My power of attorney status is causing terrible difficulty between my siblings and me. Any suggestions? - AgingCare.com

My power of attorney status is causing terrible difficulty between my siblings and me. Any suggestions?

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My mom lives in my home on hospice—a cancer patient. My older brother and sister resent me for being given POA, Medical POA and will executor. There is good reason for it. My sister has been a substance abuser and incarcerated twice. My brother has never cared much for my mom and once borrowed a large sum of money from her and has never paid it back. She has said over and over that I’m the only one she trusts. To make matters worse, now she really needs my protection because she’s developed dementia-like symptoms from ammonia going to her brain. Here’s what she does: she tells my sister that she can borrow money from her savings when she needs it. Then my mom tells me not to tell anyone any details about her money. My sister comes to me saying that mom told her she can borrow money and for me to write her a check. I question her about it, then she and my brother talk and hold me under suspicion about keeping my mom's money from them. I’m about ready to revoke all my legal powers and to move my mom into a nursing home. I’m losing my mind. My family is drama-ridden and toxic, and my mom is putting her own privacy and finances at risk. I’m the POA, but my hands are tied. At this point, I’m even inclined to walk away from my own inheritance. I’m a spiritual person who realizes that no amount of money is worth the loss of my serenity. Anyone have wisdom for me?

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@BarbBrooklyn --very sound advice.
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Reply to bettina
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Last, yes, it's much better to be proactive in these situations.

while I understand that you may want to protect mom from family drama, "isolating" your mom makes YOU and easy target for crazy relatives via APS. Just saying.....

Get mom's attorney on board; it'll be worth every penny. And should be paid for with mom's funds, just remember.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Thank you all for such thoughtful responses. Very helpful. I’m going to act on this advice, and I have also aksed our family attorney to assist me with these matters. She’s been responsive to me and is helping me navigate things better now. I’ve learned that it’s better to ask for a lot of help right up front then to wait for problems to arise. Also, it’s been helpful to share some things with some of my mothers friends who are of sound mind. They love my mother, and they’ve seen the drama with my family. They have sat in as witnesses on conversations in the past week and are willing to sign documents as witnesses too
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Reply to lastwoman44
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I would say you've gotten a lot of excellent advice here. I've had to deal with a lot
of ugliness as my dad's POA, and that is from grifters that had strategically befriended
him.

The reality is aging is ultra expensive. Ultra ultra expensive. All these grifting types
from church "rescuers" (who show up every so often and make a big show of visiting and
then stop to chide me while I'm busy putting in long hours of actual work) to
creepy visiting "young people" who befriend the elderly hoping for favors, free cars,
free places to stay, a couple even managed loans and getting a promise of inheritance.
All resented me thinking I was going to become rich, but now years down the line, my dad keeps plugging along and he's spending down every penny.

We never know how long someone will live, and how much money they will need for
care. It's very important to preserve as much money as possible for your mother's care.
If there's any left over once she's gone, that's the time to divvy any remaining funds.
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Reply to bettina
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If you have what you need to invoke the POA (i.e., letter of incompetency from dr, if needed), then just invoke it. You may just have to toughen up. It's often not an easy job and not for the weak and can bring about ugly family dynamics. If you feel you're not up to it, then you can resign. I'm so sorry for your situation, but I know it's a common one.


I'm editing here bc my post seems harsh. I mean to say that sometimes family may try to manipulate the POA thru suspicion, threats, and even coercing the loved one being cared for. Your job is to take care of the medical, financial, real estate or whatever issues the POA includes, and you have to be able to withstand whatever your family throws at you. In my case, it divided my siblings and me, but I protected Dad's interests and refused to share his financial information with them. Early on, everyone knew they couldn't get past my safeguarding of his funds.
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Reply to talkey
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Your mother has cancer; I don't mean to be maudlin, but has it metastasized to her brain, and if so, has she had "whole brain rads"? If so, there may be some brain damage *as well as the dementia) and she's not thinking clearly, which could explain why she's making conflicting statements to you and your sister. Do you know for sure that what your sister claims was stated was in fact said by your mother? Did you hear that conversation?

Regardless, you're in a position of needing to be the stalwart protector of those aspects of her life over which you've been given authority. Unfortunately, the situation is complicated by your sister's aggressive efforts.

Step back and think about what you're suggesting, about walking away. Do you think your sister would leave any funds for your mother's care or just drain her accounts? In terminal cancer stage, do you think that your mother would be able to counteract your siblings' financial assaults?

I know this places a heavy burden on you. And believe me, I've been in a somewhat similar situation with a sibling, who can be so persistent and harassing that one does challenge the value of being a proxy/attorney-in-fact and having to "man the ramparts" to protect your parent.


You are in an unfortunate predicament, but there are some solutions.

There's a critical fact to remind you what a proxy's role is. You wrote:

"she and my brother talk and hold me under suspicion about keeping my mom's money from them. " You're NOT keeping your mother's money from them; unless your mother has made some legal arrangements to help them now, they're NOT entitled to anything until your mother passes, and then, only what's addressed in her Will. You're PROTECTING your mother's money for her use while living. Your siblings don't understand (and probably don't care).

Your sister and brother are trying to manipulate you, which is unfortunate given your mother's situation, but you don't have any obligation under the POAs to them.

I would follow Barb's advice. Talk to the attorney who prepared your mother's estate plan, and even ask her/him to send a letter notifying the siblings they're not entitled to anything, that your authority as a proxy demands confidentiality as to your mother's affairs.

Don't battle these two alone; get legal help.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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"I’m about ready to revoke all my legal powers and to move my mom into a nursing home." Why would you "revoke" (to withdraw or cancel by law) your POA for your Mom? Don't you mean "EVOKE" your POA or put your POA power into action?
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Reply to DeeAnna
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With your mom showing dementia-like symptoms, I'd talk with her doctor to confirm it or some diagnosis of not fully comprehending what she might say. With that I would tell Sister and Brother that with Mom's dementia, Mom cannot full understand what she's saying. Furthermore, since she would now be in a protected class of vulnerable people she falls under stringent laws for her protection. In no way should Sister or Brother try to force any money from Mom. That would be illegal. Assure them all you're protecting Mom's interests.

Before I took over for Mom's finances and being her financial GDPOA, my niece ended up taking all of Mom's money. My Sister 2 called me breathing fire over the phone how she had discovered Mom's bank statement showing multiple withdrawals A DAY until Mom's money was gone. From that I took over Mom's finances (with concurrence from Sisters 1 and 2). Niece eventually admitted get Mom to give Niece her money because "I knew she wouldn't remember." From my mouth to Niece's ears I said, "If you try to do anything like that again, I will call the police and have you arrested."

Best wishes to you, lastwoman44.
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Reply to MountainMoose
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I posted on your other thread. I think you need to contact mom's lawyer and the Hospice social worker for advice.

You don't want to isolate your mom from your siblings without it having been advised by others with the authority to do so.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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