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Power Of Attorney - special circumstances

Discussion in 'Power of Attorney & Living Wills' started by JimmieBallgame, Jun 6, 2020.

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  1. JimmieBallgame

    JimmieBallgame Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Florida
    My wife's first husband died after 14 years of marriage. Liz had 3 children to raise by herself. Her oldest daughter was only 15 years old when she got pregnant with the father out of the picture after the birth. At 8 months of age, Heather's diagnosis came back from the doctor. She had Cerebral Palsy which left her quadriplegic and developmentally disabled. A few days after they received this news, my wife had her 3 children join her for a family meeting. She asked them if they could help out with Heather's care if she raised her as her daughter. They all agreed so it was set in stone.

    I met Liz 5 years later. After several dates, when things had gotten a little more serious than casual dating, she decided to tell me about Heather. She asked me if I would like to meet her. I said "Sure". Met them in the parking lot of a local swimming pool and the moment I laid eyes on Heather, my heart melted. The cutest little thing in the world. She radiated joy, sweetness and pure love. It was love at first sight.

    My wife never adopted Heather. Never had any problems with legal situations. Heather has always gotten Social Security which helps out a little. We got married about 4 years later. By the time Heather was 3, they realized she was non-verbal. She could say, Heather, home, van, kikki (kitty) and my favorite word, Papa. I've been Heather's Papa for 39 years.

    My wife left me months ago and moved back to her hometown to be closer to her relatives. I had taken Heather for a doctor's appointment and when we got home I found a note saying, "I've left. Do not try to find me. I know you will take great care for Heather as you have all these years."

    I'm 75 years old now and I retired early at 62 so I could take care of her full time. 9 months ago, she developed a pressure wound due to an ill fitting wheelchair seat. She had a minor operation in the hospital on her butt cheek and then went into a rehab facility. For the first 6 months, I was with her everyday from 8:15 am until 7:30 pm. I fed her all of her meals and re-positioned her every hour and a half or as needed. I'd help the CNAs change her diaper and then position her again. I would help the nurses change her wound bandage and reposition her again.

    3 months ago, the Governor of the state said no more visitors. I completely understood but boy did we miss each other. It had to be worse on her because she doesn't understand what COVID19 is. She just had to wonder "Why did Papa desert me?"

    Her wound is now healed up and she can come home! I had to order a new hospital bed with a special air mattress. They will be delivered in 2 weeks. The rehab facility and I are going to have a meeting Tuesday morning by phone to discuss her discharge. They said something about me needing a Power of Attorney to get her out. Don't know why, I didn't need one getting her in.
    She can sometime sign with an "X" but normally not. She doesn't know what she's signing anyway. She won't understand the words to a legal document.

    How do I go about getting a Power of Attorney?

    Sorry it was so long, just thought you needed the background.

    Thank you
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I suggest you start by contacting social services. Heather is a dependent adult and there could be a lot of assistance available to you and her.
    Social services can help with getting Heather placed back in your home.
    You could also start with an attorney, but it will cost you more.
     
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  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I edited out your name and location. It's never a good idea to identify yourself on public websites.

    Someone should build a monument to you for what you have done for this child. Unfortunately, you have no "legal" relationship to Heather and neither does your ex since she never adopted her.

    The hospital took her in because she needed treatment and that's what hospital's do, no matter who brings the patient in.

    You have no legal authority to get her out.

    Contacting social services for help is a good idea but my guess is that you will have to file for guardianship in court.

    Here are the basics from the Florida court system:

    Guardianship - Florida Courts
     
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  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    You can't get a valid power of attorney from her if she is not legally competent to execute one. From the sound of it, she is not competent to do that. Still, if the facility will take anything as long as it looks good you might have her sign one and see if the facility will just accept it and release her back into your care.

    What you really need, though, is to have a court declare her incompetent and have you appointed her guardian and/or conservator. That will give you the authority to handle things for her. You currently don't have that power now. Because of that, you may run into this kind problem again and again where others like hospitals will not honor your decisions regarding her care.

    I suggest you see a family law attorney to help you get in place what you need so that you can continue to provide the care for her.
     
  5. JimmieBallgame

    JimmieBallgame Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for a great idea.
     

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