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Power of Attorney raises debate

Jessica Cuffman • Dec 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM

An elderly Sandusky man is fighting to regain control of his money after a court granted his nephew power over his finances.

Advocates for the elderly, meanwhile, say such struggles are common.

Financial independence is key for senior citizens aiming to preserve some form of an independent lifestyle, but they often end up battling courts -- or family -- to get control of their money.

Case in point: Rudy Baker, 73, who became a ward of the state in 2007 after he suffered a stroke and could no longer take care of himself.

He was later diagnosed with dementia and placed under his daughter's guardianship in Franklin County. When his daughter didn't want the responsibility anymore, an attorney took her place.

His nephew took guardianship and moved Baker back to Sandusky in 2009.

Baker wants to take care of himself. He has recovered significantly since the stroke, but recent medical evaluations show he still suffers from dementia, according to court documents.

His General Motors retirement pension and Social Security take care of his living expenses. He lives in a modest apartment in an assisted living home, where meals are prepared for him each day.

Still, he doesn't have control of his money. Instead, his nephew, Daryl Murphy, controls his finances.

Despite a court order, Murphy won't give him an allowance, Baker said.

The problem got worse when Baker married a Lorain woman in June.

Find out more of Baker's woes in Sunday's Register.

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