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My mother is married. She has Alzheimer's. My step dad has not helped financially at all. If I have to put her in a facility, will he be responsible to help with payments or will I have to be as POA?

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Courtney, I’m going to go step dad is a dick & ditto for his kids approach to your situation, my post is based on that...

imho you MUST find an CELA level of elder law atty and try to find one that either has atty who do divorce work within thier team or are affiliated with divorce attys. If he’s right now not paying his share of utilities, or property costs, or doing it begrudgingly.... well in my experience (as I’ve been a 1st, 2nd & 3rd wife as most of my close friends are) it’s going to get ugly once $ in a very big $$$$ way has to go for her care and gets pulled from their assets. That prenupt is cute but unless it’s “minute for minutia” in detail for assets acquired after date of marriage, it’s going to be a total hot mess. There’s commingling happening and has to be determined as to share. Determining stuff like this not a DIY, it’s forensic accounting stuff and divorce attys have staff that do these routinely. Really elder law & divorce law insight needed.

I’m going to guess that attys will want to have it that you become her guardian. POA isn’t enough as there’s that spouse. Guardian trumps POA; guardianships trump spouse. It’s a bigger legal designation with clout. That house in her name can be used to bankroll the costs on this, which you as dpoa right now can do with the law firm. As a guardian you can be paid for guardianship. If you’ve been fronting paying for stuff, it can likely get made up over time this way. I’d get on this ASAP.

? for you? If moms on Cobra, she must have lost her job fairly recently.
Is that right?
She pretty young Alz, so did she get fired? Or forced resignation?
whatever the case, do you know enough about her job, her retirement, & benefits stuff to see if she’s got retirement $, pension $ or severance coming to her? or if there’s a GUL type of life insurance, did they have that for her with hubs as beneficiary? or his own GUL? Lots of bigger or better companies do GUL routinely for spouses as a perk, & paid from employees income with employer match. GULs do get a cash value & stepdad might use this as a point of negotiating for division of assets. It’s stuff like this, that you cannot ever deal ,with on your own. Have your ever spoken with HR at her old employer?

I’d be real concerned that he’s going to want “shared equity” based on all assets during marriage. Shared equity is a real thing; like if house increased in value since marriage to act of sale; if he’s got a mad dog & savvy atty, their gonna go after that. Again you need an atty for mom & you. Please make this your priority next week. Good luck.
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cherokeewaha Jun 26, 2020
Cobra is extremely expensive. My husband was injured on New Years day in 2018 from a fall after working all day and coming home exhausted. He tripped at the back door. He already had torn ligaments in his left shoulder from hooking/unhooking/forcing trailer doors closed (most which required a mallet to get them closed properly)/climbing in and out of a semi and dollying down and up landing wheels on trailers for over 40 years. He broke his shoulder blade and had to have surgery. He couldn't have it done right away and it took until February 22nd to do it after the broken bone healed. Meantime, his doctor said light duty and they said they didn't have light duty so, he was forced to stay home and draw his vacation/sick time which he had over 8 weeks of. After the surgery he was told 6 to 8 weeks before returning to work. They called him the 3rd week of March and forced him to retire or be fired. He retired but was going to therapy 3 days a week. I had to put cobra on him for 2 months (dropped myself off and filed for medicare). The cost was over $1300 a month just for him but, his therapy was a lot more than that and he was being treated for glaucoma at $350 a visit. With that cost, I had him do everything possible before he would file for medicare. Eye exams, new glasses, full physical exam with all blood work, colonoscopy, endoscopy (they found a tumor in pancreas that had to be operated on), updated all injections for everything, hearing aids and new dentures. So, cobra is not cheap.
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Because your mom is married and you are POA you and your stepdad should see a certified elder law attorney (www.nelf.org) together.

There is no reason for him to become impoverished so your mom can get the care she needs. You should not be paying anything for her care, this is on the two of them to finance.

You will most likely need his cooperation with a lot of your moms care, try to be a friend to him. Remember, he is losing his wife and life partner, some bad responses are common when people are scared and see their lives as they know them slipping away, cut him some slack and help both of them through this. After all your mom loved him enough to become his wife.
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BarbBrooklyn Jun 19, 2020
Such a wonderful, compassionate answer. Thank you, ITRR!
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This situation is a cautionary tale to all of us with blended families. See an elder care attorney an arange your affairs so that your care will be funded.

Arrange your assets, pensions and the like to make sure spouse will have enough to live on.

Make sure you understand how Medicaid works.

Most importantly, I think; raise your children never to expect an inheritance.
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FloridaDD Jun 19, 2020
Every marriage, and certainly every second marriage is different.  Many older spouses go into a second (or third) marriage expecting that each will take care of themselves.  I definitely agree that a good eldercare attorney is necessary, but I do not agree that, as a blanket rule, children should not expect an inheritance.  Now, I suspect that OPs stepfather can be forced to cooperate, but that does not mean it will be easy.
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courtney86;

You said "She only receives a disability check." Is this disability from employment or is it SS disability? If it is SS, once she has been on that for 2 years, she will be eligible for Medicare insurance. If it is NOT SS, your profile says mom is 62 - she CAN file for early SS AND disability. If approved (ALZ should qualify), she would receive her full retirement age benefit, not just the reduced amount for filing at age 62. If she isn't on SS yet, call your local office and sign her up, but also request to be rep payee - then you and ONLY you can manage her SS funds.

As others have said, given the circumstances (step dad, non-payments from him, her condition and financial status) it would be best to consult with an EC atty. Through naela.org with zip code you can find several in your area and see about getting free limited initial consult - have all questions drafted before you speak with them and take notes! Include asking for estimates for various scenarios. Hopefully you have access to documents, accounts, etc. Resolving financials issues and applying for Medicaid, if she can qualify for LTC, would be best done with the help of an EC atty. It can be a little pricey, but is usually well worth the cost, and your mom's situation is dicey.

NOTE about POAs - others did say it, but being POA does not make you financially responsible for paying for her care. You are responsible for overseeing her finances and medical care, and sign for her, but you don't pay. Basically you are an extension of her to oversee everything when she cannot, but that's it - anything you WANT to pay for is your choice, but being POA does not entail making payments for anything.
To put it in perspective, ANYONE can be appointed POA, family, friend, attorney, etc. Do you think anyone would agree to take this on, esp an attorney if they had to pay for the person's care? Nope.
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igloo572 Jun 20, 2020
Your so right. She really needs to get with her moms HR to find out exactly the situation is / was for her job.

Id be concerned that the big Cobra bill is not just for her mom but also for the husband, if mom’s employer did health insurance for them both. Cobra is to me really hard to decipher. Friend of mine lost her job due to Covid and she got Cobra info and it’s crazy reading. She actually can go “special enrollment” ACA, which is way less. But her HR wasn’t understanding the special Covid rules. Everyone overwhelmed in some way due to Covid...

Im kinda going / guessing with it’s employer disability funding as income as the mom is young, there’s Cobra and she said mom was ineligible for Medicare & Medicaid. The mom might be all employer disability pay. Way more complicated than 80 yr old mom only on SS income.
SSA will want that all employer $ tapped out before they can run #s and find SSDI payment amount and have her eligible to go onto / into the early M&M system for SSDI. But mom will eventually qualify for M&Ms.

if Vegas is still on AC, she’s very super knowledgeable about how these work.
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Her husband is responsible for her financially. All the POA does is give you the authority to carry out her wishes. I agree, you need to consult with a lawyer concerning the marital assets. Medicaid allows for a Community Spouse. The Spouse allowing to stay in the home and have a car. Assets are looked at and split. Moms split will need to be spent down to the Medicaid cap. The CS will have enough to live on. This is just basic info. A lawyer well versed in Medicaid in your State will be able to help sort it out.

If SFather is not cooperative, you may want to tell him its to make sure his future is secure.
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Are you her POA for financial? If so you are responsible for helping her to WRITE her checks and get things mailed, not for PAYING. You pay with her funds. There are laws state by state as to how much a spouse must spend for the care of his wife; that is to say he cannot make himself destitute and without money; that really is the work for a good CPA who knows elder law rules or for an Elder Law Attorney. Your stepdad, if he is the spouse, really doesn't have a choice about "helping". The money, unless they divorce and even then in a settlement, is community property. So you need really to find out what the law is and what the way forward it. You should not be spending your own money on your Mother. This is money you yourself will require when your own time comes to negotiate the needed care.
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Courtney, when you say "you" are paying COBRA, you mean using your mom's funds, right?

When you said "paying for care" I think we assumed you meant NH care, not health insurance.

What is mom's income stream? That is what should be paying for her care, along with CDs, IRAs etc.

Medicaid, if it's in moms future, does not take pre-nups into account, from what I understand. Please educate yourself about your responsibility by seeing an eldercare attorney.
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courtney86 Jun 19, 2020
It is her funds yes. I am going to have to get her in a NH very soon and I was trying to be prepared for the costs. She is not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.  She only receives a disability check and I have been having to draw from her IRA's to pay her regularly household bills.
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Even if she is not eligible for Medicare that doesn't mean that she can not get Medicaid, two very different programs.

I would check your state laws, prenuptial agreements have a life span, at which point they are no longer valid without being renewed.

If she needs facility care they will help her pay. The certified elder law attorney will help you understand what the laws of her state are for prenups, community spouse, Medicaid application and really everything that you need to know to get her care.

If possible get stepdad to go with you so he understands what his spousal responsibilities are and how to do what is needed to get mom the proper care.

wwww.nelf.org is the best place I have found to find an attorney that truly understands elder law, they are certified and I have found that they are cheaper because it is what they do day in and day out, unlike the ones that are jumping on the bandwagon of elder law, NAELA doesn't require anything special to sign up with them, so I don't think it is a good resource for knowledgeable elder law attorneys.

I am so sorry that your mom is going through this so young. That is just heartbreaking. I pray that you can work with your stepdad to get this done, it will make it easier for you.

Edit: I would stop paying any bills when she no longer lives there. The attorney will help you with that situation as well.
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FloridaDD Jun 19, 2020
I don't know why you think prenups have a life span.  Some may. They don't have to.  I agree with PP who said that Medicaid does not generally care about prenups, but I also know elderly people who prior to a second (or third) marriage, moved assets into trusts for the benefit of their children, which may keep them away from Medicaid, BUT in that event, OPs mom may already qualify for Medicaid.  AGree she needs a lawyer.
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You are not responsible as POA, but you may want to engage an eldercare attorney to help with how much of the marital money goes to facility.
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Your mother is responsible for paying for her care. Having POA does not make you financially responsible.

Your stepfather should consult with a certified eldercare attorney who is familiar with Medicaid in their state.
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