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What is the process to obtain power of attorney over an elderly relative that can no longer make medical decisions?

The Woodlands, TX |

My grandma has been sick with Alzheimer's for 14 years and is on a feeding tube, I know she is ready to go to Heaven but no one in my family will listen to reason why we need to let the end stage take its course. I do not want her to suffer anymore

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I assume that she has not executed a power of attorney form.
I also assume that she is no longer mentally competent to execute one.
If so, she cannot do one now.

You can certainly consult with an attorney about your rights. However, being a grand-child, you would not be next of kin. Normally, next of kin would be her husband then her children. Grandchildren come after husband and children. So I assume that there are people that are ahead of you in the decision making line of command.

Another option would be for you to talk to a chaplain, minister, social worker at the hospital to work with the entire family during this difficult period. I certain understand what your family is going through. You need an "expert" to assist your family in gently and compassionately understanding the death process. I understand that you don't want her to suffer. I'm sure that no one in the family wants her to suffer. You just need an impartial, sympathetic "helper" to assist your family during this period. Hopefully, the hospital staff will help you too.

Has someone in the hospital staff suggested that hospice be contacted?

Normally, the children of your grandmother are consider next of kin and they will be the ones to make the medical decisions if she did not designate anyone to make final decisions for her - if her husband is no longer alive or able to make decisions for her.

I would encourage you to talk to the hospital's social worker or whatever the appropriate staff person is called in the hospital. You might also talk to the hospital clergy person. This is available to you free of charge. Alzheimer's is a slow and difficult process to watch.

I am so sorry for you. You don't state your age, but I suspect that you have not watch anyone with Alzheimer's die before. I have and it is just not an easy process. I would suggest that you talk to someone with medical experience and have them carefully explain the death process. She might not be suffering -- she might be totally unaware of everything on & her body might just be shutting down slowly.

I hope that I have helped you in some small way.

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Posted

The short answer is that you cannot accomplish what you want to accomplish by legal means.

DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

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Posted

The problem is, in order to grant power of attorney, your grandmother has to have contractual capacity to do so. If it is necessary to have control, you will need to apply for conservatorship/guardianship. As far as the end of life decisions, getting a conservatorship/guadianship will not necessarily allow you to make those decisions without input from your other family. Unfortunately, when planning isnt done during life, when one has capacity, there is not a lot that can be done in situtations like your.

Consult with a local elder law attorney.

I am sorry for your and your grandmother's pain and suffering.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.

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