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Hi everyone!


First time posting here! such great resource here.


So my stepdad who is 85 has fallen for so many scams. i dont live with them so i didn't really get to see how serious these all were until i had a look myself. omg. he has so many used up reloadable debit cards and gift cards laying around his house and just recently he took out a good amount of money from my mom and his' joint bank account without my mom's permission cuz he's convinced he won 5 million dollars and gave that money to these scammers. he also responds to junk mails that asks for his bank/cc info. he gets LOOOTS of scam calls and what's sad is he even seems to enjoy talking to them no matter how much i tell him to not engage because they're all scams.


I certainly don't trust him anymore with their bills. my mom has always been so dependent on the men in her life, including my stepdad. but i don't think he should be in charge with handling the bills anymore, had to help my mom set up online accounts for their bills so everything is online and paperless.


I want my mom to get POA. but I am not sure how to go about this.


Do I get a diagnosis for him first before getting the POA? or do i get the POA first and then get him evaluated for dementia?


I hear other people saying to get the dementia evaluation done first and get the POA after but the thing is i thought, you can only get POA if the person is still okay and their mental capacity is still there?


I really want my mom to get poa while he is still in the early stages because truthfully other than the scams, he's still okay.


My stepdad hasn't gone in yet for an evaluation, that's another hurdle for us, actually telling him we want him to get tested, he might get upset :C


Anyway, what would you recommend doing first? the evaluation or the POA?

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Get the POA first, but make it three people deep. I assume your mom is close to the same age as your dad. That means at some point she will deal with aging issues as well and may not be able to be poa. With a poa three people deep, if something happens to the secondary poa, there is still someone to take over. Otherwise, someone would have to get guardianship (expensive) or the state would be in charge of their care.
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tatsulok Sep 14, 2020
i actually they have a 30 year gap hehe

my mom is 55 and my stepdad is 85.
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Get the POA first. Get a POA for your mom and step dad. I have a POA and I am perfectly well.
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AlvaDeer Sep 14, 2020
Me too!
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Tat, re your response below, I would get the POA BEFORE the MD, because yes, if the MD says that he is no longer competent to make his own decisions then he CANNOT give you POA. Guardianship is either more or less expensive. When the State WANTS you to have it it can be one-two-three- and DONE for a temporary emergency guardianship; takes someone who knows what they are doing at the helm. You could get a call from a Social Worker willing to help you apply for conservator ship on an emergency basis whenever THEY personally want it for some reason.
. POA is much preferable. But he would have to CONSENT to this and understand what he is signing. Is it already too late for that? And would your mother act on it if she had it? Against his will? Which honestly isn't supposed to be done.
Guardianships come into costing money when someone wants to fight it, and is honestly competent enough to do so. The State then appoints the elder an attorney and you pay for your own. Payment can come out of the elder's accounts if you win, and not if you don't.
You mention his and Mom's joint account. Is there money there in danger? I don't think Mom is strong enough to stand against him, do you, and a POA wouldn't allow her to.
Will he agree to sign a POA? I think that is where you are firstly. And who will that POA be? This is truly a dilemma. Meanwhile your Mom needs to hide and destroy all debit cards. Can she speak to their banker. Don't quite know what to advise you other than right now to ask everyone you think might help. Perhaps start with the bank officer at their bank and see if he has advice or help for you.
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Tatsulok, go to your state's attorney general website and see if they have Durable POA. These are entirely legal, I used them for my dad with no problems. The hospital even notarized it. You don't have to see an attorney to do this, you just have to make sure it complies with your state's law governing POA, they do when they come from the AGs website.
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AlvaDeer Sep 14, 2020
Hospitals in California will not allow notarization, even by Social workers, but will often call notaries who do volunteer to come in. I will continue, myself, to advocate for a very good and very thorough POA by an attorney. When it is too late to get it due to dementia it will not do to not have the power to say change a trailer from POA to Trust or something. I remember my banker saying that some POAs don't work. The lawyer who made out my papers for me and my bro said he made them so strong "she can sell the gold out of your teeth". I think it pays to get a lawyer for legal documents rather than NOLO Press or State offices, but that is just me. I am over cautious about all things legal and TERRIFIED of the unknown.
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Go to an Elder Law Attorney at once. Take all the information you gave us. This will be an expensive but invaluable hour.
First of all, what does your MOM say about all this. Is she willing to take on bucking your father for control over all this? Is she willing to insist he is not capable of paying bills and telling him that the billpaying is now in her hands? A "dependent woman" isn't going to do well with this.
The other problem you have here is that POA doesn't mean you can take away Dad's right to actually do whatever he chooses. POA means that you work to take care of these financial things as you are "directed to" by the person conferring POA on you. And when that person is no longer able then you are to do it in his best interest. The POA must be carefully written to say all of this. Many use online forms. I caution against this. A strong POA is invaluable.
As to getting a diagnosis of dementia, once this is done there cannot be a POA, but there can be a conservatorship or a guardianship, which is stronger. Also more problematic and difficult to do and manage (neither is easy and that's why I wonder if you, or even a paid fiduciary for the POA and bills would not be a better idea.)
Mild dementia doesn't mean that your Dad can't confer POA on someone but that is fully explained by an examining lawyer who will question the elder for competency and to see if this is his WISH and WILL, to give this kind of power to another. Would Dad do this?
There are so many things to consider here. And you need to act quickly because if this gets bad your Dad could wipe out the finances. We have seen 100s of thousands go in posts on this forum, and it is heartbreaking.
This is all so much to explain in one fell swoop. Please see an elder law attorney because these folks are in grave danger now, and need your protection. You will get a more clear presentation than my babblings, and it will be pertinent and relevant to your situation. I wish you the very best and am so sorry this is happening. And welcome.
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tatsulok Sep 14, 2020
Hi alvadeer thank you so much for your response.

that's the thing, i dont want for him to have to go down the route of conservatorship/guardianship as i understand it can be very costly and can be a stressful process. we are not rich, he doesnt have money except for the pension he gets which is $700 a month.

did we screw up here? we had him scheduled to see a doctor for a dementia evaluation in a few weeks and this was before i learned what POA is and its importance.

so let's say he gets his dementia evaluation and the doctor says he's in the early stages of dementia, does that mean right away we can no longer do the POA route?

i really wanted to get the POA because like i said, we dont have money and i understand POA is cheaper. i tried calling today to ask around how much durable costs, and they were already very expensive to me. majority of the firms i called quoted me a price of $300-425 just for the consultation. :C

i also understand, one must be in full mental capacity to sign a POA.

so once he gets diagnosed, POA is out of the picture? even if its still in the early stages?
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See a lawyer first. Best if it is an Elder Care Attorney.
However if the lawyer does not think he is competent they also will not let him sign papers. At that point they may advise you to become his Guardian.
There are a lot of papers that are just as important as POA.
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tatsulok Sep 14, 2020
hello. appreciate your response.
so things took a turn. it looks now like my stepdad will have to get evaluated for dementia first before the poa.
if for some reason, the doctor says he's not competent, does the attorney go by that diagnosis as well?
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In our family we always use a lawyer for the POA, and it should be done as soon as you can arrange for it. You will be able to ask the lawyer about controlling the finances during this meeting. At some point also ASAP, your father will need to sign the POA document.

Do you have a reason to tell him he’s being evaluated for a mental defect? If someone told ME that, I sure would be “upset”.

If he is used to going to a doctor, especially if he has seen a regular family doctor and has a comfortable relationship to that person, take him there, without any big discussion about the reason. Contact the doctor’s office before you go, or if your mother prefers, have her make the contact, and explain BRIEFLY that you think he may need cognitive assessment.

You don’t have the benefit of time, because at 85 matters may begin to deteriorate at a faster rate.

Do some reading here, and some online searches to educate yourself a bit about his particular situations.

Hope you are able to move forward!
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Reply to AnnReid
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POA first, but unless dad is incapacitated it will do no good. He has the right to make his own bad decisions no matter how bad they may be. You wait too long and he will be too incapacitated to understand the POA and not able to legally sign it. Hope you have a cooperative elder.

He will not want to do the evaluation, guaranteed. You simply make a yearly checkup appointment, give the doctor heads up, before the appointment, what is going on with dad and not tell dad the appointment purpose.
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tatsulok Sep 14, 2020
i am really trying to get him to sign a poa now while he is still in okay. we just dont have the money to go the route of guardianship or conservatorship.

jw, if the doctor diagnose him to be on the early stage of dementia, can he still get poa? or what if the doctor says he is not competent anymore, will that lawyer accept that as a final thing or do lawyers also do their own assessment of the person?

thanks
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