Thanks, Julie, I've learned a lot!
J11 wrote:(Wow! Is that scenic look out as dangerous as it looks! I am having gitters just looking at the photo.)
It's the Visitor Center at Colorado's National Monument park near Grand Junction. Dad used to hike there 2-3 times per week, 5-10 miles per hike.
I took that photo in November 2009 when the roads were covered with snow & ice. Dad was in early-stage Alzheimer's back then, and he frequently got lost, but he was still a good driver. Regardless, those narrow icy roads with the steep drops were terrifying.
16 months later when Dad was recovering in the hospital's ICU, he kept asking for his car keys so that he could "drive back home". I kept saying "Sure!" and handing them over. 10 minutes later when I was ready to leave, I'd mention that the doctor was coming to see him in a few minutes and I was going to run errands while Dad was busy with the doctor. Could I borrow the car keys back? Dad always readily gave them up. It was never about driving-- it was about being in charge.
When we drove him from the hospital to the care facility, we parked his car out front where he could see it from the lobby. He wanted to drive home as soon as he was finished with the rehab. Within the hour Alzheimer's took that memory from him. I gave the keys to my brother who used it to drive Dad to appointments and lunches. Dad usually remembered that it was his car but he no longer wanted to drive it, and he was happy to just give my brother helpful suggestions on his driving skills.
Nine months later when I was appointed conservator, I had Dad sell the car to my brother for $1. (We suggested it to Dad and he agreed.) Dad happily signed over the title and my brother did the transfer paperwork. DMV didn't ask any questions. Months after that Dad eventually recognized that his license had expired, and he threw it away. He had no interest in driving anymore.
My brother and I are fortunate that Dad was renting an apartment (no real estate to sell) and that his investments were relatively simple (no IRA or rental properties or business partnerships).
Nords wrote:The POA is a great start, but (by U.S. law) POAs are supposed to be void when the grantor (the dementia patient) is no longer competent.
I'm not a lawyer either, but my dad was. This is my understanding:
“Durable” means lasting. Normally, if you become mentally incompetent, the power of attorney is not good any more. But you can write that you want to continue the power even if you become incompetent. Then it is called a durable power of attorney. If you say on it “This power of attorney shall not be affected by incapacity of the principal” it would be a durable power of attorney. If you do become mentally incompetent, a durable power of attorney can only be ended by a court-appointed conservator.
This may vary by state.
I had a durable power of attorney for my demented mother and never had an issue using it during her life.
However I agree that a trust is a great way to go and I had also set up one of those (and my own assets are all in trust with family co-trustees). I also concur that getting everything online as much as possible simplifies things greatly.
Yep, a durable POA seems like the solution.
As Julie has mentioned, the financial institutions in particular are notorious for wanting the same verbiage on their own forms. By the time you're using a durable POA, the grantor is probably no longer competent to sign all the other individual forms. The other option would be to prep all of those durable POAs on the appropriate forms so that you had them ready when needed. I suspect that the business would still try to weasel out of the POA.
Businesses will not respect a conservator appointment letter from the state probate court, either. I've occasionally been able to cajole the reluctants with a phone call (politely threatening legal action) but it's far easier to go online and sign up without sharing all the details.
I've gone online to open bank accounts (for CDs) and to transfer assets between Fidelity Investments & Vanguard. I never volunteered that I was doing it under a conservator's appointment, and nobody asked. Nobody could tell that it was me instead of Dad's fingers on the keyboard. This may be technically illegal but contrition is far easier (and faster) than permission-- and I acted in a fiduciary manner. I also kept the records (and I reported the transactions to the probate court in my conservator's annual report) but I have the appointment letter if anyone objects.
I'll talk more in another post about the process of becoming a conservator... and dealing with the bureaucracy.