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She was diagnosed with dementia in 2019. However she is very lucid from time to time. She often does not know who I am and sometimes doesn't trust me. We have been married 67 years, high school sweethearts.

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"...no reputable lawyer will allow any POA's being done on someone with any kind of mental decline" is not accurate.

Before an attorney will procedure with creating PoA documents for someone, especially if they are elderly, the attorney will privately interview the elder to see if they are able to comprehend what a PoA is, what powers it grants and when. They also want to make sure the person is not under pressure to create it or change it. For the attorney to be satisfied that the person has capacity and it's a free-will decision, all they need is to have a level of comprehension, but not retention.

You can try to take your wife in for an appointment, but don't be surprised if the attorney assesses that she no longer has the capacity to understand what she'd be signing, and sends you off empty-handed. And you may still be charged for the appointment.

Also, if I were going to make some a PoA it certainly would be smart to find someone who is an entire generation or two younger than me. What would happen if you preceded her in death? Guardianship by the county. Hopefully, you found a responsible, willing and local relative or person to be your DPoA.
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Reply to Geaton777
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In most case you do not need POA (and with dementia she can not "give" POA)
Since you are spouse you can legally make decisions for her.
BUT if there are problems and you can't (like in my case..won't get into detail) you have to obtain Guardianship.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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As soon as my father was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I called his attorney who had drawn up his trust years before and told him. I’m his POA and health care proxy, as well as executor and successor trustee, and wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to try to change anything or get taken advantage of by people who know he has assets and property. His attorney told me that even if he walked in on a “lucid” day he could not by law allow him to alter his trust or POA now that he knows his diagnosis. So if your attorney doesn’t know her diagnosis and you can get her there on a “good day”, the answer is maybe. Another way to go is find a lawyer sympathetic to your plight who will ask her a few questions and determine she was “mentally competent” to understand what she was signing. I have a friend who was able to get all the documents in place she needed when her mother was diagnosed that way.
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Reply to Caregiverstress
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WOW! 67 years of marriage is quite an accomplishment and something to be very proud of, as most these days don't make it past 10 years.
That being said, no reputable lawyer will allow any POA's being done on someone with any kind of mental decline. You can however apply for guardianship through the courts if you need to. That does cost a lot more than the POA's, but will give you legal say over what can and cannot be done for your wife.
I wish you the very best going forward, and may God continue to bless you and your wife.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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In those periods where she is lucid she may have enough capacity to still assign POA (in your state).

But if she has these periods of non-lucidity, followed by periods of very clear thought, there may be some health problem (or problems) that could be corrected to increase her cognition overall.

Likely culprits are high blood sugar, poor kidney or heart function, imbalanced electrolytes, UTI, stress, overmedication. Many of us have been through this, and got some of us our loved ones has improved. . (Don’t make any medication changes without a doctor’s close supervision and monitoring). Has she lost a drastic amount of weight but still maintained her high weight medication dosages?

if your doctor has told you she is just elderly and this is the way decline happens, see someone else, a medical or geriatric specialist for her ailments could be best.

If, for example—just one example that might not apply to your situation—, she is sundowning every day and she takes 7 different heart pills throughout the day but wakes up clear…. many doctors will say sundowning is part of aging, but I would see a cardiologist and explore a possibility that she might be over medicated.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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I agree with ConnieCaretaker. Get legal advice from a lawyer who knows the law where you live. Well-meaning advice in this forum may not apply to your situation.
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Reply to BethLaw
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You can also print them up thru legalzoom.com and or mamabearlegalforms.com and when your wife is having a lucid day you can have her sign them and get them notarized. They are legal also. This is what we had to do with my in-laws as my MIL was in/out. We had tried to go the lawyer route, but a person in their senior living apartments convinced her we were just trying to take all their stuff and they refused to go back to the lawyer's office. SO we had them done on legal zoom, waited for a cognizant and clear time, and had them sign and took them to a friend of ours who is a notary and got them all notarized. They were legally binding and allowed us to do all the financial things we needed to to help them, and also to be able to get medical information.
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Reply to DILKimba
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Please call Elder Law Attorney for the facts in your state. I have had a few Zoom meetings and feel very confident because I have legal guidance.

Make plans for yourself, if you haven't already: it really brings peace of mind.
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker
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At this point, your spouse if probably not mentally competent. A person MUST be mentally competent to appoint anyone his or her POA. In your case, you may need to get guardianship over her. However, you are the spouse and many places will legally consider you the "next-of-kin" with the right to make decisions on her behalf. Please talk to a local lawyer that specializes in family law or elder law to get the best advice for your situation.
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Daphne131 Aug 10, 2022
That is false. See above. Merely because one has dimentia doesn’t mean they are automatically stripped of all legal rights. There are many types and of levels of competence. Different legal documents require different competency standards.

In estate planning, it is the lowest level of cognition and one can still legally sign their POA and other estate documents. If one is lucid enough to know who they are, who their family is, what the document means, consequences of the document, and oriebtated only generally to person, place, as determined only by a licensed medical professional or attorney, then they can sign estate planning documents like POA. Just have Doctor sign letter saying they meet these required elements.

Having dimentia doesn’t mean one is automatically stripped of legal rights nor fully “demented.” If they have any degree of lucidity, and meet above legal requirements, they can legally sign.

No one can say a dimentia patients cannot make legal decisions without first looking at brain MRI to prove it, or they are inept, incompetent, and engaging in malpractice. There are many different types of competency needed for differnt things. Being able to make estate decisions requires lowest leave of competency.
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There are various types of competence. If any person has periods of lucidity when they are aware of 1) Who their family members are. 2). What their assets are. 3) what the documents mean in their own words 4) consequences of the documents 5) oriented generally to person, place and location then CA law permits them to have that level of decision making for estate planning which is very different and lower than needed for other legal decisions.

Ask doctor to sign satement that says the patient has that minimum level of mental cognition to know above cited requirements and then the document will be held up legally if there are questions about ability to enter into a POA. Do not listen to people who falsely claim merely because once shows some signs of dimentia they automatically have no legal rights. That is completely false.

Lawyers decide via tests in conversations if the person has ability to make estate planning decisions. Not knowing the date, the year and inability to count backwards from 100 by seven are outdated, irrelevant tests. Many don’t know the date when healthy, merely because they retire and stop needing to know the date and some were always bad at math or dislectic.

Those tests are given by medical staff but one does NOT need to know those answers to be able to make a lower threshold of legal estate planning decisions of a lucid person, even if they are only lucid sometimes and orientated generally to person, place, thing, then they are not “demented” and able to sign.

there is much ignorance, even by well educated medical people, when they hear the word “dimentia” and falsley automatically misclaim the person is an invalide, unable to care for themselves, or make decisions. Thst is completely false. They are wrong.

Only late term victims with severe cases are stripped of their legal rights by honest, well educated doctors. And at least two licensed doctors must certify in writing they are fully dimented after in person evaluation and first hand conversation either with or without formal tests.

Anyone stripping a person of their legal rights including uneducated medical experts without first seeing the CT brain scan, is guilty of negligence, malpractice.

Medical community is usually very reluctant to strip a dimentia patient of their legal rights prematurely. Being lucid at times means the person can have legal rights depending on the State. Sometimes the victims of dimentia have times when they are on and times when not.

So do NOT listen to anyone herein who says your spouse with dimentia isn’t able to sign a POA. Dimentia patients can still have that minimum level of lucidity and cognition to sign knowing who family is, what assets they have, meaning and consequences of the document, orientated generally to place and time and have periods where they are lucid. Those are the standards to be evaluated by a doctor.

Have doctor sign a short document that person is of a level to be able to make estate planning decisions if you want to enhance validity of POA. I did and doctor signed it to keep rights in tact of moderate dimentia patient. Sample documents for doctor to sign are online.
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