How can my mom change a Power of Attorney?

Reply Sun 24 Feb, 2008 10:37 am
My mother recently became ill. My two sisters and myself have had to place her in an Assisted Living Facility. My mother and I have always had a love/hate relationship my whole life, I am 45 yrs. old now. Although a strained relationship we have ALWAYS been there for each other. When her basement flooded at 2a.m., she didn't hesitate to call ME, and I didn't hesitate to come running to deal with it. This has been our lives. My sisters very rarely would visit mom or talk to mom, but they are GOOD with MONEY, I am NOT. My mother put my "middle" sister as Power of Attorney, she did this because she lived closest, otherwise my eldest sister would of gotten the job, she lived in Hawaii at the time. It has been one year (2-20-07) since I rushed my mom to the hospital. She was in bad shape. She has been dx. with the very beginning stages of alcohol-induced demintia. My sisters informed me 2 weeks ago that they are selling her home, which myself and my 17 yr. old live in. My mother is totally against this, and very saddened that her daughters would throw their sister out and sell her home. There is a SLIM chance mom will be able to return home someday. That is my hope and wish. My sisters don't care either way. I am the sister in charge of watching over mom medical care, getting her to the doctors, being very aware of her meds., monitoring her blood work, getting meds. d/c'd that she no longer needs. I have had her taken off 9 medications in the last 4 months, just by following her blood work and talking to the doctors. My question is: My mom wants to change her choice of Power of Attorney, can she do that at this point? She does forget things, but things that have happened very recently, not important things, like who and what she wants to leave specifc family members. I'm scared for her. If she can come home someday, where will she go? Please, I need some advice. I have no money to speak to a lawyer.
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Reply Sun 24 Feb, 2008 10:54 am
I'm not an attorney, but...

Has your mother been declared incompetent? I believe she can make whatever changes she chooses so long as she is mentally competent. Her doctors can advise you as to whether they would swear to her competency should that prove necessary. Power of Attorney does not necessarily give your sister the right to sell your mother's house without her permission. Your mother would need to have the proper documents signed and executed but depending on the circumstances she can still change her PoA.

Who are you proposing should hold the new PoA?
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Reply Sun 24 Feb, 2008 11:10 am
I think JPB is right on point. Any questioning on a new PoA would center on whether or not she is mentally competent at the time she signs it. I quck questioning of her doctors would let you know what they think and whether or not they'd be willing to back that judgement if it is questioned.

A lawyer in your area would, of course, be the best place to start. Most will give you a free consult up front to ask some questions and figure out what steps your mother would need to take.
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Debra Law
Reply Fri 29 Feb, 2008 06:14 am
The critical question centers around the cost of your mother's Assisted Living Facility and her medical care. Perhaps your sisters, who you acknowledge are good with money, have no choice but to sell the house in order to continue paying for your mother's required care. Even if your mother revokes the present POA and executes a new POA naming a different attorney-in-fact to act on her behalf, the new attorney-in-fact will face the same dilemma: How will mother pay for her care?

Because it has been over a year since your mother left her home and moved into a medical facility, and because it is medically impossible for her to return to her home, your mother may not qualify for public assistance when she owns a significant asset that could be liquidated in order for your mother to pay for her own care.

You should read this government publication:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Medicaid Treatment of the Home: Determining Eligibility and Repayment for Long-Term Care


In particular, you should note the following:

An exempt "home" generally becomes a countable asset -- that is, its equity value is counted against Medicaid eligibility limits -- if the owner has no living spouse or dependents and

--Moves into a nursing home or other medical institution on a permanent basis without the intent to return,
--Transfers the home for less than fair market value, or
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