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Peter C. Sisson

Peter Sisson’s Answers

5 total

  • Grandmother has dementia; grandfather cares for her, but what legal steps should we take now in case something happens to him?

    My grandfather is a completely able-bodied mentally-fit caregiver for my grandmother, who has dementia. She was recently hospitalized briefly and the doctors would speak to her and not wait for my grandfather, and she could not remember what the d...

    Peter’s Answer

    As the previous answer indicates, both of your grandparents need health care powers of attorney naming agents to act for them if they are no longer able to make good health care decisions for themselves. The fact that someone is diagnosed with dementia does not necessarily mean they have lost the legal capacity to sign legal documents. It depends on the particular circumstances. Both grandparents should also have a financial power of attorney and some kind of estate planning tool governing their estate (a Will or Trust). Again, the question remains whether your grandmother can sign any legal documents.

    Also, you are well advised to get some public benefits advice for the couple about how to qualify your grandmother for Medicaid to help pay for the care she needs (and alleviate some of that responsibilty from your grandfather) and protect income and resources for your grandfather. A qualified certified elder law attorney can help with all these issues. Your grandfather's estate planning should be specifically drafted to take into account his wife's potential eligibility for Medicaid.

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  • What can be done to people who are not related to a person that has dementia & alzhiemers to take them out of assisted living

    to go home without anyone there to see to them with their medicine, and cooking, these people are not even blood kin but related by marriage, the people also have never been to a doctors appointment with this person but yet they know what is best ...

    Peter’s Answer

    In order to protect the person with dementia, it appears that you will have to petition a court to become the person's guardian (which gives you power of that person's health care decision-making) and perhaps conservator (which gives you power over that person's finances - in Idaho). You need to locate a certified elder law attorney in your area because laws in TN will differ, but where someone is being taken advantage of and he/she is unable to make good health care decision and financial decisions for themselves, the alternative is going to court. In Idaho there is a priority for appointment if the individuals who took this person from the assisted living oppose your petition and seek to be appointed as guardian/conservator. In Idaho, the person named in the power of attorney has priority for appointment, unless "good cause" can be shown as to why they should not be appointed. There are on-going responsibilities associated with being appointed guardian/conservator that you should understand before seeking appointment. Again, this sounds like a situation where you need legal advice and assistance. Good luck.

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  • I am married and my wife is in the nursing home can a family member get gguardianship of her because they dont like her being th

    guardianship of her because they dont like her there

    Peter’s Answer

    Your question was incomplete but I assume a family member wants to take your wife out of the nursing home. You need to get advice on this from a Nebraska attorney. Generally, a court will have a priority list of people to appoint if someone petitions to be another's guardian. The person named in your wife's healthcare power of attorney, if she has one, may be first priority. Spouses usually come next. Then children. So if you are named as her power of attorney you may have priority for appointment.

    Priority does not mean that a Judge will appoint you. In my state (Idaho), the court can appoint someone who does not have priority over someone who does if good cause exists to do that. Again, seek advice from a qualified lawyer in your area. I would suggest going to www.nelf.org to find one near you. A certified elder law attorney can also help you figure out how to pay for your wife's care while protecting all assets you are legally entitled to protect.

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  • My husband has written a holographic will leaving his estate to me (his wife) and omitting his three adult children. No alimony.

    We had two children from our marriage and he had custody of the three adult children whom we raised together. He states in his will that he is omitting them because they each have a substantial trust from their grandfather (college and home) and ...

    Peter’s Answer

    You should get advice from an attorney in Utah because holographic wills, if allowed in your state, are subject to specific statutory requirements. In Idaho, holographic wills are allowed and must be entirely in the testator's handwriting, indicate testamentary intent, be dated and signed by the testator.

    In addition, the probate code in your state most likely includes provisions relating to how one must disinherit heirs. If children are not mentioned specifically in the will but omitted, they may make a claim against the estate arguing that they were omitted by mistake. Therefore, it appears that the language your husband included in the will may meet this requirement, however I am not licensed in Utah and cannot give you legal advice about the will your husband wrote. Again, to be safe I strongly suggest you obtain legal advice in Utah from a qualified estate planning attorney. I would suggest you go to www.nelf.org for a list of attorneys in your area.

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  • How much can an elderly person give as gifts to children.

    Can a person who is elderly and maybe someday enter a nursing home give gifts of money to her children and grandchildren. Is there a time limit before medicare would let this happen if elderly patient were to enter nursing home?

    Peter’s Answer

    The IRS rules for gifting allow everyone to give away $13,000 to any number of people annually and currently, there is a 5 million dollar lifetime gift tax exemption. The IRS rules are not binding on Medicaid, however. If a senior gives aways assets within 5 years of applying for Medicaid, then a penalty (a period of Medicaid ineligibility) may apply to that gift. There are exceptions to the asset transfer penalty rule that may apply. Medicare does not impose any gifting penalties, and as is common, it appears that you may have confused Medicare with Medicaid. You should get specific advice regarding your situations from a certified elder law attorney in your area. You can find a list of such attorneys at www.nelf.org.

    I hope this information is of assistance to you. Best regards, Pete Sisson, CELA

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