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  1. #1

    Question Healthcare Proxy and Conservatorship

    My question involves a person located in the state of: Massachusetts

    My aunt was placed in a nursing home and the home petitioned to have a guardian appinted, which has happened. I am unsure if he is the temporary or permanent guardian but he is a local attorney. He tracked me down online because he said the current healthcare proxy wants to resign and my aunt suggested me to replace him. The guardian also mentioned that the financial person is stepping down as well, she just doesn't want to do it any longer. The nursing home recently filed for a professional to take over the financial piece.

    She is in MA and I'm over 800 miles away.

    I have heard of a healthcare proxy being implemented by an adult of sound mind but have never heard of a guardian needing a separate person to make medical decisions and financial. Is this typical in MA?

    How would my duties differ from his if I became the HCP?

    Would the court allow me to be the HCP and conservator, even if I am out of state?

    Would I have to appear in court to make these things happen, or hire an attorney or would the guardian handle that?

    Thanks
    Rae

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Healthcare Proxy and Conservatorship

    If your aunt is not mentally competent, she cannot appoint a successor -- but to the extent that she is capable of suggesting somebody, a court can consider that preference when appointing somebody to serve in the capacity of medical decision-maker. Normally, that person would be the guardian.

    If the disability is temporary, then the proposal makes more sense -- the temporary guardian can help your aunt create and execute a healthcare proxy and durable power of attorney, and she can execute those documents when she recovers from her disability. Your aunt is not restricted to choose in-state persons for her healthcare proxy, although it's generally sensible to choose somebody local so that they can more easily interact with medical care providers and sign documents.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Healthcare Proxy and Conservatorship

    Thank. She is 78 and there may be some type of dementia or alzheimers. The don't see a disposition online for the nursing home's petition for guardian, so I'm assuming this is her temp guardian until the final is put in place. That's another reason why I was confused about them selecting different people for medical vs financial.

    OK I got a lot of answers to the confusing questions I had. Apparently the original lawyer I spoke with is not her guardian (not sure why he said he was) but rather he is her court-appointed lawyer. Prior to being deemed incompetent by a doctor, she had a pre-existing HCP and POA. The POA is a longtime friend and the HCP is the POA's attorney, so since the POA has to step down for medical reasons, the attorney is stepping down as well.

    I think the aunt's attorney thinks she may be competent still, but she is definitely not, so she couldn't assign a new HCP or POA. I would have to go to get assigned as her guardian and/or conservator. The nursing home wants a local attorney to be the conservator and before they knew I existed wanted the same attorney to be the guardian. If they agree to me being the guardian, the judge may still say no because apparently they want me to come see her every quarter which is impossible, but if I can come yearly they may make an exception. Not sure yet how doable that will be.


    Has anyone heard of a conservator that is court appointed being out of state? Is it too much of a hassle if she will end up on Medicaid shortly anyway? Trying to decide if I should just let the attorney do it and only worry about the guardian aspect.

    As guardian, will I be able to suggest changes or request evaluations or treatments? If something I request costs money, and I am not the conservator, how does that work?

    Does anyone know if it's possible for the state to pay for the guardian's travel to see the person/patient? If her estate could do that, this would make the annual travel an easier feat as then I'd only need to ensure I had childcare for my kids.

    Any help is appreciated, thanks.
    Rae

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