Legal Question in Elder Law in Georgia

The end of July, 2011, my mother-in-law was discharged from the hospital only to collapse at home and be readmitted the next day. She stayed in intensive care for almost 2 weeks then was placed in a nursing home. During her stay in intensive care, there were brief intermittent times that she recognized my husband. Also during her stay in intensive care an attorney that represents a local CPA firm that handes a large trust she inherited from her step mother and an employee of the firm visited her. Without any discussion or the presence of any family members, she signed a financial power of attorney designating the employee of the CPA firm as her financial power of attorney. According to the attorney, this was witnessed by a hospital priest. When the POA was contacted and a copy of the POA paperwork requested, the family was told it was none of their business and she did not have to show them anything. She referred my husband to attorney if he had anymore questions. The court was contacted and it was verified that it had not been put on record. The attorney was contacted and told my husband the same thing the POA did. So we have yet to see the actual POA document. My husband went to see a local judge who worked for my mother-in-law while he was in law school, he assured my husband he would look into it and get back to him that night. He didn't and weeks later when my husband caught him on the phone at home, the judge said he couldn't talk to him about it and couldn't help him and hung up. After numerous falls/injuries during her nursing home stay taff, an omsbudman was contacted. She visited the nursing home and advised the family that she saw the document but gave no details other than it did exist. My mother-in-law passed away April 13, 2012. No will can be located. It is rumored that a copy may possibly be in a safe at her church. The same church the attorney and the lady from the firm attend. We have been told by a 3rd party that the POA cashed in 2 life insurance policies to pay for her nursing home stay, pay off a $15k house note, and $9k for burial expenses. How do we go about finding out what transactions were done by the POA? Also, what can be done about it being obtained during my mother's incapacitated state?

Asked on 4/23/12, 8:54 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Scott Riddle Law Office of Scott B. Riddle, LLC

It is interesting how the story is much different the second time around. Had this been an important issue, it would have been handled properly months ago. That does NOT include trying to get a judge to use his office to inappropriately handle a personal affair for a friend. An elder care lawyer should have been retained immediately, in 2011, to review what was signed and try to fix any problems. It apparently was not important then, and in spite of the questions, issues and money involved (from your last post) it is only important enough now to post on a message board. No one here has the documents or knows the whole story. If you want it resolved, to the extent it is not months too late, you'll contact a lawyer who handles these estate matters.

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Answered on 4/23/12, 9:21 am

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