Power Of Attorney for an Elderly Parent

September 18, 2007

Older man signing a legal document.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



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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Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

February 7, 2021

My mom and her sister are DPOA of medical and financial for my grandma. My grandma recently had a stroke and has been diagnosed with vascular dementia. My grandma has been trying to write checks in the thousands but my aunt has taken over financial stuff due to the dementia diagnosis and my grandma's doctor told them my grandma is no longer competent to take care of her finances.

My mom's other two siblings are hateful people who are trying to revoke the DPOA, don't believe my mom and aunt that my grandma has been diagnosed with dementia or that my grandma has dementia and continue to get my grandma worked up over finances. Is there anything we can do to put a stop to this? It is a very stressful situation and the other two siblings have been verbally and physically aggressive. Any help or recommendations are greatly appreciated! Thanks!


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
February 7, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

Your mother is the one who could revoke it. It could be revoked by others if they could prove you do not have your mothers best interests at heart. I would consult a lawyer if I were you.


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 320 Answers
February 7, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

The doctor who provided the dementia diagnosis has an obligation - in my opinion - to put you in touch with a family counselor, psychiatric social worker, hospital chaplain, or geriatric specialist to advise on this situation. Domestic issues like this rip at the fabric of our society, and my heart goes out to you.


Doctors and lawyers are notoriously uncooperative with one another -- so I don't know that taking only legal steps is appropriate or effective. Sending good vibes.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
February 8, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

I believe the first question has to be:
1.) Who signed/gave the DPOA to your mother and her sister?
2.) Did your grandmother sign/give them the DPOA (notarized) before she was diagnosed with dementia?
3.) If so, How long before?
4.) Can anyone document that your grandmother was well enough to know what she was signing?
5.) What does your grandmother say about this situation? Does she want it stopped? Irregardless of your grandmother's condition she may still have a some input about this (if it comes before a judge).


If there is anything in the questions above that did not happen legally then anyone can contest this action.
All of this will have to be handled legally so if your mother does not have sufficient finances to hire an attorney then she should go to her local Family Services office and ask them to help her find an attorney that is free or at a reduced rate.
There is no other way to stop this harassment and if any of this DPOA was not handled properly/legally then a judge will have to decide how her estate will be handled.
Your mother will probably have to present receipts and legitimate reasons for all money that has been used from your grandmothers accounts. Not only money but any changes that have been made.

A POA is a very legal document and cannot be treated lightly and should not be abused either by the person using it or anyone trying to obtain it.


I hope that everything was handled legally and that your mother can get an official declaration from a judge.

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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.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
May 29, 20180 found this helpful

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


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
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!


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
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


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
May 31, 20180 found this helpful

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

January 20, 20190 found this helpful

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

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September 19, 2019

My brother was taking care of my mother. She is on Social Security. He ended up going to jail, but he didn't have power of attorney.

He was the caretaker of my mother. Now that I have my mother what do I have to do to get her benefits?


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
September 19, 20190 found this helpful

While I am not exactly clear on what you are asking, I hope this helps.

If your mom is on social security and moved from your brother's home to yours, she needs to change her address with the social security administration. Here is their phone number: 1 (800) 772-1213. You cannot do this for her, she needs to do that herself.

If your mom wants you to help pay her bills and make various decisions for her, she will need to be of sound mind and it is best to have a lawyer create one or all of the forms of Power of Attorney available in your state. Each state is different, so be sure to find a reputable lawyer in your state to get this done.

Also be sure that your mother has a defined will and that she assigns someone she trusts to execute it upon her passing. If this is not done there can be all kinds of issues when she passes on.

If your mother is NOT of sound mind, you will want to talk to a lawyer to apply for guardianship over her so you can take care of her. This is a very expensive and lengthy process and again, each state is different so be sure to talk to the lawyer about your state's requirements and how long it takes.

Some people will tell you you do not need a lawyer to do power of attorney paperwork that you can do it online. I am sure in some places that is possible, but it is never recommended because of the complexity of the situations. In these matters it is ALWAYS best to have it done by someone who has a law degree and a license to practice in your state.

Always best to leave these things to a professional.

Post back with updates! Prayers and blessings to you and your family.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
September 19, 20190 found this helpful

You can draw up a power of attorney yourself. Forms are online. You have to have your mother sign it and get it notarized in my state. The next step is to notify Social Security that you are the new caretaker and the benefits will be sent to you. Be sure you keep careful records to show that the money is actually spent on your mother. Social Security can call you in requesting this.

September 20, 20190 found this helpful

Actually you need to talk to her doctor and tell him you are her caretaker. Usually if your mom is able to talkand write she can make you her caretaker. But usually you need a layer to become official power of/ attorney.Write out a paper and bring your mom to the doctor and have her sign it in front of the doctor . If she cannot write thenshe may sign an x.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
September 20, 20190 found this helpful

There are too many variables in your case to offer advice or even good suggestions as someone who knows family law would have to ask a lot of questions before giving you legal advice.

You really need to discuss this problem with an attorney.
If you cannot afford to pay high legal fees you can search Google for Family Services with your zip code and make an appointment to discuss this problem with them. They should be able to supply information since this is concerning a senior who apparently needs care in her daily needs.

You cannot change very much over the telephone with Social Security and only your mother has the authority to change anything about her benefits.
Social Security benefits are usually deposited in a bank account so you will have to have legal right to access these funds.

If your mother agrees, an attorney can make arrangements through the court for you to have access to her benefits if they are being used to take care of her.
A POA is only good while that person is alive and is no longer valid when the person dies.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
September 22, 20190 found this helpful

If you have taken over the care of your mom, you will need to go to an attorney and also SSN to see what you can do to get the money transfered to your account instead of your brothers. The court is the only one who can issue you power of attorney and you should seek legal advice to see what you need to do.

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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?


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
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!


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
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.

April 19, 20191 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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