Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

The power of attorney document allows a person (called the principal) to name another individual (called an attorney-in-fact or agent), usually a trusted family member, domestic partner or friend, to make financial and other decisions when the person with dementia is no longer able. The agent should be chosen carefully; it is recommended that this individual have a thorough conversation with the principal about what the responsibility entails. In addition, a successor agent or agents should be named in the event the original agent is unavailable or unwilling to serve. With regard to individuals with dementia, power of attorney documents should be written so that they are 'durable', meaning that they are valid even after the principal is incapacitated and can no longer make decisions. Power of attorney does not give the appointed person (agent) the authority to override the decision making of the person with dementia (principal). The person with dementia maintains the right to make his or her own decisions — as long as he or she has legal capacity — even if the decisions are not what others believe are good decisions. The agent is authorized to manage and make decisions about the income and the assets of the principal. This agent is responsible for acting according to the instructions, and in the best interests, of the principal.

Recent Answers

Estate Planning Attorney

It is never too early to proactively talk about estate planning. I have family meetings with my clients and their children while my clients are in their 50s, so they are young and healthy still. It is always hard to talk about these things when we are in a crisis mode and stress levels as high. If... (more)

It is never too early to proactively talk about estate planning. I have family meetings with my clients and their children while my clients are in their 50s, so they are young and healthy still. It is always hard to talk about these things when we are in a crisis mode and stress levels as high. If you have done some estate planning of your own, that is a great place to start to bring up the subject. 

Here are some topics to consider:

  • Do they have a power of attorney
  • Do they have an advance health care directive
  • What are their wishes regarding end of life decisions 
  • To they have a trust or will
  • Are they willing to share a 'location list' of where they have accounts and/or important documents. 

This is a good start!

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Private Fiduciary, Trustee,Conservator, Financial Advisor

The right time is NOW!  Why are you waiting?

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Estate Planning Attorney

Your dad would need to sign a new power of attorney (POA) to transfer the authority to you (or back to you) and revoke the prior POA(s).  It sounds like, however, he may be suseptiable to undue influence. So possibly his girlfriend could get him to sign another POA again and it becomes difficult to... (more)

Your dad would need to sign a new power of attorney (POA) to transfer the authority to you (or back to you) and revoke the prior POA(s). 

It sounds like, however, he may be suseptiable to undue influence. So possibly his girlfriend could get him to sign another POA again and it becomes difficult to stop that, which is when some people turn to the court to get a conservatorship or guardianship. However, you would need to show your dad cannot manage his finances himself and he sounds very active.

You could transfer and ensure all of his assets are in his trust, including the bank accounts, since the POA only controls non-trust assets. 

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Senior Advisor

The first step you should take is to do a lot of research on the subject.  Look at the specific type of cancer he has as well.  That means to search the web, talk to family and friends and maybe a doctor.  Understand everything you can about this and then be understanding to your grandfather... (more)

The first step you should take is to do a lot of research on the subject.  Look at the specific type of cancer he has as well.  That means to search the web, talk to family and friends and maybe a doctor.  Understand everything you can about this and then be understanding to your grandfather.  Things you need to learn about are behavior changes.  You need to understand the changes he might go through when and if he gets a treatment.  Look for national, regional and local resources that could help him out.  The best thing you can do is to be there for him and support him in any way you can.  

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Senior Specialist

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather's cancer. It's a difficult time for grandfather and your family; but there are things you can do now to be proactive with the progression of this disease. Adding to Vanessa's recommendations on the medical and financial power of attorney; also look into... (more)

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather's cancer. It's a difficult time for grandfather and your family; but there are things you can do now to be proactive with the progression of this disease. Adding to Vanessa's recommendations on the medical and financial power of attorney; also look into hospice care as this is end of life care that is covered by Medicare benefits. Hospice care is used primarily to help the individual with pain management and help the family prepare with death.

I know this may be difficult, but also sit down with your family and your grandfather and discuss how he would like to live the remaining days of his life (at home or a facility). Also if possible discuss how he would like your family to celebrate his life. What kind of funeral (burial or cremation), getting an estate plan in order if their are assets, and also access to all account information (emails, banks, life insurance, etc.)

Good luck with your journey and remember it is difficult to discuss all these topics but remember you are doing this out of love.

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Estate Planning Attorney

From a legal stand point there a some key documents your grandfather should consider putting in place: A medical power of attorney, which nominates someone to make medical decisions; A financial power of attorney, which appoints an agent to make medical decisions; and  Determine whether, depending... (more)

From a legal stand point there a some key documents your grandfather should consider putting in place:

A medical power of attorney, which nominates someone to make medical decisions;

A financial power of attorney, which appoints an agent to make medical decisions; and 

Determine whether, depending on the types of assets your grandfather has, if he needs to have a Will or a Trust.

Certain accounts and assets can pass at death via a beneficiary designation. I'd encourage your grandfather to check all accounts for this option. 

As difficult it may be, I'd also encourage your grandfather to think about end of life decisions and be as specific as possible regarding health directives. 

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Private Fiduciary, Trustee,Conservator, Financial Advisor

If you are legally married, then all money is both of yours as far as Medicaid is concerned.  While the nursing home nor the government can "access" this account, if you refuse to pay the nursing home bills and your husband is not otherwise qualified for Medicaid, then he will be evicted and you... (more)

If you are legally married, then all money is both of yours as far as Medicaid is concerned.  While the nursing home nor the government can "access" this account, if you refuse to pay the nursing home bills and your husband is not otherwise qualified for Medicaid, then he will be evicted and you could face criminal charges for neglect. Get legal advice now in the state your husband lives in and the state you live in.

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Estate Planning Attorney

Typically Medicaid rules, which vary state to state, allow the well spouse to maintain an amount of what would otherwise be available assets for qualification purposes at the time you apply for Medicaid. Assets acquired after the spouse is institutionalized are not protected and will be counted at... (more)

Typically Medicaid rules, which vary state to state, allow the well spouse to maintain an amount of what would otherwise be available assets for qualification purposes at the time you apply for Medicaid. Assets acquired after the spouse is institutionalized are not protected and will be counted at the time of the application. You would want to see what amount is allowed in your state.  Since it sounds like your husband is not yet institutionalized, at least a portion, if not all, should be protected. 

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Private Fiduciary, Trustee,Conservator, Financial Advisor

The same legal documents  YOU and anyone over the age of 18 needs: Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney for business matters, Health Care directives.  Do you have yours?

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Estate Planning Attorney

This is a great opportunity to be proactive. There are two essential documents anyone should have that relate to legal and medical issues if one becomes incapacitated: power of attorney for finance: this document names a person or persons to make financial decisions for you in the event you are... (more)

This is a great opportunity to be proactive. There are two essential documents anyone should have that relate to legal and medical issues if one becomes incapacitated:

  • power of attorney for finance: this document names a person or persons to make financial decisions for you in the event you are unable.
  • advance healthcare directive: names a person or agent to make medical decisions for you if you are unable. It can also address what kids of decision you want that person to make. In this way, the agent named has authority to make medical decisions AND knows what decisions to make. Along with the advance healthcare directive, one might consider having a Living Will, which addresses end of life decisions, specifically, if in an irreversible vegetative state, whether you would want to continue to be on live support or have it removed. Finally, there is one other medical document to consider called a Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment or POLST, which used to be called a Do No Resuscitate Order or DNR. This document would address end of life questions as well. Your mom would discuss this particular document with her doctor.
There are two other documents to consider that cover the time period after one passes away and how assets would be distributed and who would be in charge of this. This would be either a Will or a Trust. Depending on the state your mother resides in and the assets she has, either a Will or a Trust might be appropriate. It is a good idea to see a estate planning or elder law attorney to discuss these documents. 

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Estate Planning Attorney

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother, but from  a legal standpoint, you would want to find out if your grandma has a Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD), which is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on her behalf. You would want to discuss her wishes regarding... (more)

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother, but from  a legal standpoint, you would want to find out if your grandma has a Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD), which is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on her behalf. You would want to discuss her wishes regarding life support and CPR. The documents that would memorialize her wishes regarding end of life decisions would be a DNR (now called POLST) and a Living Will. 

On the financial side, I'd consider whether she has a durable power of attorney nominating someone to manage her finances. However, because a durable Power of Attorney is null and void once someone passes away, she would also need to consider having a Will or a Trust. Depending on state laws a Will may not be sufficient to avoid a court process when she passes so you might want to consider speaking to an attorney near you about that. 

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Private Fiduciary, Trustee,Conservator, Financial Advisor

Help to give away her possessions while she is living so there is less fighting over them after she passes.  Also, make sure her Will, Trust, and health care orders for Do Not Resuscitate are in order under your state's laws and you know where these documents are.

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.