My mother has dementia and was placed in a locked-down Alzheimer's facility 3 years ago. Since then, her husband and his son (both were POA at first, now the primary is the son-in-law) have made it difficult to visit by reporting me as wanting to kidnap my mother, called police when I tried to take her from the nursing home to get a hearing aid and have lunch out, restricted calls from family, etc. He sold or gave away all family possessions and heirlooms, and claims she is his mother now and will change her name, move her to a new facility, and will never let her move to the state where her children are who want to care for her. Her husband is now in an assisted living place, while she remains in a Medicaid nursing home bed in Florida. How can her children get her out of state without fighting in courts forever and with limited money resources?

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So, are you trying to kidnap Mom? We have certainly seen that on this forum. And it may be with the absolute best intentions. But have you done anything that might be construed as trying to remove her permanently from the premises?

Why was POA assigned to stepson, and not to you? (I have 2 biological children and 3 step children. Out of all of them I think one of the stepdaughters is the best choice for POA.)

As POA, stepson has to make some decisions about how money is spent and about medical procedures (if he has both legal and medical POA). Apparently he has decided that a hearing aid is not a viable solution at this time. (That is exactly the decision my sisters and I made for our mother. Nothing sinister about it. Totally based on practical considerations.) He has that authority. But you insist on taking her to a hearing aid place. Were you intending to pay for that out of your pocket?

He sold some of her possessions. Is he using that money to pay for her care? If he is using it to pay for his boat or his son's college education he is breaking the law and you should report him as such. If he is trying his best to see that she has care, he is just doing his job. What kinds of things has he given away? To whom?

What's the bit about changing her name? Is that just to keep her hidden from you? Presumably if she took her second husband's name when they married, she already has the same last name as her stepson.

This is very confusing.

Maybe your stepbrother is a total and complete jerk. There are some out there, for sure. But why would you mother pick him as her POA?

Maybe your stepbrother is doing his level best to look out for a woman he has come to love, and has to do it in a dysfunctional family setting.

Hard for us to judge.

The absolute ideal solution would be for all of you siblings and step-sibling to sit down and work out a plan that would be best for Mom.

Somehow that doesn't seem likely.

You need a lawyer, I think, in the county in Florida where mother is. Try to get your story organized so you can tell it succinctly and with all necessary details. Lawyers charge by the hour, you know.
Helpful Answer (4)

First you say the stepson is POA, then mention a son-in-law as POA. A bit confusing as to who has current POA. Whoever has the POA over your mother has the legal right to make decisions on her behalf. The only way you can gain any legal rights is to gain guardianship over your mother and that takes going to court. Revoking a POA is also a court action. It is too late for your mother to appoint a new POA, she is not competent enough to be able to do so. Most Alzheimer patients are not good candidates to receive dental care or understand the responsibilities of using a hearing aid. Your best bet is to seek legal advice.
Helpful Answer (5)

I think you're going to have to get involved legally to fight this battle. Given the alleged claims made against you, that would be an issue that would be raised, so you'll have to address that, even if the husband and stepson are making false accusations.

Giving away heirlooms could be disposing of something valuable that could later be sold to pay for your mother's care, even if they are small items.

I don't know if he has authority to change your mother's name, but I would think the legal process by which this is done would include questioning why, at her stage of life, given her medical conditions, any name change would be appropriate or even needed, particularly since it means all legal and financial documents would have to be changed, and that would include changing her government records such as those with SS and Medicaid.

I really don't see any alternative but to consult an elder law attorney, one in a medium to larger practice with a litigation practice area. You want someone who can both advise you and litigate for you if necessary, and those two practice areas aren't always merged. Above all, I would avoid a single practitioner; they just don't have the breadth of experience and support from colleagues to handle the range of issues you'll be facing. And they don't have colleagues ready to step in if there's a time conflict or assistance is needed.

Discuss the issue of a payment plan with attorneys with whom you consult.

Another option is to apply for guardianship, but there still will be legal expenses.

And you'll also have to have solid documentation for the allegations and issues, since those are going to be raised.

I'm curious as well why the husband is no longer involved in making decisions, and how the stepson came to assume the apparent sole authority.

Another issue to address is why you want to move your mother out of state at a time when she apparently has advanced Alzheimers, and such a move would likely confuse her. Have you and your family been involved in her care prior to this? Who cared for her when she was first diagnosed and progressed with Alzheimers?

You state your mother's children want to care for her. Have any of you been involved with her care since she was diagnosed, and do you have any idea how difficult it is to care for someone with Alzheimers? What specifically are your plans? Do you have a facility selected?

You know that if you move her to another state you'll be subject to Medicaid rules of that new state, so there may be issues with requalification. Others here can address that issue much more succinctly than I can.

There are a lot of unanswered questions in this situation; be prepared to answer and address them with a judge.
Helpful Answer (3)

Time to talk to an Elder Law attorney about this situation, as it is complex.
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