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Hello,
I am new here and I appreciate any answers. I am doing research on behalf of my aging parents 82 and 77. My mom's estranged brother moved in 10 months ago and his dementia is getting worse and worse. We want to give him the proper care and put him into a home. We tried to get power of attorney over his finances and the bank did not approve it. A social worker came to investigate my parents. We think the bank froze my uncle's account. We are lost as family and do not know what our first steps should be. Thank you for any answers.

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Reply to JoAnn29
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Ask an attorney about a court appointed guardianship. Can you be the guardian appointed by the court? IN any event, it sounds like you should ask an elder law person,
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Reply to MAYDAY
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Since the bank refused the POA, he is most likely beyond even marginal capability of authorizing any POAs, even with an attorney. We had POAs and will in place, but needed to set up a new trust, etc when mom showed signs of early dementia. The atty took her aside and queried her, to convince himself she could still make these decisions. Thankfully she was.

First order of business will be to get the necessary authorization to be his guardian/conservator. That will require going to court. This will be needed to gain access to his bank accounts and any assets he owns.

If his only income is SS, you need to apply to be Rep Payee. Since in office visits are probably not allowed right now, call the local SS office and request a phone appt to sign up. This IS the only LEGAL way to manage SS funds. Others have said go online to change his address, etc, but that isn't legal, for ANYONE, never mind someone with dementia (this applies to ANY online account, but SS is federal, which can bring more trouble to your door.)

The application isn't difficult, takes a little while to process, first payment comes as check to the Rep in name of person, then you can open a special Rep Payee account. Only the Rep can access it and funds must be used for the person. They do require yearly reports, so keep receipts/notes. THIS isn't difficult and can be done online through YOUR own SS account (they link the rep payee account to your SS.) This is also FREE.

I would get the rep payee application started, so that you have access asap to some funds for him. I would then contact EC attys to find out how you can get emergency guardian/conservatorship appointment and what it will cost. Until you have access to his funds/assets, you may have to pay up front for this, but should be able to reimburse yourself once the account(s) are accessible. The court system will also require accounting reports, and are likely more involved than SS.

Once the above is taken care of, then you can decide how to move forward. If he needs to be placed in MC, but can't afford it, Medicaid might be needed, but not all states will pay for MC. Medicaid does also have in-home options for care.

But, cross that bridge later - you need to get guardianship and financial access done first! You can always ask the EC atty or come back here for additional information/assistance. Many can advise, but legal advice is generally the best.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Imho, you should contact an elder law attorney. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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There is only one choice as I see it: Go for a consultation with a well regarded elder attorney. Take a notebook and record the conversation with his/her permission. You won't regret it.
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Reply to NYCmama
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Sounds like Adult Protective Services responded properly when some one is attempting access to his account. It is normal to "look at your parents" with the same thing in mind. They want to find out any possabilities of improper fiduciary action on your part. You will be o.k. just let them do their job and then ask them for help with your uncle. If you are entitled to money for his care and possability of inheritance.....the state will spend it foolishly and without a will you have to hire a probate attny. You can give the A.P.S. social worker this alternative...give the case to them and they will refer to public guardian and they will have all legal authority and may place him with you or in a facility. Remember your parents are your priority. Make sure they have a will and a power of attny.
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Reply to DKelso34
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Welcome to the forum. I am sorry you and your family are facing this situation but I applaud your attempts to assist them. You have received a lot of information and suggestions here but since there is not a lot of detail here, I suggest that you contact an certified elder care attorney and ask for a free initial consultation (a lot of them will do that); you can find one on their national association website www.naela.org. An attorney can lay out the do's and don't and give you an outline of the entire process that will be needed for your uncle as well as some price guidelines.

If for some reason, your uncle goes to the hospital and is hospitalized, please grab a social worker and explain that he cannot be discharged back to your parents home. If he is over 65, they will evaluate the need for long term care and can assist in placement but expect to still do a lot of leg work and paper gathering thru this whole process. At some point, particularly if he needs a Medicaid application, be prepared to gather at least 5 years worth of check statements, bills etc as well as birth and marriage certificates. If he has ever been in the Armed forces, he may be eligible for assistance from that sector.
Please keep us updated and good luck on this journey.
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Reply to geddyupgo
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disgustedtoo Jan 8, 2021
The primary issue is financial. The EC atty will be needed to circumnavigate that, as he is beyond POA assignment capability.

Without getting conservatorship at the least, they won't have access to any financial information to be able to complete an application for Medicaid, if that's needed.

It is critical to get the financial situation stabilized before worrying about anything else!
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You will end up spending a whole lot of money trying to get Power of Attorney.

The best thing would have been to let him continue living with your parents and using his money to pay for Caregiving help.

If he has any mind left at all, your parents could have taken him to the Bank and add whoever is his brother or sister's name to his account.

My Dad has Dementia and he still has enough mind left to do that.

You should try taking him to the Bank to make thst request in person
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Daughterof1930 Jan 7, 2021
How can anyone here decide “the best thing” without being actually inside the poster’s home, living and knowing the situation daily?
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Get a lawyer who specializes in elder law. At this point, you may not be able to get powers of attorney. You may have to get guardianship of your uncle or allow the courts to appoint a guardian for him. The lawyer will be able to guide you into next steps per your state/province's laws.

If your uncle's condition makes it too difficult to manage his care at home, consider calling Adult Protective Services to help with his care. The lawyer and APS may advise you to take your uncle to a hospital for treatment and allow social work to then "place" him into an appropriate residential facility.

While you are doing research for your uncle, please consider if your parents need these kinds of help as well: powers of attorney and other legal documents drawn up by the lawyer, mental health evaluations by their primary care doctor, and investigating what help their health insurance covers for these types of situations.
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Reply to Taarna
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Get hold of an elder care attorney if your uncle is at least 60 years of age. Tell them your situation, There are many that offer a free consultation.
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Reply to thingsarecrazy8
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disgustedtoo Jan 8, 2021
Why the age stipulation? Even if he's under 60 with dementia, an EC atty would be able to help.
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You can file a motion at the circuit court clerk office for emergency guardianship. It is higher in rank than a POA. It’s not expensive and helps you to get necessary help for your family member. After so many days, the county attorney, guardian ad litem, and social worker will decide if this person truly needs a guardian. These three and you will go back before the judge for ruling. I hope this helps.
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Reply to OnlyChild4Daddy
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First someone in the family has to get his POA and conservatorship over your uncle for health decisions and his finances. Second, you and your parents must remember that you don't owe the social worker an explanation, unless she's investigating with the authority of your city/state's probate court because that's who decides who takes over control over a person's finances, health care decisions, and welfare unless they've otherwise made legal arrangements in writing. If she isn't coming from the court, then tell her to stick it where the sun don't shine.
You have to go to the probate court in the town/city your uncle lives in. They will give you the paperwork to fill out for POA and conservatorship over him. After that is filed there will have to be a lawyer retained to represent him (they really don't do anything) and that lawyer will be paid by your uncle's estate.
You will all go to a hearing before the judge at the probate court. Most of the time the judge will also have the person the conservatorship is being petitioned for (in this case your uncle) present as well if they are able to be there. If not then the lawyer appointed to them will go in their place. The petitioner (whose name is on the paperwork) must also be present. The judge will then decide if the petitioner is appointed conservator and POA. If it's family petitioning they almost always approve it right away.
Make sure you do all of this before you even look for a nursing home for your uncle. Under no circumstances should you EVER allow a nursing home, social worker, or lawyer to petition for POA and conservatorship over your uncle. They do try to work that hustle because we all know how the business end of nursing homes operate. Social workers and lawyers going after conservatorship, POA, or guardianship over a person don't do it out of the kindness of their hearts either. They get paid to. As a POA, conservator, or guardian you (or any petitioner appointed) will also be entitled to draw a salary from your uncle's funds for doing this duty. The probate court will explain to you what your responsibilities to the person and the court will be. You should have no problems getting POA and conservatorship appointed especially if your uncle is currently living with you. Also, you do not need to retain a lawyer to do this for you. It's pretty easy and the people at the probate court will help you with the paperwork.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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disgustedtoo Jan 8, 2021
You CANNOT get POAs through the courts. ONLY the person can assign POAs, and they must be deemed cognitively competent. This is why the bank refused to process the POA for them.

Courts can approve guardianship and conservatorship, but not POAs. If you had POAs, you likely wouldn't need to go through the courts for anything.

If all he has for income is SS, THAT can be dealt with by signing up as Rep Payee with SS, the only LEGAL way to manage someone's SS funds. If he has other income and/or assets, then those must be dealt with by going to court to get conservatorship (might as well get the guardianship at the same time, if one needs to do this.)
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Waiting for Stacy to add her expertise here.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Nephew,
Does your Uncle have any other family, a spouse, children, or any other siblings that could serve as Representative Payee for your Uncle with Social Security,
IF he receives Social Security?

What do you mean that you tried to get power of attorney over his finances and the bank did not 'approve it'. Did your Mom already have POA before your Uncle was diagnosed with dementia? One does not 'apply' for POA to any bank. But I am familiar with the bank blocking efforts of a POA for security and competency reasons.

Everyone is correct, one cannot obtain POA after a person has questions about competency with dementia.

Talk to his doctor.

If one is working with only Social Security income, you need a "Rep-Payee"
appointed to use those funds on Uncle's behalf.

If interviewed by the social worker separately, would your Uncle agree to let his estranged sister take over his finances, or would he instead mention that they are estranged?

This discovery of a family member's income and assets can take a very long time if there is more than a SS. income or other assets, as well as life insurance, etc. An attorney can assist with that.

Where did your Uncle live prior to moving into your parent's home? Was there a POA in place by anyone?

With a little more information, I might recommend that you contact Social Security online. Start with changing his address.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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BurntCaregiver Jan 6, 2021
You're right about the "Rep-Payee" for social security. There has to be someone with the uncle's POA for that to happen.
Don't waste your time and energy dealing with the BS of social workers. They will do absolutely nothing for you on this except cause trouble and make it more complicated then it is.
The uncle is already living with with the nephew. He has to go to the probate court and file for POA and conservatorship over his uncle.
It's not that hard to do and the probate court will help him with the paperwork. They will appoint a lawyer to represent the uncle which is totally unnecessary, but they always do that. The bill for it gets paid by the uncle's finances.
If it's a family member petitioning for the person and they are living with them, the court will approve that unless other family members show up at the probate court hearing to contest it. They have to show up at it or they default.
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As others have said, they can pursue guardianship. Yes, it will be expensive and arduous for them. The other option would be to call that social worker back and tell her the State needs to step in because you can't afford to have him remain in the home. The state would need to pursue guardianship. Not a pleasant situation to be in, its a good example of why one needs to be very careful and have some fore planning done before setting up a living situation with someone who may need more care in the future.
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Reply to mstrbill
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BurntCaregiver Jan 6, 2021
Listen, I live in the most expensive state in the country and I did conservatorship for next to free. The only cost is the court cost for filing the paperwork and the lawyer that gets appointed by the court to represent the person conservatorship is being filed for and that gets paid for out of the uncle's money. It's not an overly difficult process to do. The people at the probate court will help a petitioner with the paperwork for nothing.
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If he receives a Social Security income, and if you can take him to a social security office, change his address to where he lives now.

More later.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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worriedinCali Jan 4, 2021
You can’t just go to a social security office anymore. You have to have an appointment. And considering the dementia that is worsening and worsening, the OP will likely need to obtain guardianship. Her uncle isn’t competent enough to go to SS and assign a rep payee.
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You need to go the legal route which can cost around $4000 for guardianship and conservatorship. Once appointed, the money can be reimbursed for expenses. The a doctor, or two, depending on the state will gave to fill out a document of incompetency for the judge. Other hurtles will be newspaper legal notice, guardian ad litemitem fees, and a look at finances for the past few years. You defiantly will need a judge to generate official paper to unlock this mess. Expect 1 to 3 months to get this processed. Consider that someone in the family will have to spend hours even with attorney help.
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Reply to MACinCT
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If he has been diagnosed with dementia he can not legally sign any papers giving you or other family members access to any of his assets.
You can seek Guardianship.
See an Elder Care Attorney and the process can be started. It can be daunting, it can be expensive but most expenses should be paid by/with your uncles assets.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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POA is GIVEN by a COMPETENT adult. If the brother has dementia he can no longer give POA. Now it is a matter of guardianship. If he is hospitalized a Social Worker ?can help you get a temporary guardianship for a parent, who will then have access to everything. But this requires a DIAGNOSIS of dementia. Has that been done yet?
When the estranged bro moved in 10 months ago what was the agreement for rental, payments, and etc.?
I think that you are starting at the beginning here and that you, your Mom and Dad need to see an Elder Law Attorney. Expect to pay as much as 350.00 for an hour of time. Find out what you must do now to see your uncle safely placed.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Your uncle is the only one who can assign any Powers of Attorney and he must be of sound mind when doing it. I think you will need to pursue guardianship or conservatorship in order to legally manage any of his finances. Or you move him into the NH and allow them to pursue guardianship. How will your uncle pay for his care if he isn't competent to do so? Pursuing guardianship is expensive: about $10K to do it through the courts. I'm not sure there are any other options.
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