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Last year, without any of my siblings knowing, my brother received POA on my mother. My dad recently passed before she signed the POA to him, so she was not in the right state of mind at the time. i am not well informed about the subject, but I thought one had to go through a mental test before signing POA to anyone?
Anyways, for the first few months, my brother would not allow me to see or speak to my mother. After visiting her everyday and calling her three times a day for the past 40 years, this was devastating to me. Eventually, I was able to call her, but still not able to see her in person. When we talked, she told me how terrified she was of him because he would yell at her for everything she did. She also told me that he was constantly buying expensive things. He is not a wealthy man, so I know he went into her finances and spent her money on himself.
I talked to my daughter about and she was able to arrange for some people to check up on my mother, but my brother would not answer when they arrived so they left him a note. When they went the next time, they found everything to be alright , most likely due to the note warning him that they would be back. My mother, still in fear, will not speak ill of him. When I mentioned I was going to need her to tell someone of the threats he makes to her, she quickly changed the subject to make it seem as if she had never told me. I know she is scared and it breaks my heart.
Today, for the first time in a year, I was able to see her, despite my brother's warning of her being mentally unstable and unhealthy. When I arrived at his farm, I noticed a new tractor parked next to a new car. I also noticed how my mother flinched when my brother walked past her.
My husband and I spent all day with her and her siblings. Not once did she show any signs of mental instability. On the phone calls he now allows me to have once a week, she talks to me like she has her whole life. Nothing feels off with her, yet he told me a professional declared she was incompetent. I don't want her living with him any longer as I know it's killing her being away from her house. She was almost in tears when we left her today and begged for me to bring her home with me.
I really, really want to help her, but, I'm completely ignorant when it comes to legal issues and I have no clue on where to begin. Is it even possible for me to do anything once she has been deemed incompetent? If I were to get my mother to speak to someone of the way he treats her, would it help at all considering they consider her incompetent?
I apologize if my wall of text does not come across as clear since it is late and hard for me to write about this, but any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated. I do not care about the money, I just want my mother to live her final years as peacefully as she can and I know that is not possible in her current environment. I know I should be asking a lawyer these questions, but my daughter and I are not able to meet with one for about another week. I feel so powerless right now, so I'm just looking for some hope from anyone that I can stop him...
Thanks.

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A "professional" can state in a report that your mother is incompetent, but it means nothing unless a Court has ordered Protective Guardianship over her. A Power of Attorney, (and there is a distinction between a POA and a DURABLE power of attorney) simply means that your mother, while competent and fully aware of what she was intending to do, gave your brother the right to make certain transactions for her that would otherwise require her to, for instance go to the bank personally and to have authority over her finances, if she no longer was capable, competent enough or able to. It is not absolute power and your mother has the Ultimate authority over all of her affairs, despite a POA in place.

Unless she is deemed incompetent by a Probate Court and a Conservator named to handle her affairs above her objections, she has full decision making power in where and how and what she does with her money.

If your brother feels that he assumes the majority of the caretaking or harbours resentment towards you for other trite or personal issues, he may attempt to exercise a far more encompassing authority over your mother than is allowed or acceptable, legally or morally. Before you spend thousands of dollars on an attorney however, you should get all the family together and set up a regular schedule to visit and participate in your mothers life and in doing so, perhaps if he is just feeling overwhelmed or Entitled because of his caretaking duties, the shared and regular commitment by other family members may loosen his grip over your mothers every move and your mother may feel less afraid that if she looses his support or goes against him, she will have an entire family support system to fall back on. Caregiving roles can be wrought with resentment towards less involved family members and the elderly person, afraid of being left with no shelter or support will find it very difficult to assert themselves.

Removing a Power of Attorney, if needed is very easy, however. Simply request a motion in the Probate court to review finances, demand accountability for spending and ask your brother to prove that the majority of her money goes directly to her Care, comfort and personal needs.
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Esther: I am doing a little happy dance for your right now!!! You are awesome!! I bet your brother was shocked. HA HA HA!! I'm sure you are all exhausted, but you can sleep safe tonight and know that your mom is safe too. I'm so happy for you. Get the POA asap. Keep us posted. Best wishes and hugs.
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(((((((hugs))))) Esther. Good for you!!!! So glad you have mum home with yoiu. Re the POA, I think all you have to do is go to a lawyer, and draw up a new one. That should cancel out the other one. In any case, see a lawyer -they will know what to do. What a relief for you and you sibs!
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Quick update.
Today, my siblings, son, and I went to his house with two local police officers. The officers informed him that he had no right to hold my mother against her will (even saying "the power has gone to his head") and she was free to come with us if she wanted to. She agreed, and we brought her home. It's a long ride and we're both exhausted, but I'm glad my mother is home.
All that's left to do is get POA away from him, to prevent further financial harm, and this will be over with.
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There is nothing like a garden. It is a reality and metaphor for a new beginning. Don't think for a minute that we would not be interested in hearing about what happens. As I said before, we are behind you 100%.

Don't regret what you didn't for see. Who would have guessed that he would have stepped in and taken advantage. That just shows that such behavior is something that you would not have expected.

You know better now, so kick some butt. You will win this, I'm sure. Go forth and conquer. Keep us posted all the time. We do care. Love and Hugs, Cattails.
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I thank you for your support. It truly does mean a lot to me.
I will post updates as time goes in, in case anyone would care to read it.
I really regret not educating myself on issues like this when my father passed. I've been taking care of my parents since I moved down the block from them, doctor appointments, groceries, pets, dinner, everything. I figured my mother would not give him POA as he has never helped her, but I was wrong. I regret it so much.
But, on an optimistic note, my goal is to try and get her back and move into her house with her by the beginning of May. That would give me enough time to help her get her garden started again and enjoy the summer.
Again, thank you all.
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Good Luck Esther. We are all on your side and pulling for you and your mom. God Bless you and please keep us posted.
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I'd like to thank you all for taking the time to respond.
I had a family meeting with two of my siblings today to discuss what we will do about the situation. We called my brother to see if he would have a change of heart, but of course he just repeated "I have all power over her". My siblings agreed to help get an attorney to handle the situation. Thanks for the suggestions as well.
I am too old and tired to be dealing with this, but I'll fight him in any way possible to see my mother again.
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I would, also, write an informative letter to her treating physician --- just like the one you wrote above. You have written an objective narrative that will indicate to her Dr that she is living in a very abusive environment. When a professional makes a report to Adult Protective Services, it is given a lot more weight than when a family member reports. In other words, there's a greater chance something will be done once it's reported to the right people.
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She was declared imcompetent by whom? Your brother? It has to be a judge. It cannot be a "professional" manicurist or housecleaner or even a doctor. A judge will take a doctor's opinion into consideration. Unless there is a legal judgement that she is incompetent to make her own decisions, all she has to do to revoke the POA is sign a new one. She can have anyone she wants (or no one) as POA.

POA gives one the power to act on behalf of person in certain situations. It does not give them the right to say who can call and who can visit. I think that word "Power" has gone to your brother's head and he thinks he has more than he legally does.

Do see a lawyer with knowledge of elder law. Best wishes to you as you struggle with this.
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Esther: Your wall of text comes across very clearly. I'm so sorry for the pain you and your mom have endured. I don't know the answer to your questions. Be sure the attorney you speak with understands the special issue involving elders and mental incapacity. There should be some records that define the circumstances of why she was deemed incompetent and I hope your attorney can have access to them. I'm sure, if you have any chance of helping your mom, court will be involved, but talk to the attorney and get his slant on things. He should not be spending your mom's money on himself and if that can be established you may have a way to demonstrate that he is taking advantage of her. Please keep us posted. I wish you and your mom the best.
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