without your agreement and signature - even if the house is deeded exclusively in your husband's name. You cannot be evicted from the marital home either. Rental properties deeded in his name alone may be transfered without your signature in many states; however, the deed can be challenged if the properties were purchased during the tenure of your marriage or if you can prove you personally invested in the rental property or marital income was used for improvements. In my own home state of Tennessee, even a prenup does not allow selling or mortgaging the marital home without the spouse's consent during the term of the marriage - the prenup only comes into play on the marital home during divorce settlement or execution of a will.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to TNtechie

It’s his was their relationship before? Does he have a will? Why wouldn’t you want her as poa?
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to CaregiverL

If hubby has not been found incapacitated he can change his will any time. Would he rather you have the power? See an elder law attorney.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to gladimhere

Get an Elder Care Attorney. As POA, we are not allowed to steal from the person we have POA for. We have to show receipts for all monies spent and the monies have to be spent for the care of the person we have POA for. Receipts must be shown. Was your husband competent when he signed the POA? If it can be proved that he was not due to the dementia, the POA is void. What your stepdaughter has done is illegal and you may have legal recourse for prosecution. At least consult with an attorney to see if you have grounds.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Ahmijoy

If your husband's dementia prevented him from fully understanding the execution of legal documents, including a type of POA, it's likely not a valid execution.

Do you have medical confirmation in writing of his dementia? Is he in fact not capable of understanding complex legal documents?

This is one of the most common questions on this site. Others have asked and been advised on how to handle these problems. You can read some of these questions through this link: POA

I'd like to know how she "took the house". Did she trick your husband into executing a deed transferring title to her? If so, the deed probably isn't valid any more than the POA.

I think the easiest way to untangle this mess is to research and choose a good elder law attorney in whom you have confidence to help guide you. The attorney can tell you what needs to be done, and you can preserve some of your SS funds by following those instructions instead of having her/him handle the issues for you.

Also raise with the attorney the issue of criminal action and getting the police involved.

Based on what you describe, there would be first the inappropriate if not fraudulent act of having your husband sign when he's (presumably) not capable of doing so, plus the resulting fraudulent transfers of real property and assets.

Can you still contact holders of financial assets, such as banks and investment managers? Or are you block from access?

You raise an interesting issue as to your 1/2 of the marital assets. I'll leave that to someone else; I'm really not conversant on this as it might go beyond the issue of communal property and be affected by some complicated issues, especially since I assume that your funds were used for acquisition of some of the assets. And in that sense, it might be construed as theft, but this is too technical a question to be answered by anyone other than an attorney.

A lot of people have experience and expertise to share, and I'm sure by tomorrow you'll have a few dozen responses. You're not alone, if that's any consolation.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to GardenArtist