Right to the Point – Part I

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by Joy Loverde

Where there are families, there are legal issues among other challenges. Over the years, family members who are caring for aging parents and loved ones have sent me emails regarding interesting eldercare questions. I am sharing their questions with you in the hopes that my answers offer caregiver guidance and insights. We just never know when we may find ourselves in similar situations.

Question:

How do I submit a claim for death benefits of my father-in-law for his estate?

Answer:

"Death benefits" can take many forms: insurance, pension, retirement accounts, will beneficiary, and more. Since you do mention an "estate" is in the picture, chances are there is a lawyer for your father-in-law’s estate who will walk you through what needs to be done in order to claim death benefits.

Additionally, contact each organization -- insurance company, former employers, Veterans, Affairs, Social Security -- directly since the claim-filing procedure will be different in every case.

Question:

A crime is being committed against a person, by his daughter. He is incapable of making financial and legal decisions according to a neuro-psycho evaluation declaring that he has dementia.  This daughter has taken over all financial and legal matters probably by power of attorney illegally gotten, because he had dementia when she got the power of attorney.  Is there any way that a public guardian could be assigned to him?

Answer:

The answer to your question about assigning a public guardian is, “yes.”  You and anyone else who is concerned about the treatment of this person has the right to go to the trouble and expense of bringing up this matter in the court of law, in front of a judge, who will ultimately determine whether or not the daughter is committing criminal acts against her father.

Question:

Do all legal heirs need to be notified to declare a parent incompetent?

Answer:

Since these matters are always governed by state laws, you must consult an attorney before proceeding. But generally the answer is, “yes. “

Question:

How can I get a power of attorney off? It’s not a family member that has it, it’s a friend. The friend went behind the family’s back and did it. There are only two of us left of the family -- me and my other niece, and then the great nieces and nephews. Can you please help?

Answer:

If your relative is of sound mind, and he or she has never been declared mentally incapacitated by a doctor, only he or she can revoke the existing power of attorney.  Hopefully you can appeal to his or her sensibilities and have it removed.

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