Is there an office we can write to in the U.S. to find out if what our cousins are doing is legal? - AgingCare.com

Is there an office we can write to in the U.S. to find out if what our cousins are doing is legal?

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Greetings from England, thank you all for your help and replies. When I refer to next of kin - I mean that my sister and I are the only nieces and family left belonging to my Aunt and as her cousins say they hold POA and Health Proxy and will not show us them - what I want to know is why can they exclude us from our aunt's life. They had less contact with her in her 90 odd years than we had only that they are American citizens and we are English citizens. Why all of a sudden, the friendship we had is gone and they will not show us the papers they said they had giving them POA and Health proxy. Surely if they were in order they would show us them. - Any information regarding our aunt's health has to come through them and why the sudden coolness with us. what does officialdom mean in US Law. Again thank you all so much.

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Honestly as you are not a Child or Sibling of said Person they are not required to show you an paper work. If this is their mother then really you should respect their wishes to keep this to themselves. This might be a hard time for them. An illness of a loved one is hard to work through. If they had to place her in a Nursing Facility because she requires more care than what they can provide is a lot to take on.If and I say IF they want to show you they will, If the do not they wont. But you shouldn't badger them about it. They could be going through a lot.
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Let me tell you how difficult it is to do one more thing, sometimes when you are POA of a relative. It is difficult. Others just don't know the paper work that is involved in nursing homes, insurance, property tax, cable bills, bank statements. It goes on and on. If a cousin wrote and ask to see the piece of paper to prove that I am supposed to be doing all of this, I would flip out.
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Sorry Molly, but I really think you are all about the money. This is the umpteenth time you have tried to figure out a way to get to it.
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Does your aunt have a lot of money? The behavior, if you have not had any altercations outside of this, is the behavior of someone doing something that they really should not be doing.

I hope you can work it out though...sorry about your Aunt.
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Thank you all so much for your help - Firstly I would say that my sister and I were able to see our Aunt in her care residence and our relations did not stop us from visiting her at all - Our problem is that our relations who say they have POA and Health Proxy for our Aunt have completely changed towards us - Previous to our Aunt's illness, when we travelled to the States, we stayed with our relations and they would holiday with us in England. They told us that they would send us all the relevant papers showing the POA and Health proxy and then they informed us that we could not have or see them and that we could not go to our Aunt's Home = It's just the total exclusion by them as if we were strangers and before our Aunt got sick she wrote to me to go and visit her which I did and I was due to visit again in February but then she got sick and now has severe dementia and psychotic. I did visit in February and again in April but she is very confused and they are trying to get right medication for her. My sister and I tried to get talking to her doctor but seemingly any information we want has to go through her POA and Health proxy and it just hurts to see our aunt in this state and then our cousins treating us with such disdain. The funny thing is that in 2013 our relations rang us to go over to States and advised us that our Aunt had nothing in place if she got sick and suddenly there is something there. In England your next of kin is treated with respect. It's a mess and it could be resolved so easily if our relations. would tell us what forms they have. Any ways My Aunt is getting good care and hopefully she will have peace of mind . Again thank you all
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It is purely conjecture, but perhaps the local family resents that you feel you should be involved when you live so far away. If you challenged their rights and/or said that you are closer to her than they are, it makes sense that they would be upset. I am not saying it is right to deprive your Aunt of contact with you, but ..
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As Jeanne says, there is no rule or jurisdiction that can force someone to show you their documents. In fact, because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, it may be illegal for any sort of professional to tell you anything about your aunt's condition, legal or physical, without her written permission.

If you suspect any type of abuse, neglect or exploitation, most areas (local county government usually) have a Division of Adult Protective Services. Since you do not have any basis in fact to make a complaint, ask them or the police to make a "welfare" check. If you just want contact, I wonder if you told the relatives that you would like to come visit might change anything(?) I would think they would not keep you from seeing her if you came all that way.
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Molly,

I'm sorry but I couldn't find any other posts...so I might be asking questions that have already been answered.

Have you been able to speak with your Aunt? It does not sound like it, however thought I'd ask.

Also, is she in a home and can you contact the care facility concerning her condition?

I think that if you have real concerns you really do need to contact a lawyer in her area that specializes in elder law as has been suggested, and it would behoove you to come over for a few weeks to sort things out.

It is very difficult to do much from where you are...so far away...and someone has to be here to help her out, so if her cousins are close by it makes sense that they hold POA and Medical Power of Attorney.

Another person has suggested that if you are concerned about her physical well being at the moment you can call the local police and they will stop by...I've done this with an ailing friends after not being able to contact him for some time and knowing what he was going through...it was a good move and the police were extremely good about it.

Just my suggestions.
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If you're concerned about what's going on with your Aunt because they are prohibiting contact you can always call the local police precinct and ask them to stop by her home and do a wellness check. Cops do that all the time and they shouldn't have a problem doing it. If you find out that there are things that are concerning going on with her care, you can notify social services in her city/state if the cops do it automatically. But Jeanne is right with regard to getting a lawyer. They will probably show you the POA if they get a semi-threatening letter from an attorney. And if they fail to produce one, you can always file in court for guardianship if she's not competent (and then they'd have to produce one to avoid the court awarding guardianship). But think before you leap because it doesn't sound like caregiving from an international distance is an ideal situation. Maybe you just need to visit your Aunt for a week or two and see how things are for yourself (and enjoy her company in the meantime!).
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Molly, even if you were a US citizen, they would not have to show you the POA documents. From previous posts I thought that you were able to visit with your Aunt while you were here. Are they now excluding you? In what ways?

But your basic question is how can you determine if they really have the authority they claim, right? Have you contacted a lawyer in your aunt's jurisdiction to look into this for you? I don't know what else you can do.

If I were those cousins I can't imagine why I wouldn't send you a copy of the documents. That seems the fastest way to resolve the conflicts. True, I wouldn't have a legal obligation to do it, but why not just get it over with? So I understand your concern. But if you want to pursue this I really think you need to hire a lawyer. Sorry.

Also, if it turns out the papers are not in order, what do you plan to do? Is Aunt of sound mind at this point? I suspect that you will need a lawyer to guide you if the POA docs are not valid. You might as well get started on that.
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