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Hello all, I would greatly appreciate a bit of advice on an issue that may not quite be elder abuse, but is affecting the quality of life of someone important to me. Ellie is 90 years old. She has two daughters, who do not get along well with each other. For most of Ellie's elder life, her younger daughter saw to her care, and did so quite competently. But recently, stating issues regarding Ellie's finances, the elder daughter was awarded guardianship when the younger daughter could not attend a court hearing due to health issues. After the guardianship change, the elder daughter has thrown away furnishings Ellie had in her home all her life, disposed of her records, her clothing, her souveniers and knick-knacks, and her photo albums. She has prevented Ellie's family from entering the home by placing a latch on the door and instructing the live-in-aid not to open it for anyone. Ellie cannot call her family, especially her sister, whom she misses dearly. Ellie isn't being abused per-se, but her quality and joy of life seems greatly diminished. It seems as if the elder sister is just waiting for her mother to pass, in order to sell the home at great profit. Is there any recourse, since losing guardianship, that the younger sister can take to try to restore a bit of the joy that Ellie had before guardianship was lost? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Yes indeed. But GrannySmith has given me something to think on. I don't want to engage in gossip and perhaps I'm overstepping my bounds, here. I'll advise the older daughter to seek legal counsel and maybe keep my distance unless an emergency pops up.
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Marcus: That is such an acrimonious action! I AM APPALLED THAT THIS WAS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!
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The younger sister needs to hire an attorney under these circumstances to find out what can legally be done by caregivers and guardians to find out if her sibling is legally out of line, so you could pass that info to her. For you I would also refrain from gossip until you find out from her sister if the older sibling is legally in line or not. You never know what might come your way as far as defamation of character, slander, etc... from the older sibling. Otherwise, based on what I've read, she hasn't done anything legally out of line, good for gossip though, but is it the reality once it's all picked apart and there are more legal details?

I would also say from experience and this is a good example, there are often logical reasons behind these things that only a caregiver/guardian etc... is aware of whether it makes others happy or not. It might seem cruel, but logically there are matters that have to be taken care of. I can say from my own personal experience taking care of my parents, I have learned a lot in what to expect from family, friends, hospital care, skilled nursing, nursing/assisted living, home health aides, as well as when to clear your home out of your precious stuff, when to scale down, etc.... If you don't do it yourself before you reach this point in life, it will be a mess. I can also say for a fact, it's a lot easier to deal with on your own as a child of a parent, when you have the parents permission, and that parent has decided it is time. And they may be what's going on here. In general, a good example of why we all should take care of our own business ahead of time.
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Well, the younger sister actually disposed of all of her mother's possessions, everything she had spend her whole life collecting, just out in the garbage. And not because the home was cluttered, it wasn't.
But other than that, all the bills are taken care of. There are no outward signs of abuse except that the mother has been completely isolated from her family and friends.
The sad part is, that because of her memory issue, she wouldn't be able to tell anyone that she has been isolated.
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Seek out an elder law attorney.
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Marcus how do you know what is going on with this lady? Are you a relative?
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Marcus, are you on speaking terms with the Guardian sister?
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Katiekate - I respectfully disagree with you having worked for AZ's Child Protective Services as a case manager and had one of the Adult Protective Services come to my house (because one of my nasty neighbor's reported my husband had been found wandering) without a warrant and stated she would call the Sheriff's office if I did not let her in. I also used the police to gain entrance into an apt. for one of my children without a warrant. All I needed to do was produce my credentials. This is the one area that has an exception, and if you haven't worked for these agencies, then you do not know the rules.
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Sunnygirl, that raises an interesting issue about guardianship. There is medical guardianship, there is estate conservatorship, and there is the combo the two into one person. Yes, anyone acting as estate guardian is supposed to give accounting of possessions, funds, what any money is spent for. That's a good point.

Marcus50, that could be another way to make a case for younger sis, if older sis is not doing an accounting of mom's possessions and financial matters.

I'd forgotten about that because, in my case, it was for medical guardianship only. A Trust was acting as financial POA for my grandmother.
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I would seek legal advice from an attorney who litigates that type of case. They should be able to give you an opinion on what evidence you need in court.

In most jurisdictions, someone can file to have the Guardian changed, if they believe the present Guardian is not doing their job properly.

If she's disposing of property, she should have to report it to the court. Most places require an annual accounting of property, assets, debts, distributions, etc.
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Ferris... no, you do not have to let APS in without a warrant.

Far too many people stick their nose into a difficult situation without knowing a thing about it. They guess. Or...they find it a great way to cause trouble for the family.

APS can interview outside of the home. But...to enter without permission is going to take convincing a judge there is probable cause.

We didn't stop having the rights guaranteed by the Constitution when we became caregivers.
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Why could the younger daughter not prove there was no financial abuse? Why did she not attend the guardianship hearing? If there are health related issues one can ask for a continuance and the court can grant that continuance. Something sounds amiss here. My suggestion would be to contact Adult Protective Services, have them investigate emotional abuse, and see what they find. The caregiver living at the house must open the door for the state investigator or else the Sheriff can assist. That caseworker will ask questions of Ellie to ascertain if she is being cared for, does she have friends and family come by, etc. If a determination is made that Ellie is being held captive, then that caseworker makes a recommendation to the court and the court can call the elder sister in to answer the allegations. Better make that call.
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Oh yes, you mentioned that in your original answer. Apologies!
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My attorney thought I would be successful. I had a Dept of Aging social worker in my corner, letter from her doctor, hours of video of different things showing how well I was caring for her in her home. My cousin who was guardian (and lived out of state) had never visited her one time. My grandmother died before I could go to the court date.
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AliBoBali, were you successful?
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All of those things - statements from other family, neighbors, Ellie's doctor would be great if there is a doctor - will help. The distance helps make the case for younger sis. She will need an attorney. My case was $1k, inclusive, to try to obtain guardianship of my grandmother from another family member who was guardian.
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Thank you AliBoBali, for your help!

To answer a few questions, yes, I forgot to mention that the mother has a bit of dementia. She isn't at the point where she forgets important people or tries to wander, but at times (mainly late in the evening) she may not realize where she is and forget that her parents have passed away.

The younger daughter did not have a health issue until the friction with the elder daughter. The stress has affected her. But the younger daughter lives next door and the elder daughter, the one with guardianship, lives miles away.

Ellie has been deemed incompetent. She will probably not be able to make a statement, as her short term memory is compromised.

The younger sister has many friends and neighbors and family that could possibly support her in trying to reinstate guardianship.
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The younger sister can petition for guardianship. Ideally, younger sis can get letters from neighbors, doctors, anyone who would back up what's happened and give some evidence that the older sister isn't a good choice for guardian.

If younger sis can't make an important court date due to health problems, maybe the older sis is best guardian here. ?

Has Ellie been deemed incompetent by a court? I assume that's the case, since there is a guardianship. But if Ellie is aware that she is being denied visitation and phone calls with family, can she make a statement to that? Sometimes, elders will say things about this to their doctors. Do you have access to speak to her doctor, will the doctor say that they see evidence that Ellie's QOL has diminished? My grandmother's doctor wrote a letter for me when I petitioned to be her guardian.

I also video taped my grandmother on several occasions talking about such things, to give me evidence for me to petition to be her guardian instead of a cousin that never came to visit and made poor decisions affecting her QOL. She had full dementia but she was able to say, in response to my simple questions, that she loved and trusted me, that I had never abused her, that she wanted me to stay and care for her. It's good evidence, imo, and my attorney at the time thought so, too -- in combination with evidence that a caregiving agency was abusing their position and my guardian-cousin was absentee. She died before my guardianship court date came up, so I don't know what would have happened.

Hope some of these ideas are helpful.
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