My stepmother place my dad in a facility over a year ago and...

2 answers | Last updated: Jun 17, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

My stepmother placed my dad in a facility over one year ago and would not tell us where he was. We found him and it seems like she left him to die and did not visit or give him the support that he needed. My sister and I have visited every day for the past month and shave him and feed him and have him up walking and the nurses all are amazed at how well he is doing now. How do we obtain power of attorney or guardianship since there is none on file and we don't know what she has spent my dad's money on? Please advise.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

First, know that there may be a good resource for help and advice right in your current front yard: the patient ombudsperson at the facility. He or she may have good fingertips about your dad's relationship with your stepmother, and whether it is likely he needs some legal insulation from her reaches. 

Know that you can only obtain a power of attorney for your dad if he has the legal capacity to order one. In the eyes of the law, this means he must understand the nature, scope and effect of the document. If he had this legal capacity, you should be able to get the help you need from a self-help resource such as Nolo. Or you can hire an attorney for this limited purpose.

If your dad lacks capacity, you may then need to get a conservatorship, which will give you the legal right to manage his money and remaining property. Your first best source to consult for help is the local probate court. Many of them have good self-help centers or advisors available to help walk you through the procedure.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Contact an attorney but finances are limited