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Mom is worried... can you help?

Posted by carrie630 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 1, 10 at 10:21

Here's the scenario:

They had an old will (we are talking about a couple who DO NOT have a lot of money), but they do have some savings. No one is in a home (at the moment).

The old will was done about 15 years ago; all assets divided equally - that's okay. But, what the lawyer never did was have them fill out Power of Attorney Medical (even for each other plus an alternate); and I am to be the Power of Attorney in case my mother (if father passes) is incoherent.

They met with the lawyer two weeks ago; NOW (I emphasize NOW) my father is showing specific signs of mental problems (dementia - whatever, it could be obvious). If the lawyer sees any "oddities" in his behavior - they will NOT let them sign a new will. (This is know).

My mother - who is younger than father and my sisters - want me to have Power of Attorney, as I would be the one taking care of her in case she fails.

QUESTION: Can Mom give me Power of Attorney in case of incompetency WITHOUT A LAWYER? I've seen on the internet forms you can download. But how it is "official" - notary?

Very confused. Thanks for any help and patience

The reason for these questions is that if I have to take her in, I want to be able to access her checking, etc. and pay her bills in case she cannot until we move her here.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

It takes a lot of "oddities" for a lawyer to refuse to allow a client to sign. Seriously, a person would have to be seriously unresponsive.

And you need a POA to be witnessed and notarized.

Your mother can add you to her bank account, a simpler solution that will require you all to sign a new bank card.

These questions should all be directed to her attorney. Did the new attorney do a durable POA? (for healthcare)


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

Thank you - I hesitate in having my name put on - but that's not a bad idea - really solves the problem. Again, thanks.

I know my sisters would agree and don't mind me doing this, but it hadn't occurred to me to suggest that. I will keep that in mind.

Still, though - if that lawyer does NOT let them sign (which really would be awful, but there's something not too swift about him - even my stepfather thought he was "weird")
Somehow, we need official papers because we all want a say in what happens to our parents.

This is embarrassing. I don't know anything about the laws, and am just waking up to the facts - thanks to all of your help. :0)

Carrie


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

Attorneys are common and the tasks you need them to accomplish are quite simple. Don't need Clarence Darrow for this. Just need to get it done. If you're uncomfortable with this attorney, go to another. From your description, time may be of the essence. Suspect whole thing can be accomplished in a single sitting no matter where you go. However, no time for internet stuff and figuring it out on your own. Find a non-strange attorney and get it taken care of. I'll bet you'll be able to leave the office with documents in-hand in a very short time.


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

Problem is they are eight hours away driving time - we are going to be on the road to visit anyway - if it is not done then, we will have to find another one quickly - and that is my concern.

How often can you walk in to a law office, and get an appointment in a day or two (we wonder) - and we can only stay for three days (husband needs to back).

Again, though - we do have that option to put my name on their account as there is not a significant amount but I am more comfortable not doing that.

Carrie


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

"How often can you walk in to a law office, and get an appointment in a day or two....."

That's what telephones are for. Attorneys deal with minor "emergencies" such as this quite frequently. From their point of view, what you require doesn't amount to much. I suspect not much more than a matter of customizing a little of the boilerplate on documents that are pre-prepared in their computers already. Even if they're busy, I would wager that with a minimum of cajoling you'll have no difficulty being accommodated. For them, requests like this are one-time simple events and usually paid on-the-spot so it's almost like "free" money for them....although it shouldn't cost much. I would be surprised to learn that nobody would be willing to see you quickly upon recognizing your concerns and the effort you're willing to expend to come to them.


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

Putting your name on the bank account should be the easiest, simplest solution. Why do you feel uncomfortable with that?

If you are so worried, then I'd say this should warrant a special trip. Seriously. Make your attorney appointments before you go, bite the bullet and make a special trip. If you think that's a burden, then your parents should have someone a lot closer taking care of matters for them, or they should move closer to you.

My parents lived 750 miles away, and I drove there every few months before Dad died, every 6 weeks while Mother was still there, gradually up to every month until I moved her here for her last 3-1/2 years. It's part of the price of caregiving.


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attorney stuff

From your description, durable POA and medical POA are the most important things to obtain and both of those are attorney-stuff. Joint accounts are fine but they don't cover that ground.


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

Agree with all the advice above.

Both had wanted to move near us, I wanted that too - but 20 years ago they were in LOVE with Florida and there was eventually no move. Now they are regretting it.

I am making a trip - lawyer or no lawyer - to give hugs and support and maybe see if there is still hope to move them at this late age. Not so sure father can make the trip - that's worrisome but Mom would love to be near me.

If we see another lawyer, sounds like a simple request, and like it was said "free" money for them...

Carrie - Thanks again


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

You need to check with her bank. Some banks require a special POA that takes care of the accounts, safety deposit box, etc. just for that bank. They don't automatically accept a regular POA.

They may not need a NEW will if there are only minor changes. A will does not take care of a POA before death.
If there are only small changes, an addition to the original, properly signed, witnessed, etc, may be enough.


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

And if your mother were to die, you could still be on her checking account to take care of your father and pay bills. Being on the account does not take the place of POA or a will. But it does make it easier to handle business, and to deal with the estate after they die.

These are all entirely separate instruments: POA for financial matters, POA for health matters, will, trust, bank account signature. You need all these things to take care of business in the easiest way.

Agnes is correct. Many/most banks do not accept generic POAs.


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

A Para legal would also be able to do all the very minor things you are seeking and they are much cheaper.

Just because you are on the checking account does not mean you will be able to access any info or funds once the bank learns there has been a passing. In some states they freeze the account until the surviving co-account holder can come in and open an independent account.

also the Social Security office can freeze an account until they are positive that no more money needs to be returned to them from the deceased person's account. My mother got caught by this in June when we lost Daddy.

Just some food for thought and investigation.


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

Ask the bank. An account held as "joint tenants with right of survivorship" will be fine after the death of one of the owners.


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

also the Social Security office can freeze an account until they are positive that no more money needs to be returned to them from the deceased person's account. My mother got caught by this in June when we lost Daddy.

Gosh, I appreciate your post, but didn't understand the above copy and pasted paragraph... "no more money needs to be returned" - I am SO new to this legal jargon... if you can decipher this for me it would really be wonderful...thanks :0)


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

Carrie, don't worry about it. You are really putting the cart before the horse.

Sometimes when a person dies at the very end of the pay period, an automatic deposit will still be made into their account because the death was not processed in time, and it is usually just reversed back out of the account.


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RE: Mom is worried... can you help?

Ah ha! Thanks, sushipup - - you are always there to help!

Carrie


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