Follow
Share

Condensed very long story. My mother, now 94, is in need of assistance. I do not have POA, nor am I in her will. We have had a tumultuous relationship for the past 40 years. I currently reside 500 miles away and my presence makes her angry.


She has lived alone until recently. DSS has now intervened and determined that she cannot reside alone or make decisions. They are wanting me to be involved, but as I said, I have no legal authority. Her POA resides in another state, and really doesn't want the responsibility. As a note, her named POA didn't know she had been named.


I have always tried to watch over my mother, from a distance, considering our bizarre relationship (made annual trips, stayed in touch with her current friends and business contacts). Additionally, my wife of 37 yrs. has been barred from visitation for the last 30 yrs. (another long distorted story). Interestingly, an attorney has recently entered the picture at her request and is trying to assume control. He has not spoken to me but apparently he is interested in her assets, since he has already asked her to sell him her home. Not surprisingly, my mother is relatively wealthy, and all the attorney vultures are aware of the family dynamics. My mother tells them all of her distorted history.


Basically, I am at a loss as to what to do. I have contacted another attorney in her city to try to help me. What a mess!


Any thoughts or ideas are certainly welcome.

Find Care & Housing
Oceanlover, I'm 5 years in. I go visit every quarter only to check on what she needs in person. That trip does affect me for about 2 days and I'm a little sad and angry. It's a good time for self care. The MC director understands that I was abused but not the severity and says that I do a better job of visiting than most of the families. I think we would be surprised to know how many really do "put away" granny.

It's ok to place her especially if you get a %age of assets for overseeing her case. There nay be a minimum frequency of visits to the facility, but we can do a little if we know we get paid. If no will is found & presented, then she dies intestate and the heirs inherit the assets. If you know there's a will that cuts you out, I strongly suggest you say no and allow the state to pursue guardianship. The remaining money still goes through the will, the conservator/guardian gets a cut, but you will be free to visit or not, and to think of her or not. My decision was helped knowing there would be assets at the end for me/my children.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to surprise
Report

I chose to step up in a similar situation. I knew the assets were not enough to restore my wholeness, but they would be a way to recompense my efforts to find healing (therapy). So we hired the biggest bulldog in town (I think he's just a schnauzer tho) and took care of guardianship/hearings/mental evaluation/house disposal. Put mthr in a memory care locally. It was a hard 6 mos- a year to get her settled, but I'm looking back and taking joy in knowing I did a nice thing for a pitiful old hateful woman who ran off everyone who could help her. I don't consider her my mommie- I missed getting one, but when I hear Dr Laura on the radio I think of her as mommie. That helps. Mthr is missing very important elements inside her.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to surprise
Report
OceanLover68 Apr 4, 2019
Thanks,
I sure can relate to those sentiments.
(2)
Report
Truly do you want to be involved or not?
I ask cause you have contacted another atty to look into all this. The attorney you contacted is going to bill you. Either your all in or not.

If your in, you & the surprised POA need to have the same attorney imo. And if there's real $, real assets your atty will be able to do whatever to ensure all in best interest of your mom. You can keep your involvement to be minimal, you & POA get cc’d on all paperwork; bit you let your atty be her guardian and get her into a facility.

If there was a surprise POA, I bet a case of Prosecco there's gonna be surprises in her assets & her will - like odd codicils done - and investments that name you, that POA or others as the beneficiary of. Your gonna get dragged into all this one way or another. If that is what the likely scenario is, you want to have some control over this hot mess. I’d get that atty you spoke with with to do whatever to squash the other one and your atty becomes the in state guardian for her.

I was named executor for an Aunt, total surprise. I was not close to her, maybe saw her 5 times. She saw her atty about a year before her death and did a huge codicil to her will and changed beneficiaries in detail. She did not tell the POA. She did a letter to be posthumously read as to why she removed him if he challenged the will. Yeah he was beyond peeved. Estate was a hot mess, took years; there was the illusion of $$$ but the reality was quite different. The Estate attorney was great, I learned a lot. I’m glad I did it.

If your mom has $ & assets, you & the POA join forces & hire your own guy and let him be your own personal pit bull. Her $ will pay for all attorney costs, your atty needs to be a real pit bull, but he/ she represents her blood and her named POA. Huge advantage. But you need to move on this now before court names a guardian.

If theres $ left, give it to your wife. Sheesh she deserves it for putting up with 37 years of a whack job of a MIL.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to igloo572
Report

I would say keep talking with the attorney you've spoken to and see what they suggest. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to mmcmahon12000
Report

Ward of the state. For her protection as well as yours.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to rovana
Report

You cannot be held responsible if there was abuse at one time. Please, do not get involved. If she has money, allow the state to take over and place her in an AL. By pushing you away, she is doing this to herself. I would make DSS aware that a lawyer has approached her. If you don't care about her money, allow him to get guardianship. He has to prove to the state how her money is spent. Probably will be allowed a retainer.

Since filial laws have been mentioned a lot lately, I looked them up. Seems 30 states have them but don't enforce them. They are old laws, made when we didn't have SS and Medicaid. No child will be made to care financially for a parent if it will effect the childs income to be able to live or raise a family. Meaning, you can't make someone pay 10k a month for a NH for a parent if you don't have it.

This man's Mom has her own money so don't think filial laws would apply here.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
worriedinCali Apr 2, 2019
Incorrect. Filial laws are enforced. Only 11 out of 30 states have never enforced their filial laws.
good thing the OP has a lawyer involved even though it is unlikely filial laws will be be an issue.
(0)
Report
The DSS should have all the authorities they need to apply for guardianship and make your mother a ward of the state.

Don't be disconcerted or anxious about their having approached you: it's only routine and it makes sense. Imagine if they made a habit of taking over vulnerable adults' lives without attempting to include family members first! But the fact is that acting for your parent is quite hard enough even without the hostility your mother has shown to you. It's none of your doing but you surely can't be the right choice of guardian for your mother in her particular circumstances.

I would alert whoever your contact is at the DSS to the presence of the conflicted attorney so that the DSS is aware of this potential risk (the attorney may have the best of intentions and the kindest of hearts, who knows; but all the same). Do you know what species of official it was that got in touch with you about this?
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
worriedinCali Apr 2, 2019
It is standard procedure to the DSS to contact all living family members and give them the opportunity to take “custody” of the person, if you will. That’s likely all this is. It’s all part of the process. It’s just a notification and a request for the OP to take responsibility. The DSS will ultimately make the mother a ward of the state.
(0)
Report
What state is your mother in? You should be able to say no and ignore the DSS.....unless mothers state has filial laws so It’s a good thing you contacted a lawyer. I know in California, the dss does contact every family member they can find and try to get them to step up and take responsibility. But you can say no and that’s the end of it. Happened with my late MILs partner. He had a family member he’s never even met become a ward of the court and DSS sent him a few letters trying to get him to take in the family member.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to worriedinCali
Report
OceanLover68 Apr 4, 2019
It all gets better. I have been told she can contract an attorney because she has not been legally declared incompetent. However, she has been declared mentally incompetent by an assessment of mental health professionals. So it appears we go petition for guardianship and conservatorship. What a MESSS!!!
(0)
Report

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter