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My wife has been out of town for the past seven weeks caring…

My wife has been...

My wife has been out of town for the past seven weeks caring for her elderly mother. Her mother became widowed this past December, and all of the burden of care has been placed on my wife. She has a brother who has chosen not to involve himself with any family matters. He didn't even attend his father's funeral. Aside from the situation with her brother, my deceased father-in-law never assigned power of attorney instructions to anyone. My mother-in-law suffered a stroke shortly before her husbands death. The stroke has allowed some severe dementia to affect her memory and cognitive skills. My in-laws live in a retirement community, in a fully paid for home. They have assets in various places, but never planned that any of this would ever happen. My mother-in-law refuses to assign power of attorney to anyone, but lacks the skills to even write a check. She has over-due bills that simply aren't being paid because she doesn't realize what was paid automatically , and what wasn't. Her husband took care of most of the financial matters before he passed away, and essentially kept her in the dark about everything else. My wife is having a very hard time getting her mother evaluated because she simply refuses to trust anyone. My wife left a good position in Baltimore to be available to care for her mother. We would just like to bring her up here so that she could receive better care. My wife simply can't handle the burden alone. We simply don't have the financial resources to pay for guardianship proceedings, but she simply can't leave her mother by herself. She is actually a danger to herself if left alone for too long. My wife even had to take a job down there so that we could continue to pay our own bills. Can we legally bring her mother up here to live with us? How can we go about it?

Lawyer's Assistant: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

The state is Florida.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

We have tried several avenues to have my mother-in-law evaluated. There is a service that is available for seniors to be looked after if you feel that they may be considered unsafe if left on their own. We invited them to come by to examine her. When the examiner came by they saw that her safety was questionable, but my mother-in-law convinced her that she was capable of staying by herself because she had friends that would stop by and look after her. In the past two months, one person stopped by and found her laying in bed, soaked in her own urine, because she couldn't get up. This was after saw the examiner. Her usual doctor dropped her from care because my mother-in-law was non-compliant. She loses her medication often.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes. Even if we are able to bring her up with us, what do we do about all unfinished details concerning her dead husband without some sort of power-of-attorney?

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/12/2018
Jessica B
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,679
Experience: Attorney at Donald B. Linsky & Associates, PA
Verified

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed Florida attorney. I hope I may be of assistance with your question. Please remember to rate my service at the end of this session. Thank you!

I see this all the time in my practice. The first step is determining what all the assets are and how they are titled. This is important in order to know what your wife may be able to access. Fir instance, if there are assets in the father's sole name, a Florida probate will have to be opened to administer those assets. If the assets were in joint name, then the surviving joint owner is entitled to the asset.

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As far as the mother, your wife must be Power of Attorney or become her legal guardian. I understand a guardianship may not be a good option for you. What I do at my practice is have the mother brought into the office under the theory we are there to talk about her husband's estate. I like to make them feel empowered like they are dictating the conference. Within that conference I explain the benefits and necessity of a Power of Attorney. Sometimes the parent will listen to me rather than their child.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Can we simply bring her here to Maryland to care for her, without worrying about guardianship for now? We simply can't leave her there by herself. My wife desperately needs the help of other family members to care for her.

Yes you can but you will have no authority over her or her assets. According to the courts, as of today, she is a competent adult and therefore maintains all her rights. Will she fight you on the move?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I just asked if we could simply take our mother-in-law back to Maryland with us to take better care of her? We can take care of all power-of-attorney matters later.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
My wife desperately needs the help from other family members to take better care of her mother.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
What will it take to have her ruled as incompetant? We have a neurological psych evaluation scheduled for lated in March. Are we liable if something happens to her if she is just left by herself?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Are we liable if something happens to her if she is simply left by herself?

You can take her if she is willing to go. If she is not willing to go you don't want to put yourself in a position to be accused of kidnapping. In order to have her declared incompetent you need to file a Petition to Determine Incapacity with the court. She would then be interviewed by experts who submit reports to the judge as to her competency.

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You are no liable if anything happens to her if she stays. You may want to try to set her up with a caretaker.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
How do we file this petition, and with whom do we file it? Can I do it here in Maryland for someone living in Florida?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Once it is determined that she is incompetant, will power-of attorney be granted automatically,or are there other steps?

You file it in the County and State in which the individual resides. So if she remains living in Florida you file it in Florida. In Florida you are required to use an attorney to prepare and file the paperwork. Once the petition is filed, she will be interviewed by three experts. They will file their reports with the judge. There will then be a hearing to determine her competency. IF she is declared incompetent then a guardian will be appointed. Your wife may petition the court to be the guardian.

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Once your wife is the court appointed guardian she will have the legal authority to make healthcare and financial decisions on your mother's behalf.

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She will have access to all the assets in her mother's name and may access all of her medical records.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank You for your advice. I feel like we may finally be getting some place.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
What type of attorney will we be seeking this service from?

I'm sorry you have to go through this. It would be so much easier if she would just sign a Power of Attorney. Maybe there is still hope to convince her to execute one. You will want to use an Estate Planning Attorney.

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Please let me know if you have an additional question. If not, please remember to rate my service. Thank you!

Jessica B
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,679
Experience: Attorney at Donald B. Linsky & Associates, PA
Verified
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