Legal Question in Elder Law in Maine

power of attorney

I am my parents power of attorney, they are in their 80's and live in a 2 story house (bedrooms and bath are upstairs) mother has slight dementia, has already fell down stairs 15 years ago and broke shoulder. they both smoke. I would like to see them in a home for the elderly , all on one floor. they refuse to move. Am I responsibile for any injury they might get living there?


Asked on 2/21/02, 5:54 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Jay Goldenberg Jay S. Goldenberg

Re: power of attorney

You are not responsible.

You have come into one of the frequent areas of concern with powers of attorney.

First, people don't do them until they reach the point of not being able to do them -- no longer mentally capable of granting someone else power. This can be very frustrating for children wanting power to be able to act for their parents' benefit.

But there is a second problem, when even getting power of attorney will not help you. A power of attorney is a wonderful tool to enable someone to act for a person (usually the elderly) unable to act for themselves. Unfortunately they're not at this point. Health or police personnel might be willing to move an elderly person who is "out of it" -- neither saying yes nor no. But they're going to be very unwilling to move a conscious person who yells "put me down". This is the point where you may have to have guardianship proceedings to *deprive* your parents of their rights so you can act. This isn't an easy situation.

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Answered on 2/27/02, 5:43 pm
Mona Montgomery Mona Montgomery, Attorney at law

Re: power of attorney

I suggest you take your parents to a nice facility and show them how much better they will be cared for with a staff of people ready to help them immediately whenever there is a problem. A nice, active upbeat place is a lot more fun than staying at home vegetating.

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Answered on 3/12/02, 7:45 pm

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