My dad is not cooperating and living with an ex-wife who won't talk to me! Is there any legal recourse we could take to get him to where people care about him?

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My father has 2 homes, one in FL and one in NC. NC is where he grew up and all of his things are located there. His ex-wife lives in his house in FL and he is currently staying there. My dad won't give me a lot of information on his condition but I do know that his cancer has metastasized. I flew into town recently without warning him and he looked to be in poor condition, couldn't get out of bed, didn't eat, and was on pain medication. He wanted me to leave, at one point started crying, and told me he didn't want me to see him like that. Unfortunately, I thought it best to respect his wishes at the time and I left town. Since then I have called the ex-wife, trying to get information. I have called several times and she won't call me back.
I and his sisters in NC really want him to be up there because we don't know what is really going on and we are afraid that his ex-wife will not tell us if he is hospitalized. We are so afraid that she would do something out of spite and we may never know if he becomes incapacitated or worse. Is there any legal recourse we could take to get him to where people care about him?
He has a legal will and has left nothing to his ex-wife, so there is no loving attachment to her. She just lives in his house and I'm so afraid for his well-being, as she has been known to be abusive. What can we do?

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Also this way one (he) can say to the first family, "yes of course I am leaving everything to you and your siblings, she (the 2nd wife) will not inherit the houses", then presto surprise in the will she has a usufruct and they all have to make it work or do a monetary settlement with newer wife. Just goes to show you can still wreck havoc from 6 ft under. Really, you can't make this stuff up.
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My experience is that Usufruct seems to be used when dealing with property: like when a married couple divorces OR a couple is leaving their property to a child or someone other than the spouse BUT wants to allow the ex-spouse or surviving spouse the use of the property for their entire lifetime even though they do not / will not ever inherit it. Usufructee (that is probably not a real word) will never own it.

Say your DH owned property before you got married (this is separate property in his name only, often these are passed down in the family 2nd homes, like a beach house), now upon his death, all goes to his or your children to inherit but he put in his will a usufruct on the property in your name. You have a usufruct on it so you can live there or USE it for my lifetime, it can't be sold and I can't be removed. Now I can choose to give it up and let the kids have it, but that would be my choice. Usually if you get remarried, the usufruct dissolves.

I know folks in New Orleans area, where i am, who have beach homes on the MS gulf coast, Gulf Shores, Destin, Seaside... who have these done in their will.

It's especially good when there is friction between the kids from wife #1 and the new, younger wife #2 and the guy wants to ensure that # 2 doesn't have to deal with ugliness. They still get to inherit the property...eventually.
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Igloo: What the heck is a usufruct?
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Think about getting an objective third party involved - FL based - to evaluate the situation. As others have said the Area on Aging is a good contact. Also the social services (social workers) at the hospital that is overseeing his cancer care would be another contact. Now this could be difficult unless you have his signed HIPPA releases or MPOA's to get the medical records.

I do wonder at how much of this is about your dad's choosing to be with his ex and not choosing you. What ever you think are her faults and unsuitability (your "this woman"...."out of spite"..."where people care about him" "no loving attachment" imply that), the fact is that she is there taking care of him or overseeing his care and being involved with him every day, which for advanced stage cancer is no small task. She may very well be doing what HE has requested of her which is to leave you out. Most POA's are children for their parents, but your dad chose to have it be his sister/your aunt rather than you. Is there a backstory as to why?

Does ex-wife have a usufruct for FL property? If so, then you really should make all this be as kum-ba-ya as possible, as she could be in your life a long time.
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Worried, I'd talk to the aunt that has DPOA and ask her these questions since I'm guessing she's your dad's sister. Put your heads together.
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If you talk to your father every day (wonderful!), would he tell you the name of his oncologist, and whether there is Hospice Care involved? Does he say his ex is taking good care of him? Can you ask him if he has discussed with his ex what should happen if he dies in Florida?

I really, really feel bad for you. I would certainly feel pain in your situation. But if Dad is in his right mind, he can make his own decisions. And the question is not whether his ex is cruel to you (I take your word for it that she is), but whether she is being good to your father. Wouldn't your father, being in his right mind, ask you to make some changes if she was being cruel to him? Have you shared with him your fear that you might not be notified if he takes a turn for the worse?

Does you father have a priest or rabbi or any kind of religious leader in Florida? How about a golf buddy? Is there anyone else geographically near him that could inform you if you fear his ex will not? If you talk to Dad every day and he is suddenly not available to talk to you, that would give you a clue to contact other people such as his doctor or his buddy, etc.

Best wishes for resolving this in a way that reduces your worry.
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I am hoping that the ex is only vindictive toward you and not toward your father, or that she is acting on his wishes and that she would not disregard his last wishes just out of spite. But you know her and I don't.

I am glad to hear a POA is in place. What does your aunt think about where he is living and what should be done?

Is he on Hospice Care, do you know?
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He is in his right mind, but I don't think he realized how fast this would progress. So, when he first found out the cancer was back, he decided to stay there to take care of a few things, but now he is physically unable to travel home.
She has always stayed in the house because my dad is a great man and allowed it. But even if she is following his wishes by not talking to me, I feel that it is still cruel because all I want to know is that she is taking good care of him. I talk to my dad everyday. We are very close. Do I just call a social worker and ask questions?
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Along with 3pinkroses I think you ought to get objective outsiders involved. This could either reassure you that no abuse is going on and your father is staying there of his own free will, or provide you with reasons to take action. Start with Florida Department on Aging and Elder Services, and find out who to contact in your father's county.

It might be informative to know why your father decided to move in with his ex, and/or why he is allowing her to live in his house. Is there some trading going on here? She can live there in exchange for providing some caregiving services? Does he just not have the strength to make her move out? Is it her choice not to keep you informed, or is she following your father's wishes? So much is unknown. Perhaps bringing in a social worker would provide some answers.

If your father is competent to make his own decisions (by legal standards), then I don't think you are going to be able to force him to move to where you think he'd be better off. But I still think it a good idea to have his situation investigated impartially.

Good luck!
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Thanks guys. My aunt has power of attorney. My dad doesn't feel like he can travel right now. I'm worried that this woman will not let us know if anything happens to him. Does the ex-wife have the power to make decisions after death? I hate bringing that up but my dad wants a burial near his father with gun salute. Do you think she could get him cremated without my knowledge just to hurt us? I'm so scared. As if it isn't enough just knowing that he's sick,but then trying to respect his wishes for me not to see him (which is killing me), and knowing that she could maybe do things we don't want without us knowing.
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