Power of Attorney - Younger sibling interference. Any advice?

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Hello All: I need some advice. I have my mother's POA, but I have a younger brother who has lived with her his entire life (52 yrs old) and hasn't worked in 20+ years. Before I could stop him, he removed $5,000 from her account. After getting the POA, I have set up her bills to be paid by me, and I am handling her hospitalization and movement to an assisted living facility. She is now doing better mentally, and wants to handle all of her financials herself. What this means in action is that my brother will be handling her accounts, and he has never paid a bill, and wants to siphon more money off due to having no income. He is also trying to take her out of the facility and get her back in her home, but she is not strong enough to do so. There are many steps, and she is likely to fall. (quite overweight-he can't help her) She wants to try, and he doesn't care what the Drs. say as long as he can get away with trying this dangerous thing. So, I am in a quandary. Now that she is doing better physically, (still can't walk) and has her anger back intact, she wants her independence. I want to take care of her finances so that they are preserved for her needs for the rest of her life, but handing her and her money to him will be a terrible thing. My brother has chased all of the home health care personnel from the house that came to care for her, and wouldn't notify the Drs when she fell repeatedly in the house and developed bed sores. I feel like I can't let this happen, and the situation is awful. Any thoughts? Is this elder abuse, or just a crappy, irresponsible sibling? I feel that I need to do all that I can to protect her, but she doesn't want to say anything to make him angry. Ugh.

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Top Answer
idaandbill, I am using some tough love.... there is no quandary here, you need to do what is in the best interest of your Mom. Not what is in the best interest of your brother. He's old enough to cross the street on his own, and to find employment or to go on disability or onto welfare.

Right now, you need to concentrate on Mom, and it sounds like she is adjusting to where she is living. Remember, you are Mom's medical Power of Attorney. Not your brother.

No, your brother does not get to handle Mom's financial matters, if somehow Mom does move back home.... you are the financial Power of Attorney. You hold firm.

Use "therapeutic fibs" to keep Mom in senior care. Tell her she cannot leave the facility until she can walk the whole length of the hallway. What are the chances that Mom can do that? Slim to none?

Your brother is very dependent on your Mom, and vise versa. Thus, when Mom starts to make excuses, like she doesn't want her son to become angry, you need to have on hand a really good come back for that excuse. And let the facility know that your Mom is not allowed to move out, and that your brother may want to remove her. This isn't the facilities first rodeo, they will know what to do.
Thank you so much! I feel like I am the only real protection that she has right now. My big girl panties are pulled on, and I have to hold fast. She will never be able to go home. The new facility that I have found for her is sweet and the personnel are caring. She could enjoy it there, but I think that my brother will continue to go there everyday and just sit around as he has for the past months so she will not be willing to take advantage of the activities and companionship at the new facility. I can't control that. At 90, she is still worrying about him. I will do what I have to do to care for her, even though she will rail against me. She is a supremely independent character, and hates for anyone else to make any decisions for her. To her detriment. I like the idea of "therapeutic fibs" and good come backs. She is 100% determined to go home. She wants to die there. She thinks that she can get strong enough to do so and is trying to walk everyday. Another element: She is a hoarder, and the house is really and truly unsafe. Thank you freqflyer and Windyridge for some much needed perspective. I was feeling pretty alone in this. I appreciate your wisdom.
Thanks so much.
You need to look at the exact wording of your poa. Maybe review it with an attorney. If it was drawn up giving you authority over money, medical, and housing, stick to your guns.

Moving mom home and conceding to bros demands would be a huge mistake. It will just make an already difficult situation much worse. Good luck.
"She thinks that she can get strong enough to do so and is trying to walk everyday."

There's your fib, just keep telling her she can't possibly go home until she can do x, y & z independently. The bonus is that she will be motivated to keep working, which is a good thing.
Oh good, a cop in the family. Mom will be fine while you sort it out go to war whatever..
Your poa may even give you the right to control brothers visits. And BTW, it sounds like he’s getting close to criminal activity with the money. I know it could be a real rodeo but maybe go to battle now, get the crap over with.

I just used my poa to have my parents placed in assisted living after the latest crisis. Had to trick Dad, with dementia, but mom hates me now and won’t speak to me for putting her in “Prison”.

This prison looks like a 3 star hotel. And costs about as much.
cwillie and Windyridge:
Thank you. I think that is the fib. I'll have to determine what "has to happen" before she can go home. I think that the younger brother is on the verge of criminal activity with his monetary withdrawals. That is why I shut him down, and moved most of her funds to an account that he cannot access. She left him one checkbook, but I now only keep enough money in that account to cover any auto debits, and the utilities that he says that he needs to keep paying. I am committed to even shutting that down if I see that he writes any more checks in his name. As for prison Windyridge, I get that! These prisons are pretty lovely and expensive these days!!! Interesting about the POA relative to visits. I'll check on all of the clauses. My other brother is a retired police officer, and is ready to go to war over this if we have to do the filing about my younger brother's behavior. He is leaving the details to me though. Oldest child/daughter privileges I guess!! If only those rights came with a bonus! HA. Hoo boy! Kind of crazy. All I wanted was to make sure that my mother had peaceful and lovely last years, but this is more complicated that I ever knew.
If I were you, I would make sure Mom knows that if she were to leave and return home to an unsafe and inappropriate situation, that you would wash your hands of being her financial and healthcare POA immediately, and that you would not be there to protect her or her finances Ever, in the future! That you are there to do the job that she Chose you to do back when she was thinking clearly, and that you are making sure that what money she does have, will last her as long as possible, and that you are taking that job very seriously! Deep down I suspect that she knows this oh too well, but as a Mom to a dysfunctional adult Son who never successfully launched into adulthood, she is probably feeling somewhat responsible for this.

Are you able to confront your homebound brother, and give him the "what for"? There does seem to be one or two leeches in every family! My husband's brother and sister both took as much from their parents while the were both still working and into early retirement, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it wasn't until after his Mom died and his Dad came to live with us, that the Money Hemorrhaging stopped. Clearly their Mom was the problem in this situation and she was unable to say NO to them. Their Dad was More than happy to give my husband POA, as at least all money requests would have to go through him, and he shut down the bleeding Pronto! Never again, End Of!

We ended up having his Dad live with us for the last 13 years of his life, less an 11 week trial of Assisted Living at the end there, interrupted by a terminal Cancer diagnosis, which brought him back to our home for 9 more weeks on Hospice until he passed away. Never in all those years including his life ending weeks with Cancer and Hospice, did either of those 2 leeches even bother to visit him, and only rarely called him. That got what they wanted Years before!

No offers to help, no sympathy cards, no nothing! The reprobates will bleed them dry and never look back, some people have no conscious! Do whatever you can to stop him in his tracks, or she Will end up broke and have no recourse!

StaceyB and MountainMoose:
Thank you so much for your responses.
StaceyB: My mother is the most stubborn person that I have ever met. If I made that ultimatum, she would tell me to leave "them" alone, and then would go on to never speak to me again. Good grief. She really doesn't understand how bad that this could get. After she allowed the POA, she had a few weeks of being completely incoherent, and now that she is pretty much back to herself, doesn't believe me when I tell her what happened. She has always been resistant to the truth if she doesn't like it. And you are right about her guilt. She does really know that he is unable to do what is needed, but the realization is just too much right now.
I have confronted him, but his response is completely unreasonable and irrational, and goes to the idea of "you weren't here for her"...He doesn't really understand that living with you mother and not working doesn't mean that you are taking care of her. It means that she is taking care of you. I live about 8 hours drive from her, and when I call, he always picks up so I can't have a decent conversation with her without his being there. When he is there, she won't speak honestly. This was also the case when she was at home. She would only call when he left the house. Probably not surprising. My husband thinks that if she wants me to give back the checkbooks/credit cards, that I should, because I should not tell her what she can do or not do with her money. I can't do it! If I do, he will control her funds, and she will not have enough money to sustain her for the rest of her life. She just doesn't know that I am prepared to do anything that it takes to care for her and her finances for as long as I can. This is difficult, but I can't allow him free reign to blow through her money. Dang! This whole thing is a mess.

MountainMoose: Thank you for your response. It does help to have at least one person who is on my side in the family, and I am just going to push forward.

Thank you all again. I am so grateful for your wisdom and your care.

I have nothing of substance to tell you, idaandbill, only that you're on it, you have back-up in your retired-police-officer-brother (no pun intended :-) ). You go! Best wishes!

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