If my mother is in a nursing home, how do I go about taking over her affairs for her since my grandma is terminal and can no longer do it?

What are the first steps or direction that I should go in? My grandmother takes care of all my mother’s medical and financial stuff. However, my Grandmother is dying of cancer and is in hospital now.

Asked on June 30, 2014 under Estate Planning, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If your mother is mentally competent, she execute a Power of Attorney (POA) giving you authority over her financial, legal, business, etc. affairs; and she should also execute  a health care directive, expressing her wishes for medical care and giving you authority to make medical decisions. A lawyer can draw these up inexpensively and quickly; they are standard forms.

If she is not mentally compentent, you would need a court (the chancery court, sometimes called in this context surrogate's court) to appoint you her legal guardian. This is not an easy undertaking--it's not like suing someone in small claims court. You should definitely get an attorney, such as on specializing in elder law, to help you.

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