I'm haunted about a distant relative who took control of my elderly mom and stepfather's lives. I fear that she manipulated them. They had complete trust in this woman who's an opiate addict. Every time I went to visit my mother, this relative, who lived in an apartment upstairs, was there or came down. She didn't try to contact me to let me know that my mother was ill and starving herself to death, and she didn't try to get my mother help.

When I got the Department of Aging involved, and my mother was finally taken to the hospital, I witnessed this relative's cruelty to my stepfather, 81, twice when she was angry that my son and I were taking him to pay bills. Once she told him that she wasn't going to feed him after my mom died.

On the one day that I wasn't at the hospital due to a snow storm, the hospital sent my mother home via an ambulance with this relative, (because her Medicare benefits had run out), and this relative managed to get my dying mother brought to her apartment.

Again, she was in complete control not only of my mom, but also my stepfather who slept on a futon in her one room apartment.

At first I thought she wanted control of my mom in order to get the morphine that hospice supplied. But I realized that she also wanted my mom's belongings as she, along with her son, were going through my mother's things and taking whatever they wanted.

My mom was something of a hoarder and not only had an apartment full of stuff, but also a rental house and several storage units. I was shocked when, a few days before my mother died, I saw the mat on this relative's kitchen floor that I'd given my mom for Christmas a few weeks earlier.

She and her son were also managing my stepfather's finances.

My mom died on January 19, and this relative is still in control as my stepfather, whom doctors at the hospital deemed to be mentally incompetent, is still living with her. She wouldn't even let us pick him up to take him to the funeral home to sign the papers for my mom's cremation (which, I paid for). She insisted on taking him as if she didn't want us to get him alone. I think she intends to financially exploit him.

She's still going through my mom's things. By Missouri law, when one dies without a will, 50% of the estate goes to the spouse and the rest to the deceased's offspring. I don't really want my mother's junk, but I want photos and there may be some memento I'd want--perhaps some jewelry. There has been zero consideration for me in this matter. No one has even asked me if I might want something of my mom's.

I'm also worried that she's financially exploiting my stepfather. As I'm not his next of kin, there's nothing I can do about it. Me and other family members reported our concerns to the Department of Aging, but they said they could do nothing without proof.

This situation tortured me through the weeks that my mom was ill and it still does now, but I feel powerless. I don't know what I can possibly do.

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'THEY' have a drug habit correct? Do you know anyone within the police department? Have you or do you know how they get their drugs? Have you ever 'followed' them to find where/who the connection is?
My older sibling would show up at Mom's door when friends no longer had a sofa for her to sleep, it became too cold to sleep in the park or doorway. When this happened, Mom would call me and ask that I come over to "visit" after work (Mom worked 2 floors above me at the same bank). Mom didn't know what an addict looked like or do, only from what she saw in movies. Never failed, Mom would let her back in the house. I would drive a particular route to work to check on the 'new' girls in training at this 1 corner. This corner was also a bus stop and across the street was the official ghetto area. Yes, I would see her get off the bus and walk across the street to meet her connection. I never ever told Mom because it was too hard on her knowing her child was an addict. But Mom would give in until I gave Mom a come to Jesus moment. Then I would be asked to drop by unannounced when Mom was out of town to make sure everything was still there.
You can talk with the police department, especially the uncover/drug officers.
You will get help from the police. They will do welfare checks. YOU GIVE THEM A REASON THEY'LL BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Have you talked with Mom's doctor? Report a suspicious complaint regarding Mom's bank account. Request the SSA to review Mom's checks to find out who is endorsing. Bank, if auto-deposit, will look to see how fast the money is going out. Is it through the ATM, they should have photos, withdrawing by using a check from her account, have the police or bank fraud department verify whether the handwriting is valid? Does she take Mom to the bank branch, the same one, the same teller? Talk with the manager of her bank branch regarding your concerns. Ask the bank to place what is called a "9" hold on the account. That way the bank will verify the checks and the purpose. If it's payable to a utility company, then 99.99% no problem. If there are a lot coming through payable to cash or this relative THAT'S A MAJOR ISSUE. IT'S CALLED BANK FRAUD.
You say she's a distant relative. How distant? You're right about the 50% property issue, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN SHE'S ENTITLED TO RECEIVE ANYTHING. The law should explain how that works.
The Court will decide who gets who doesn't. The sad thing is they have most likely pawned everything of value money-wise, so there may not be anything left.
GET AN EMERGENCY GUARDIANSHIP/CONSERVATORSHIP from the Courts. Depending on the law, she most likely is not an "INTERESTED" PARTY. Meaning she doesn't have to be notified by the Court, you'll get the right to pull the piggy bank out from under this relative and this could also be the time she's arrested.
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Who has filed for probate? Who is POA for your stepfather? You are exactly right that you have no say over your stepfather as he is not a relative. Is she? Are his relatives aware? Someone needs to file to be executor for your Mother's estate. It's time to see an elder law attorney.
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Keep reporting it to Adult Protective Services.
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