One question that is often asked when a loved one (e.g., Mom) is in the process of transitioning from her home to an assisted living facility is, “Do I have authority to sign for Mom?” The answer depends on the estate planning, if any, completed by Mom. If Mom was diligent and executed a Durable Power of Attorney, designating Daughter as Agent/Attorney-in-Fact, then Daughter has authority to sign agreements and other contracts on behalf of Mom to facilitate entry into the assisted living facility, and make financial payments on her behalf to pay for her care. Similarly, if Mom executed an Advance Directive for Health Care designating Daughter as her Health Care Surrogate, then Daughter has authority to make health care decisions on Mom’s behalf.
If Mom did not undertake any estate planning but needs to enter the assisted living facility, and Mom still has the mental capacity to execute legal documents, then Daughter can contact an attorney on her behalf to facilitate Mom executing these documents naming an Agent/Surrogate of Mom’s choice (e.g., Daughter). If there is a question as to whether Mom has the mental capacity (e.g., statements from her doctor) or if Mom clearly does not have such capacity, a guardianship may be needed. In that case, Daughter could petition the Court to appoint herself, or another individual, as Guardian to obtain the authority needed to make decisions on behalf of Mom. In any event, it is important to consult with an experienced Elder Law Attorney to discuss these options.
The information provided herein is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact Advocates in Aging, Law Office of Wiesner Smith at 941-365-9900 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.