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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
But, of course, if they do ever intercede, your Dad might resent it, but how else can you find out what is going on if ex never returns your calls and he doesn't answer the phone. If she has been known to be abusive in the past, I can understand how concerned you are for his well-being. That is the only thing I can think of as the people working for ElderServices are so well trained and experienced in all kinds of various situations. I will keep you in my prayers. Take care.