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Old 11-30-2009, 04:43 PM   #1
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How do you declare an elderly parent incompetent?

My DSis & BIL are considering this for his parents. Her FIL has early onset dementia & I'm not sure if her MIL does, too, but she sure does act like it.

They do things like pay the same bill two or three times, give oodles of money to the maid, send money to ex-son in law who was a real SOB, etc. These people are the type to be easily influenced to sign their house over to the boy who mows the lawn just because he was nice to them, KWIM?

They are in NJ but my sister is in another state, so the distance thing is a problem. They already have POA but would like to gain full control of the bank accounts along with the authority to get the in-laws the help they need. They are a very, very stubborn old couple.

My sister is not looking at this from a greed standpoint, so please leave that out of the equation. If she ever wanted anything from them, they'd just give it to her anyway. These people shouldn't be driving or left alone to care for themselves. They have multiple medical problems, they forget that they have taken their meds, etc.

I've never been involved in anything like this but I believe they need to start with the family physician & be able to provide some type of proof. I told my sis to get copies of the bank statements with duplicate payments as proof.

Anyone been there?
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:02 PM   #2
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Been there....they should consult and elder care attorney
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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Find a reputable attorney who deals with elder affairs in their state. You may have to do a bit of back & forth traveling but DO IT!!!

I did it before my Dad passed and I am glad. His last days were easier knowing my alcoholic brother could not get him to sign away his life savings. BTW also not greed here my Mom is still alive but her memory is also a bit muddled at times. If my bro had succeeded she would have been destitute and homeless.
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:49 PM   #4
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Here in Idaho, only a judge can declare someone incompetent. It is a legal status.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:05 PM   #5
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In addition to the elder care attorney (get one that specializes in elder care, not a general attorney that also does elder care), your sister and BIL need to have a full psychological workup done on the parents. The elder care attorney should be able to recommend several psychologists who could do these assessments.

When we had the psych eval on my MIL, I asked some of the providers I use (as a juvenile probation officer) to get recommended providers for the psych eval for the elderly.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:22 PM   #6
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I am my Mothers court appointed legal guardian - it took me 5 very long, frustrating and expensive years. Due to severe mental illness I did not have any kind of relationship with her. This was purely obligatory, it was me or the state, at least I have her safety and best interests as my top priority. My one sibling cannot cope, so he pays all the legal bills.
Early on I consulted an Attorney who laid out all the steps and over time I methodically followed them.

My Mother is in Oregon where a person has the right to make bad financial decisions, has the right to do stupid/silly things etc. Getting guardianship came about after she became homeless and ended up on a 72 hour involuntary psychiatric hold at the state geriatric psych hospital.

The legal advice I had received in the early years proved to be invaluable, all the pieces were in place. Within 2 days of her being committed I had a 30 day emergency guardianship that was made permanent 30 days later. Had she had the ability to fight it I could have been in for a really long battle.

In Oregon, guardianship is not conservatorship - Guardians control the person and Conservators control the funds. My mother had less than the state minimum in assets so no conservatorship was needed. I am a "representative payee" for her social security, I have a joint bank account and I pay her dementia facility monthly and file an annual report stating how we spent the $30 a month she gets up and over her care facility costs.

It sounds like conservatorship is more in line with what you all may be seeking. Consult an attorney who specializes in elderly law, the advice you receive could guide your steps and save you time, money and frustration in the end
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