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Power Of Attorney for an Elderly Parent

There are a variety of reasons that it makes sense to have an elderly parent assign power of attorney to an adult child. This is a guide about power of attorney for elderly parent.


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By 0 found this helpful
September 18, 2007

I strongly suggest if you have a parent still living that they make you power of attorney over them, in case something happens to them where they might have to wind up in the nursing home. The state will otherwise take their home and property.

By Wendy from Enid, OK

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By Jill (Guest Post)
September 18, 20071 found this helpful
Top Comment

We have recent experience with this. Pop came to live with us almost 6 years ago, right after selling his home. As it became more difficult to care for Pop here at home because of his multiple dementias, we starting looking into nursing home placement. We discovered that here in FL, if he had sold property in the past 5 years, all of the monies from that sale could be taken to pay for nursing home care. The intake staff member I spoke to at one of the nursing homes we investigated informed me of this practice, and told me that if Pop had already distributed the money to loved ones, those loved ones would be required to refund those monies for his care. We were in shock to say the least.


Because Pop had indeed disbursed his funds early to ensure that money went where he intended it at a time that he felt would do more good than after his death, we kept on caring for him in our home until he was well past the 5 year mark, to be certain that grandkids wouldn't have to return money that had been gifted to them for college tuition.

We are now in the process of getting Medicaid to fund his nursing home costs. A problem that we have run into is that Pop has two cash value life insurance policies and Medicaid policy is that these must be borrowed against down to a certain very low level and used for Pop's benefit prior to Medicaid benefits kicking in. Medicaid is entitled to up to $2500 dollars of the cash value of each policy if we can't manage to spend that money.

Thankfully, my husband has power of attorney for his dad, which enables him to request the cash value and use it to pre-pay funeral expenses and pay towards the accumulating debt for Pop's upkeep. Hospice is funding the nursing home care, and any monies that we can't use up on Pop's behalf can be donated to Hospice as an acceptable expense. We are also using the funds to covers medications for non-Hospice related conditions, such as his thyroid and blood pressure meds.


Something very important to know is that powers of attorney for parents MUST be completed PRIOR to any diagnosis of dementia. Once a person is diagnosed or receiving treatment for any form of dementia, that individual is no longer considered legally capable of assigning power of attorney to any other individual. In order for a family member to gain power of attorney once a parent has been diagnosed with dementia, it takes several thousand dollars in legal fees and several months, sometimes as long as a year, before that power of attorney is finally granted by a judge. We learned about this in a class about Alzheimer's conducted by one of our local hospitals.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 29, 2018

I am 75 years old. My only child is my power of attorney. Does it need to be notarized? I have no assets, only Social Security.


May 29, 20180 found this helpful

In my state you don't have to notarize a power of attorney.

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May 29, 20180 found this helpful

You are to be commended for being transparent and proactive with your wishes!


Consider seeing if there is a legal aid service to tell you your state's rules. If you not have a legal aid service, look up a local law school and ask to speak with the dean. He/she can give you your state's rules.

From personal experience, I strongly recommend having a lawyer review your will, power of attorney etc. with you and your daughter together. Also, if you can afford it, have a tax preparer/financial planner review the money end so your daughter gets the maximums and is not stuck with excessive or unexpected inheritance taxes.

This is important even if you think you don't have much. Some state's rules can really pinch grieving families with unexpected taxes and fees. It is terrible when this happens... especially if it could have been avoided.

Good luck!

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May 29, 20180 found this helpful

just want to be sure. georgia does not require a power of attorney to be notarized?.

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May 30, 20180 found this helpful

I am in North Carolina and recently a relative in Texas asked us to be his POA and we had to get it notarized. As well, we had to go to a couple of different notaries befure they felt comfortable signing the document we provided which was one we altered off a form on the internet.


so saying I'm not sure how it can harm to have it notarized in case someone ever contests it

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May 31, 20180 found this helpful

It does not seem as if you need it notarized. Here is some information for your state:

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January 20, 20190 found this helpful

In CA POA has to be notarized or witnessed by 2 unrelated people.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 16, 2019

I am hold the power of attorney for my late 80 year old mother. She is running out of money, has dementia, and I am ready to apply from Medicare to Medicaid for her. The problem is that my sister still co-owns a business with our mother and she is unwilling to be forthcoming with the accounts and information needed for the application.


She states the bank will recall the business loan which is in our mother's name. What can be done to get the information needed and satisfy my sister?


April 17, 20190 found this helpful

Most likely your answer is going to need a lawyer (perhaps the one who did the POA paperwork since he/she knows the situation). as you are dealing with needs that are outside the scope most lay people being able to help if your sister is not cooperating.

If that lawyer is no longer available or won't take the challenge, Google your town name and the phrase 'state senator' and see if someone from their office can help you with a reputable legal aide source (never Google legal aide as 99% of those seem to be scams.

If your mother is in a nursing home, some have social work teams that do that paperwork (to get the person on Medicaid) and perhaps if they approached your sister, she may cooperate with them...but if not, a lawyer is needed. I would think the first thing would be to get your mom out of that business and off of that loan and that is a legal transaction from my point of view.

Prayers for an easy solution. Post back so I know how it is going for you!

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April 17, 20190 found this helpful

You need a lawyer for this. There is a 5 year look back period, so you cannot transfer assets.

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April 19, 20190 found this helpful

Thank you all for your input. A lawyer already consulted has suggested I just give the financials for the business & wait for them to ask for more. You can not get someone out of a loan, the loan would have to be settled & paid off and the funds are not there so I am told. Plus the sister would never take responsibility for it. Getting the mother off of the business would be impossible without going to court to become her conservator which is a bit deal. Would upset all. The transfer of assets into the business, if there were any, would have happened more than five year ago based on what I have seen in the Lien thru our state. Thus the stalemate.
Somehow I have to force my sister to let me see the books to satisfy that I am doing proper due diligence before I fill out the Medicaid forms. Also the Title of this post in incorrect Thriftyfun, it should read : Applying for Medicaid for an Elderly Mother. Peace to all.

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