Where can I go to get help getting my Mom returned back home from a brother who took her from California to New Mexico?

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My mom has aIzhiehmer/dementia, I have power of attorney but seem to get no where with it. I have been talking to adult protective service, attorney's, police, no one can seem to help me. I cannot afford conservatorship and my brother has taken over her checking account and put his wife's name on my moms bank acct. My brother is a methadone user n I believe is still using heroine. They do not let me have any contact with my mom, I feel they have brain washed my mom they r always telling her horrible things about me, they told my mom I called the cops on her and that I called ADPS on my mom and now my mom is upset with me, I called police on my brother for threats he made to me n my family if I try to go get my mom. Theres so much more to this story I feel trapped and lost, I have always been very close to my mom and always a part of her life. He has never really been much in her life for the past 15/20 yrs and now that she has memory loss he has come to take her, my children and grandkids r so emotionally hurt over all this, they are very close to my mom. My mom has been gone now for 6 months n her weight had declined tremendously and now she is going blind in one eye. Pleading for HELP!

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Twiggie - if you are concerned about your mother's welfare, I say contact everyone and anyone who will listen. You actually have an advantage that your mother came from California - CA has very strong elder abuse laws, but be prepared for a long battle. I was actually offended for all of the posters by the innuendos by GardenArtist that there must be some things that were not shared if none of the agencies will help. My husband and I have been fighting for his mother for over 4 years. We were lucky enough to find a very good attorney to fight for her, but it has been a VERY expensive battle.Since her other children financially exploited her of every dime, she came to live with us with practically nothing. She had even been put on hospice with less than 6 months to live by one of my husband's siblings and was down to skin and bones before coming to live with us. Like, Twiggie, she was moved to another state and we did not find out until too late. It took us over 2 years to get a law enforcement agency to take the report and do anything about it. We were also in a similar situation - with 3 different states involved. Every state agency would point to the other state - 1. She does not live here anymore; 2. The financial crime did not happen here; 3. She does not live in this state anymore. We wrote to senators, governors, State's Attorney and even the White House - only to be told we needed to hire our own attorney. The government may pass the laws, but finding someone willing to enforce them is another story. Due to the fact our case is not in the court system, I cannot share all of the details but plan to fight for stronger elder laws that law enforcement will enforce if we ever get our case truly in front of a jury for the financial exploitation. Unfortunately, it seems criminals are easily granted continuances while the elderly just get older.
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In a nutshell, being POA allows you to sign on your mom's behalf, but it does not prevent your mom from deciding where to live or who to give her money to (even if you disagree) until she is legally incompetent. (Or if it is a Durable POA). It just occurred to me that perhaps Twiggy as POA could empty her mom's accounts to prevent her brother from accessing her money. I'd give that a try, but you may want to forewarn APS to watch out for mom's safety.
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Maggie, Thanks for the explanation. I agree with you that the POA takes immediate effect to allow you to do your mother's banking, etc. As you stated, however, it does not preclude your mom from making her own decisions. A "Durable POA" is the only type that disallows the person from making decisions about their own affairs, but those are extremely rare. This works fine provided there are no conflicting interests between siblings, or imposters taking advantage of someone who is confused, as is Twiggy's case discussed here. For example, if you had a brother who was a con-man or drug addict and wanted to get his hands on your mother's money, you as POA would NOT have the ability to prevent your mom from leaving town with him, moving in with him, or adding his name onto her checking account (based on his influence). This is not considered illegal abduction or criminal activity...mom is still considered to be a competent adult who can make her own decisions...whether they are good or bad for her. Only a DURABLE POA would have the legal ability to override her decisions. In Twiggy's case, her brother convinced mom that Twiggy does not have her best interest at heart, and he does. Some have questioned why police or the FBI have not gotten involved. Unless Twiggy has a DURABLE POA she cannot force her mom to come home, etc. and the police cannot force mom to go home. Unfortunately I was in a similar situation, as are thousands of other people trying to protect their parents. Twiggy has four options:
1) Find a way to get her mom away from her brother and convince her to go home with her.
2) Call Adult Protective Services to conduct an investigation and determine if mom is being abused or neglected. (If not, APS cannot make mom go home or take her son's name off her bank account.)
3) Retain an attorney and file for Legal Guardianship. If the other person does not have the money or interest to retain counsel it does not go to court. If Twiggy's brother has a criminal record he would probably not want to go before a judge. In many cases where there is no clear cut choice, Guardianship is assigned to a third party.
4) Have mom declared legally/mentally incompetent in a court of law. Whoever is named most recent POA then has full control over her decisions. If Twiggy's brother has convinced mom to sign a new POA with him, Twiggy would have to hire an attorney to try to regain POA.
In your situation it sounds as if there is no conflict so the system works. When these ugly situations occur it does turn into a lengthy and expensive process. I spent $13.000 in attorney fees to get my parents out of a bad situation. There are several great articles online...unfortunately I cannot seem to cut and paste here. Try Googling... When Does POA Take Effect?
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Vicki Ruff, you are incorrect. Unless a POA is specifically written up that the POA is only valid only upon a legal finding of incompetency, it is valid upon presentation. Read yours. If yours says that, then it's very unusual.
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VickiRuff, the bank didn't require the POA for mom to do her banking. It required that it be on file at the bank so that I could do her banking in the future. Mom is incapable of paying her bills and making financial decisions. She executed her POA years ago to allow for this circumstance. In Illinois, unless the POA is drawn up that someone must be declared incompetent by the courts, a POA is valid upon presentation until it's withdrawn.

Tying people's hands with a POA that requires the court and two doctors to make a determination as to whether or not one is competent defeats the purpose of the document. It's expensive. It's time-consuming. And completely defeats the purpose of its convenience. I would imagine it could take MONTHS to wind its way through the court.

My mom's POA to me does not preclude her doing anything she wishes at the bank. In order to stop her from giving all her money away, as an example, she WOULD have to be declared incompetent. Now that it's in place, it allows me to pay her bills, consolidate her accounts, etc., etc. (Example, she had 18 accounts at five different banks. I consolidated that down to 5 accounts at three banks. She was with me when I did this because we needed to place the POA for the future.)
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Twiggie, I would like to start over. First, I believe your story. I have been embroiled in a very similar situation for two years, have spent thousands of dollars on elder attorneys, and have read hundreds of similar accounts online. Unfortunately elder abuse is very common because nothing is clear cut.

1) It is highly probable that your mom already signed a new POA with your brother, which technically makes yours invalid. It is very easy to print the form, have the confused person sign and obtain notarized signatures. Done...new POA. Each of my siblings has a different POA naming him/her self as POA. Institutions don't know there are six POA's floating around, or which is the most recent. Which is the real one???? Not sure it matters because it could change again tomorrow. According to my Elder Attorney, there is no clear cut answer and it would be up to a judge to decide should someone pursue the matter in court.

2) POA does not take effect until the person is declared incompetent. Only a judge can deem a person incompetent, and it must be proven in court by medical professionals. My parents both have severe dementia and don't know which way is up. They have never been deemed legally incompetent and are still able to "make their own decisions," although their "decisions" are based solely on which child is influencing them at that particular moment.

3) Any adult who is 25, 55 or 105 who has not been deemed legally incompetent by a judge in a court of law can "do as they please" without anyone else's permission. It doesn't matter if the person has gray hair or can't remember their own name. If your mom willingly left town with your brother it is not considered an abduction, and if she added him or his wife to her bank account that is not a crime either and there is no crime for police to solve.

I have asked my attorney dozens of questions about who is the real POA, Couldn't it be easily proven that my parents were not of sound mind when they made certain decisions. etc. The answer is always the same: "It would be up to the judge."

That is how bad people take advantage of confused old people. Your best bet is to contact Adult Protective Services for advise. If they can get you in a room alone with your mom, and she says she wants to go home with you, your brother will have to comply. If they find she is being neglected or abused they can take action. If not, you need to hire an attorney to pursue legal guardianship and a judge will decide. If your brother has no money and has a criminal record he probably will not contest and you will not have to go through an expensive court battle. It would be worth an attorney just to file and see what happens.
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MaggieMarshall, you raise an interesting subject. What were you doing at the bank with your mom that required a POA? If your mom went to the bank and had not been declared legally incompetent, why would the bank disallow her to conduct her banking? My daughter is my POA, but until I am declared medically/legally incompetent I can to do as I please without her permission or the POA document (including adding other people's names onto my account). At what point did her bank decide that your mom needed a copy of her POA to conduct her banking?
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Ikor, how right you are. I went to 5 banks with a POA for mom from '03. Only two banks would accept it -- and mom was with me. In Illinois, it appears it's six months old -- and banks? They HATE to accept them at all; at least that's the impression I got. As to it not being necessary to have someone declared incompetent in order to act as their agent, I completely agree. You're absolutely right. I saw that in a post above and cringed.
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Feed the troll, it happens a lot here
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A durable POA can be put in place to care for competent people who can not act on their own behalf because of medical concerns or disabilities. A person does not have to deemed in competent to excercise a POA. A POA is hard to get approved through financial systems when it is more than 3 months old. The best advise is to distibute POA to major financial institutions as soon as they are completed.
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