Mentally incompetent - guardian, requires the courts and a attorney

I do have a family member, bi polar, who has had her psychotic experiences, so we seem to have more experience in this area than I realized.

she has had the courts declare her as ‘mentally incompetent’, and has a guardian and a payee who pays all of her bills for her. she does live on her own in a mobile home, drives her own car.

but, she has no idea how to pay her own bills, and she’ll tell you she’s ‘mentally incompetent’

this requires a court order, I looked up how to do it. if you want to go that route with your family member, then get a lawyer. and no, the person doesn’t have to live with you or in a shelter, she has her own place. it’s not beautiful by any stretch, but its hers, she likes it, and she can have pets. that’s why she choses the trailer option.

people try to give her money, but she’s very careful about that because she doesn’t want to lose her social security benefits.

recently, we looked into setting up a ‘disabled trust’ this is where there’s a trust account where she can have access to the funds, through an attorney that gets paid $10 a month to manage the trust. here’s an article on what a disabled trust is and why you’d have one

I’ve looked into this as well, like if I were to become sick again, I can hire an agency to pay my bills for me until I get back on my feet again. I would prefer to do that than appoint a guardian, like I said, how the hell do I get rid of the guardian? that would be tough, plus, I have money and I don’t want somebody spending it, (like my kids, I would not trust them to be my guardian…)

the way it worked for my father, was he had a power of attorney form, and on that form it says that if a physician declared my father to be ‘mentally incompetent’ then I could make decisions regarding his care. this became important near his death, when he had dementia and wouldn’t leave the assisted living facility. otherwise, my father called the shots all the way up to about 30 days prior to his death.

how guardianship and conservatorship works in my state

as for this cousin of mine, she was Baker Act’d in Florida, hospitalized for psychosis, returned to Iowa and now lives in Iowa on disability and medicaid, receives medicare, you receive medicare after 2 years of disability. she chose her guardian to be a lifelong childhood friend, and the 2 get along wonderfully, the family stays out of it. she lives on her own. I think we’re all happier with this arrangement (the family) and we help out with what we’re able to help with. if we aren’t able to help, we openly say “i’m sorry, I cannot help you with that, but I can help you with this…” and that one sentence takes care of alot of arguing and hurt, etc

this cousin with bi polar disorder has been hospitalized 9 times, and was arrested and Baker Act’d in Florida, but that was 17 years ago.

dang, this is a brain dump of everything I know regarding this topic :slight_smile:

I would like to return to work, I recently was given disability from social security. If I return to work, I’ve read I can work 9 months out of 60 without losing my disability insurance. there’s also a cap on my earnings of about $1000 a month (if I remain on disability and get a part time job) or I believe it’s $700 a month if I go back to work (the 9 months out of 60). I am going to check on this before returning to work, I’d like to go back to work.

I have an MBA and 20 years of experience in executive management, software engineering, management projects. I feel like Elyn Saks, I udnerstand nobody trusts you or once your nuts youre always nuts with this Sz label, pisses me off how this diagnosis works. I have to go to meet my doctor once per month so she can look at me and see if I’m psychotic or not. I guess that’s good, but I find it annoying.

what is a representative payee? it’s different than a guardian or a conservator. A payee is a title given to someone at the social security office:
A representative payee is an individual or organization appointed by SSA
to receive Social Security and/or SSI benefits for someone who cannot
manage or direct someone else to manage his or her money. The main
responsibilities of a payee are to use the benefits to pay for the
current and foreseeable needs of the beneficiary and properly save any
benefits not needed to meet current needs. A payee must also keep
records of expenses. When SSA requests a report, a payee must provide
an accounting to SSA of how benefits were used or saved.

here’s the link to that


Very informative! As someone who’s had to appoint a power of attorney and a rep payee, I wish I had some of this info available to me at the time!

Thanks for sharing!

also if you have children and get disability they can get money too and if you are competent you will
be in charge of their money too…but like he said you have to account for it to the government every
year… you have to say what you spent the money on or if you saved it and how much, etc…

i only got like 60 dollars per child but it was still very helpful… it stops when they reach 18…

hugs to all

yes, that’s true, my daughter received benefits while she was in high school (from the time social security picked the date I became disabled). she’s an adult now, and has to goto the social security office and fill out the forms before she can receive it.

if you say I became ‘disabled’ at the date I was diagnosed with Sz, that was 2 years ago. I attempted to go back to work, I worked for 5 months, and had another episode. because I was compensated over social securities limits for income, they chose a disability date when I had my 2nd episode, and counted 5 months after that.

I am going to ask an attorney this week to appeal that (I actually became disabled 2 years ago and had a failed attempt at returning to work of 5 months duration), because they (social security) agree that I am disabled. but I made too much money per month while employed for 5 months at my “failed attempt at returning to work.”

so, it’s possible to be disabled and employed in social security’s eyes.

I’m wondering if I’ll ever have an episode again, or if I did, if I could just manage it better the next time.

I hope everyone appreciates the brain dump herein, it’s my 6 months worth of learning and personal experiences with the system and this illness, I just kinda dumped my entire life experience here, I guess that’s ok :slight_smile: I really knwe all this before, I guess I wasn’t comfortable sharing it earlier, the discussions on this ‘Discourse’ website were quite offensive I’m glad we cleaned it up, thank you :blush:

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I know, it’s very frightening. After I’ve been diagnosed, I’ve been treated like a piece of furniture. I’ve been studying all this stuff because I’m afraid my kids will step in and take over my house and my bank account, retirement account, and dump me in an institution someplace.

I have been trying to figure out what to do so maintain my independence, so I told my family to go to hell, I’m not a piece of furniture. It hasn’t been pretty, but unfortunately they’re a bunch of codependent people who in disguise want control of my stuff. And no, it’s true, I’m not just paranoid.

No, I don’t think you’re being paranoid. In fact, my family was the same way when I needed help.

I received retroactive benefits from ssa for the years I was disabled but didn’t receive benefits. I got a lump sum payment of $12,000.

Suddenly, my family, who had provided no support to me whatsoever (not even a call to check on me or a shoulder to cry on), wanted to control my finances. All of a sudden, they “cared” lol.

Obviously, I saw right through that. And appointed my best friend power of attorney and rep payee. I haven’t regretted it since.

Money does strange things to family members, that’s for sure!



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yes, that is exactly right, money is the root of all evil.

in my instance, nobody came to visit in the hospital, but they had my bank statements when I got out, and had it all figured out, how somebody was to give me an ‘allowance’ with my own funds.

if somebody gave a ■■■■ about me, they’d visit me, bring me a magazine, in the hospital. but they did give a ■■■■ about taking over my bank statements.

not even a phone call to me in the hospital, would have been nice to know they’d taken everything over…

**Thanks Nicehat for this info. I may look into all this also. So much stuff to think about. **

I appreciate the story. It is so nice to see someone who means well.

But, to anyone in an abusive relationship, a guardian spells doom.

In hospital, I met a woman who had been placed in the mental hospital for forced care because she did not return home at night. Her husband was her guardian due to mental instability at one point and he would not give her a divorce, he wanted her SSDI check. The woman resorted to cheating on him and when he did not like where she spent her time, he would have her arrested and taken to the mental hospital FOR MONTHS PROBABLY AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE. The local govt mental health center took custody of people leaving the mental hospital for forced followup care and this place would ONLY return her to her husband…The woman had been hospitalized 8 times when we met years ago…No attorney could help her, until he beat her probably…


Just beware of the whole situation when ‘things are too bad to handle myself’…

this is a hopefully extreme example, but yes, that’s what I was trying to say earlier.

it’s not really a healthy relationship in a marriage or for a parent to be a ‘guardian’ of their spouse or their child. I have a cousin who has a guardian, its someone she chose, a friend she grew up with. not her parent. not her significant other (she is not married nor in a relationship right now, but she has been)

money does weird bad things to people.