Author Topic: Any trusts & estates lawyers or experts here?  (Read 1947 times)


  • Bristles
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Any trusts & estates lawyers or experts here?
« on: June 15, 2016, 01:44:08 PM »
Have a situation with my great aunt...


  • Bristles
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Re: Any trusts & estates lawyers or experts here?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 02:07:08 PM »
My great aunt (my mother's brother's sister), is 100, and she fell ill and went to a hospital and has been in a nursing home a couple of weeks.  She is on a serious decline and probably won't last more than a few days (she could recover).  She had appointed her neighbor Lydia power of attorney (which we thought was awkward) but since we live 10 hours away there wasn't really much we could do.  She needed someone to read her documents and sign things and change over her CDs at various banks.  So she did that a few years ago maybe in 2013.  She had a lock box and told my mom where they key was and where the life insurance policies and everything were.  She was leaving the house to my mom and the CDs to my mom (the ITF is my mom).  We don't know if Lydia has changed any of this in the last 2-3 years.  My great aunt was getting a bit confused in her old age at that point.

So, now she is in the nursing home, and the social worker said that her co-health care proxy Gloria (my mom is the other health care proxy) couldn't be located.  Well luckily my brother had saved her number (the nursing home somehow had the wrong number) and we called her and she went to pick up the health care proxy from the lawyer (whose office is across the street from my great aunt and her neighbors Lydia).  The lawyer could find the will and the power of attorney but couldn't find the health care proxy.  We know there was also a copy in the locked box, of which we have the key 10 hours away here.  So we might need to go up and unlock the box to get the proxy out.  The lock box also contains all the account numbers and notebook of the accounts of my aunt.  Lydia also knows all of these because she's been POA.

So, the lawyer told my mom over the phone that he recommends to the POA not to let anyone into the house (including us) until she passes away.  I guess this makes sense because you never know which family members are looking to ransack and whatnot. WE are just a bit concerned because a couple of years ago $450 went missing in the house and Lydia and Gloria were the only ones with access.  Lydia actually accused my brother and I of taking it, so that my aunt wouldn't appoint her POA which is absurd. 

SO far, Lydia is communicating with my mom and telling her details and things, about my aunt's health.  We want to fly up and visit even though my aunt is not awake really.  We were going up Saturday-MOnday and will stay at a hotel.

My mom is a bit upset because when her mother died (same side of the family), her brother's wife took all the mementos and everything and she lost all her childhood pictures and memories.  So she doesn't want that to happen again.  Long story but we are just a bit concerned all around.  Does it make sense for US to consult a lawyer on this?  If our aunt stays in the nursing home, the CDs will need to be used to pay for some of her care and the house may need to be signed over the Medicaid when the CDs run out.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Any trusts & estates lawyers or experts here?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 02:15:42 PM »
A lot depends on which state you are in.  If you think that your great aunt is being exploited you can call Adult Protective Services (that's what it is called in my state) and they investigate abuse, neglect and exploitation of disabled and elderly adults.

You may want to consult with an attorney about the possiblity of pursuing guardianship/conservatorship if you think she will be in the NH for awhile.  If you are worried about the neighbor, I would at least consult with an attorney so that you know your options.

As far as Medicaid, the house doesn't automatically go to reimburse Medicaid for nursing home care after the death of the owner.  A lot of times there are threshold amounts for the value of the house and Medicaid will not seek to take the house if the value is lower than the threshold.  A person can keep a house under the legal fiction that they have an "intent to return home" and still qualify for Medicaid for long term nursing home care.  Google "Medicaid Recovery".  The individual states make the rules on how they handle seeking recovery.

I don't know if I am explaining very well, but to qualify for Medicaid for nursing home care there is a resources test and an income test.  She can only own so much in assets (house generally not counted because of "intent to return home") and she can only have so much income (this can be fixed by using a Qualified Income Trust).  There are also penalty periods if assets were given away within a certain time frame before applying for Medicaid.

Again, consulting an attorney might be helpful.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 02:20:09 PM by BFGirl »

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  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Any trusts & estates lawyers or experts here?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2016, 02:36:08 PM »
There is not much you can do from a distance.

When you are up there this weekend, I would suggest that the family and Lydia agree to open the lock box together and take a formal inventory of the contents.  You could do the same with a full inventory for the house as well (or possibly get someone from a firm that deals with furnished property rentals or estate auctions to do a full inventory of the house if there is too much for family and Lydia to do).  If you felt the need, you could get the lawyer to come along to the opening of the lockbox and the house as well.

Once you have full agreed inventories of everything, change the locks on the box and the house, let the lawyer have the only keys and record.supervise any comings and goings.