Do I need to obtain Power of Attorney for my Grandfather and Grandmother to handle all of their affairs or do I need to get Power of Attorney on just one of them?

My grandfather recently had a stroke and he is also the caregiver to my grandmother that had a stroke 10 years ago and is now in stage 7 Alzheimer’s and dementia. His stroke left him unable to process many things and unable to take care of his daily needs on his own and will be potentially going to a nursing facility. My grandmother has been unable to take care of her daily needs since her stroke 10 years ago. She will also be going to the same nursing facility that my grandfather will be going to. The nursing facility is asking for many, many things relating to their financial affairs, medical information, insurance information, combined assets, etc. I am having a really hard time obtaining all of the needed items without a Power of Attorney. What should I do in this case?

Asked on March 10, 2017 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If either one is still mentally competent, even if he or she has difficulty signing (so long as he or she could understand the terms of a power of attorney and clearly signal his or her agreement to it), they could give you a power of attorney. An elder law attorney could draft the POA and help arrange for the signing and witnessing.
If either is not mentally competent right now, or is unable to understand the terms of a POA or signal his/her agreement  with it, they cannot give you a POA--only mentally competent, communicative people can grant powers of atttorney. In this case, you would need to have a court declare him, her, or both of them legally incompetent and appoint a legal guardian, such as yourself, to manage their affairs for them. An elder law attorney can help you with this, which will involve getting medical (i.e. doctor) testmony as to their incompetence and filing a legal action in chancery court.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If either one is still mentally competent, even if he or she has difficulty signing (so long as he or she could understand the terms of a power of attorney and clearly signal his or her agreement to it), they could give you a power of attorney. An elder law attorney could draft the POA and help arrange for the signing and witnessing.
If either is not mentally competent right now, or is unable to understand the terms of a POA or signal his/her agreement  with it, they cannot give you a POA--only mentally competent, communicative people can grant powers of atttorney. In this case, you would need to have a court declare him, her, or both of them legally incompetent and appoint a legal guardian, such as yourself, to manage their affairs for them. An elder law attorney can help you with this, which will involve getting medical (i.e. doctor) testmony as to their incompetence and filing a legal action in chancery court.


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