Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Professional Guardian and a POA

A man suffering from dementia in a St. Louis Park nursing home gave power of attorney to a stranger - and no one told his wife

Last spring, Eileen Nelson moved her husband of 30 years into a nursing home. His longstanding brain injury and other health problems were making him so sick that she could no longer care for him. She didn't realize until a few months later how much she was giving up.

Though Nelson had taken precautions by getting her husband's power of attorney, he was free to sign over the same power to someone else -- in this case, a professional guardian he met at Texas Terrace Care Center in St. Louis Park. Nelson lost control of her husband's affairs and had to go to court to win it back.

By then, the woman given power of attorney, Lisa Brown had spent Scott Nelson's savings, paying $25,000 in nursing home charges, buying him a $12,000 prepaid funeral and paying herself $1,012.

Through this ordeal, Nelson learned something about Minnesota law -- a person, even one of diminished capacity, can grant signature powers to as many others as he or she wants. Although the Legislature is considering tightening restrictions on court-appointed guardians and conservators, those proposed reforms would not restrict professionals given powers of attorney.

Brown's attorney, Charles Singer, said the expenses were justified because they were part of a conventional depletion of assets to qualify Scott Nelson for state-funded health insurance. Eileen Nelson had failed to do that, resulting in a large nursing home bill and delaying her husband's move to a group home, so the nursing home and Scott Nelson himself asked Brown to step in.

Singer: "If you want to look at a story here, look at a story about a spouse that wasn't competent, and a professional was called in to clean up her mess."

But Scott Nelson, diagnosed with a brain injury and dementia, was the incompetent one, in no condition to sign away his affairs to a stranger, his wife said. A Hennepin County probate referee agreed, declaring Scott Nelson in February to be an "incapacitated person" and making his wife the legal guardian.

While reasonable people can disagree about the best care for a nursing home resident, in one important sense "every darned thing [Brown] did was wrong" because she didn't respect the husband-wife relationship, said David Jacobs, Eileen Nelson's attorney. "It's a husband that got taken over here."

Full Article and Source:
Power of attorney, yet powerless


Anonymous said...

Very tragic story. Once again, though, you'd think Eileen could take this to court and settle it in 10 minutes instead of it dragging on and on and on.

But, no, a professional guardian is involved and they hold on like hookworms.

Anonymous said...

It's about: control, power and greed.

Anonymous said...

If PoA's were required to be filmed, that would help.

I realize that's just a dream -- and what if you filmed your PoA signing and 40 years later the tape was destroyed?

It's not a logical solution, but can help some people nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

The guardian took advantage of Scott Nelson -- like the spider waits on the fly and then pounces.

Anonymous said...

Wait, let's have another look at this: the attorney said the expenses were justified because they were part of a conventional depletion of assets to qualify Scott for state funded health insurance.

Really now? So, the guardian's idea was to deplete Mr. Nelson's assets in order for the state to pick up the tab for his care for the remainder of his life.


Anonymous said...

I am so sick of these leeches taking advantage of disabled people I don't know what to do.


Michael Rowe was a young man trying to recover from a brain injury after an accident. He was doing good but he wanted to completely heal, so when he was told he could get this wondeful therapy at a brain injury place, he gladly packed his bags and moved in.

They tricked him. And now, he's lost all the progress he made. He's drugged, and isolated.


Anonymous said...

People turned into products to generate $$$.

I am fed up with the practice of "spending down" so the taxpayers are left with all the bills. Pretty soon there won't be enough people slaving away to pay for all of these bills while the lawyers and their buddies profit.

Anonymous said...

Professional Guardians are nothing but despicable moneygrubbers; thankfully, Eileen won her case when most do not.

Anonymous said...

The guardian was no more than a vulture.

Unknown said...

Lisa Brown is my sister's guardian and we have a great many concerns! Where can we find help and restitution?

an0n said...

LoraLee, Please contact me at:

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Investigations are being launched regarding these guardians/conservators and their attorneys.

Please respond with any information you may have regarding your concerns.