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Mother has dementia. Circumstances escalating. Doctors, behavioral health therapist, in-home care agree she is incapable of managing affairs; Elder Law attorney advises I need to go to court to validate DPOA (mom is insistent she won't give POA) so I can legally take over finances and need advice if I should take over medical affairs (both are in POA).

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Sunflo, your problem is "springing" DPOA. This is the worst POA you can have. It requires your mother to be incompetent and proven incompetent before you can use it. Now "incompetent" can be a slippery slope in some states. If possible just a durable power of attorney, not springing, would help you greatly.

Most DPOAs are not springing because most "good" lawyers know that the "springing" ones are too hard to use. The reason you have to go to court is because someone has to rule your mother incompetent. With a Durable Power of Attorney, you should be able to use it the moment it is signed and needed.

Good luck with getting this changed, have been fighting with my mother for five years just to get her to name me as alternate on her DPOA, just in case my brother dies and she is incompetent. Finally, in August, she did a new DPOA, named me alternate and spelled my name wrong. I was not invited to meet with her attorney, however, my brother was. Neither caught that they spelled my name wrong. She is yet to even speak to me about this and doesn't know I know she wanted my nephew on the DPOA instead of me. My brother said it was just an insult to me because I wanted to be alternate. She is very paranoid and has convinced herself I want her money. Not true. But you see, alot of us have difficult parents. Not easy. And my mother does not have dementia, just nasty.

The guardianship thing can be quite expensive. It is the last thing most people want to do but sometimes is necessary. Good luck to you.
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Right now I'm still paying bills but not doing anything medically because legally I can't. My mom has called the cops 2x in the last month because she doesn't want the CNAs in her house. It escalated a week ago when she barracaded herself in the house, the CNA called police to get in (mom locked them out). Police couldn't do anything - said mom would only talk to them thru the door "but seemed fine"; I was instructed to call magistrate for an emergency custody order which I did, but they wouldn't do anything because they require someone to appear in person, I couldn't because I was 6 hrs away; the CNA didn't go; I called Community Services Board to help (since they had previously told me or CNAs to call 24/7 at the emergency number). They had her recent mental and medical history and called but magistrate refused to issue a custody order for her to go back to hospital for evaluation based on their call -- again magistrate was requiring someone to appear in person. Police woudn't transport her to hospital (although they did just a month ago when a neighbor called saying mom was trying to drive and seemed confused). Police have a record on her that they have been to house 4x in one month.

I instructed nursing care group to get a new contract signed by my mother since I didn't legally have POA and don't want to be responsible for paying the bill if my mom somehow refuses to pay. Mom refused the care and won't sign any new contract. So at this point; we have been a week without nursing care; my mom is not communicating with me.

I phoned her primary care doctor to let him know what is going on. He said this is unfortunate; but there isn't anything that can be done short of taking her in a straightjacket against her will (even though she has dementia) as she does have some adult rights and legally I don't have POA. He said that we will have to wait until she wants help or unfortunately until something bad happens. Thats where we are. I don't like the idea of her being alone, or starving to death or not taking meds but can't keep having police calls once a week; CNAs being locked out; yelled out, and worse. Truly, mom doesn't want to live anymore. I wish you could have her wish because living like this is hell for her I'm sure.

I could go to court and probably make a case; but know this will be another several thousand dollars to do so not including time/mental stress. And to what end? Right now, I'm taking Dr's advice and letting her be until the next crisis. I will try to get meals on wheels set up for her in the meantime. (Tried this before and she refused them).
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Sunflo2: I totally agree that having DPOA should be enough. I have been dealing with VA for 1 1/2 years and it has been a nightmare. It seems like the system is designed for lawyers and courts to make as much money as possible. Good luck. I would like to hear how it goes. After I am done with them I hope to write an article or two on VA's guardianship laws, contact AARP, and do whatever else I can to make the process more humane and less costly in that state.
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My mom is in VA; I'm in NC. I've contacted an Elder Care attorney in both VA and NC. Va seems like they want to be overzealous. I have med and finan springing DPOA I'm told. Now I'm just trying to get the doctors to provide medical confirmation that mom is no longer capable of managing affairs. In NC -- they tell me that should be sufficient to "invoke POA" but in Va; it seems they want to do more in court. I question purpose of DPOA in the first place if you have to go to court or do a bunch of filing -- seems counter to the purpose of a legal DPOA. She is in her home (at her choice) with full time CNAs (not her choice; but necessary for her condition) and it is very, very expensive. I've been taking care of financial in the short term (just getting mail and paying bills, depositing her checks, etc.) but mom seems unaware of this even though I explained it to her.
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sunflo2 - I forgot to share what to expect from a guardian ad litem-mine was not a nice person but who cares. They just talk to family members, to you, to your mom and then puts together a report for the court either to support or not . Don't be intimidated. In VA, we had to pay $3,000 for one thought. Ug. More money to the courts and to lawyers.
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I am looking for an expert geriatric physician in Lancaster, PA; Harrisburg, PA; York, PA or any other area around the ones just mentioned. My in-laws were thrown into a nursing home and we have a court hearing coming up. The geriatric specialist who came to the house w/o our knowledge, has been assigned to them again. If we can find another geriatric specialist to examine them, they may be able to go home. Please help us.
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Make sure that you have a great lawyer. I had a lawyer in VA who was terrible and made the who process a nightmare (where I had to get guardianship for financial purposes...I already had medical POA). I have a great lawyer in OH and moving her here and the paperwork was so much more doable.
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I will be talking to Attorney again today. I'll update later. Thank you both for your input. I don't want to go to court; it sounds awful, tedious, and time consuming.
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I recently became my mother's legal guardian, with her blessing. She has dementia and my father passed away in September. Of course, she said she really didn't need anyone to take care of her -- and she told the judge that -- but all parties involved could see that she indeed needed a guardian! It is a terrible pain in the neck though, because of all the court filings and permissions that must be had from the judge. Once I get her house cleaned out and sold, life will be much easier, but right now, we're in the court about once a month with petitions for this and that.
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I'd speak with your attorney on this. If they don't do probate court work (where guardianship or conservatorship are heard), then get a couple of referrals from them and speak to those guys who do guardianship. Alot of this will really center about mom's assets and how to manage them to pay for her care and needs; or divest of them to get mom on Medicaid. There is quite a bit of going to courthouse and reporting in guardianships and you will have to disclose information on yourself and your spouse to the court in order to be named (to show that your are capable and financially sound). If you for whatever reason aren't up for it, she can become a "ward of the state" and the judge will appoint a temporary guardian and then about 3 months later another hearing for a permanent one to be named. Sometimes if the family is "at-need" or has financial issues themselves, the court will appoint an outsider even if family want to be guardian. Most probate courts have an already vetted list of attorney's or other professionals that do this on a regular basis, know the system and how to get the paperwork done correctly and know which doc's, etc. to go to do make it run as smoothly as possible. I have not been a guardian but was executrix twice and spent more hours in probate court than I ever would have thought and it seems the guardianship process really needs an attorney to guide it through especially is the person is seriously fighting turning over control. If they are like in a coma or not cognitive, then you can kinda do it yourself. Good luck.
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