Can POA change when an Alzheimer's patient remarries?

2 answers | Last updated: May 30, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My sister is dating a man with early Alzheimer's who has given POA to his daughter. The daughter has put him in an assisted living residence and has taken over his finances. If my sister were to marry him would she be able to become the POA to make medical or financial decisions?

Expert Answers

Frederick Hertz is a lawyer, mediator and author based in Oakland, California whose work focuses on property co-ownership and financial relationships between siblings, families, spouses and domestic partners, business partners, friends, and unmarried couples. He provides both transaction and negotiation counsel and also serves as a mediator and arbitrator in these areas.

This is an excellent question, and it involves both legal and inter-personal issues. From a legal standpoint the POA is probably still valid after a marriage - but its unusual for someone to "put" someone in a nursing home based upon a POA. That usually requires a conservatorship appointment. But in any event, the principal always has the right to revoke the POA so long as he is competent -- so there is an easy solution. If your sister's husband doesn't want his daughter to be making these decisions, he can revoke the POA and name your sister. So, in that sense your sister is able to become the attorney-in-fact. In addition, if she felt the daughter was doing something improper she has the right to file a court petition for conservatorship, which could override the POA. The broader issue is how is your sister going to navigate the decision making path with the daughter, to avoid major conflicts in the future. As her boyfriend declines the tensions will only increase, and she should use this situation as a platform for tackling the issues and potential disagreements in a constructive fashion. It may be wise to convene a family meeting, perhaps with a counselor or mediator, to work out an arrangement that respects their mutual concerns.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I know right now that spells trouble, and I'll explain why:

Something similar happened with my bio dad when he was living but he was widowed and never remarried. However, he had a lady friend who is being discovered more and more to have most likely acted fraudulently. In fact, just yesterday I found out from the funeral home who buried him that supposedly between them and the person who took over my dad's financial matters, someone supposedly was supposed to of tried to find me and even called my local police department to try to alert me to my dad's death. I was actually surprised because I know people on the force and I was never contacted. I spoke with a friend of mine who suspected right away that the person who took over my dad's financial matters most likely falsified information if I wasn't contacted by the cops to alert me to my dad's death. Apparently, the person who was supposed to have been trying to find me knew what town I live in, and I've been home pretty much most of the time since winter. Of course I have been in and out and you would have thought that if the cops ever tried to get a hold of me regarding dad's death, they would've left a business card with a name and phone number, a note on the door or a letter in the mail or even a phone call. None of which happened, which is why this came as a surprise to me just from what the funeral home director said. I know that something fishy has happened and it's becoming more and more evident. Not only did my dad worked for Ford and have a life insurance policy I knew nothing about until UniCARE contacted me, but now I'm finding out someone most likely took advantage of my dad and coerced him into signing over his house to them and most likely the money, too.

What works on my behalf is the fact my dad never updated his life insurance policy until nine years after mom died and she was the beneficiary (but she won't need that money in death, she was dead nine years before dad finally had a beneficiary change three weeks before he died and was most likely on his deathbed).

What also works is that I happened to be the only child and my dad had no will.

He had Alzheimer's according to the death certificate. Therefore, knowing he had Alzheimer's for years, there's no way he could've been competent enough to change his life insurance beneficiary or even open a TOD account to sign his house over to this lady friend I knew nothing about because I never her.

Everything went on secretly and things started being discovered after dad's death.

I was listed as the only family member, so this person who took over his financial matters who was his so called 'friend' was the very one who most likely took advantage of him and no one knew until later.

He was widowed and never remarried, so therefore the money by law would've automatically rolled over to me. I think dad's fraudulent POA probably knew this before anyone else realized it and she therefore took advantage and most likely either forged your signature or coerced him into signing something he didn't even know he was signing.

If someone has dementia or Alzheimer's, be very wary! Just from what you're describing sounds like trouble waiting to happen. Normal people just don't marry someone with Alzheimer's or even dementia unless they're seeking financial gain. Be very wary of a mid aged lady in her 50s in the Lorain County Ohio area, specifically in Vermilion. I'm trying to tell you what happened to my dad because there's a lady running around loose right now and she's most likely on the run by now and has been in trouble eight times over taxes and has had a house foreclosed on by the IRS. I found this out on the Lorain county Ohio public record and I can only wonder of all the different places she lived, how many more people has she done this to? Some addresses were actually nonexistent from what I noticed. There used to be a house on the lot where the foreclosure happened, and I'd like to find out what happened to the house and why she had it torn down. People in the area just don't tear down homes and leave the lot empty, my old neighborhood is nothing but wealthy neighbors and this happens to be way out in the country near the lake so families out that way definitely had money.

Be very careful of this person who seeks to marry an Alzheimer's patient, be very wary because this patient will most likely end up broke. Does this patient have money and assets? Does the patient have an especially large amount of money and expensive assets? My dad did, and he may have possibly been duped by his POA, things are pointing more and more in that direction and possibilities are getting stronger and stronger.

If so, you better take guardianship now before it's too late, or one day the patient will be broke and have nothing because everything will have been signed over to this new spouse who is now hundreds, thousands, millions or even billions of dollars richer at the expense of the Alzheimer's patient.

Did this Alzheimer's patient recently lose someone like a former spouse who since died? This spells big trouble because vultures often read the obits and drive through neighborhoods looking for signs of people in trouble.

Does this patient live alone or have they previously lived alone? If so, are they a good money saver or have serious investments from which they've made lots of money since retirement? If so, they most likely have a very good nest egg and someone really needs to step in and intervene before this new spouse has a chance to make their move and take everything. Someone needs to protect this patient.