We recently drive from Texas to Alabama to see my wife's grandmother and her son-in-law (my wife's father and aunt have both passed). She is in an assisted living facility, having been diagnosed with dementia and a number of other illnesses. She has struggled, as well, with prescription dependency as long as my wife can remember. Upon arriving, we quickly learned that she was not being cared for by the uncle (her widowered son-in-law) as much as we were led to believe. We began to discuss moving her near us to ensure she is getting proper care, so we determined that my wife should be granted power of attorney. The uncle said he would take care of it. We just learned that instead of my wife being named POA, the uncle was actually named, saying that's what my wife's grandmother wanted. We were told from another source that the grandmother was told the person with POA needs to be nearby. In addition, the will was changed to include the son-in-law as an equal recipient in her estate. We are not sure what our options are now. The entire thing has been done under the guise of him just wanting to help out, though it seems he hasn't really been doing much for her.
Difficult to determine what's in grandmother's best interests, difficult to handle at such a distance, difficult to untangle what exactly has gone on with grandmother's assets, care costs and changes of arrangement regarding the POA and a new will, difficult to assess the benefits and drawbacks of medical intervention without a full history, her notes, and consultation with her doctors.
To be honest...
Does your wife need this?
How old is your wife's uncle? Does HE need this?
Would it be possible to organise a further family conference on Skype or something?
The "we" I mentioned includes the son-in-law, his son, my wife, and her sister; so all three grandchildren and the son-in-law. She moved to Alabama from Tennessee to be near her daughter, who passed from cancer a few years ago, leaving only the son-in-law in Alabama.
I suppose the main issue we have with her care is that she hasn't been taken to what appears to be dozens of doctor's appointments, including a follow-up scan to confirm a cancer diagnosis. The facility she's in has said they are unable to get her to every appointment. The worker we spoke with there whispered a great deal to us indicating her opinion that my wife's uncle has been visiting and helping less and less. It was her opinion that she be moved closer to family that can assist more often.
There were more things that seemed odd when we visited. A storage unit the uncle was going to take us through hadn't been paid in some time, meaning we couldn't enter it. Many of her valuable belongings seem to be missing.
She was very clear when we were there that she does not like where she is and she's talked about moving to Dallas for years. She told us that's what she wanted to do. If a professional determines a flight is not in her best health interests, of course that changes things.
We are just concerned that there seemed to be a plan we thought was best for her and it was completely changed once the uncle and his attorney (who I think may be his nephew) got in the room a few weeks after our visit.
In regards to the will, we aren't entirely sure what it said originally because no one knew where it was when we visited. We do know the uncle wasn't on it at all, but now everything is to be split equally between him and the three grandchildren. The major concern is not so much that my wife receives less, but that it seems strange for the son-in-law to go in with his attorney and award himself more.
We just want what's best for her and we thought everyone, including Grandma, had agreed that would be with us in Dallas.
Moving your wife's grandmother out of her familiar environment is highly undesirable.
He may not visit as much as you think would be ideal, but the lady's nearby son-in-law is likely to be easier for her to remember and relate to than a distant granddaughter.
So all in all, uprooting the lady and moving her close to you does not on the face of it seem like the best idea.
About the POA. You say the grandmother has dementia to the extent that she is too open to influence and not really on top of decisions?
In that case, if that's so, she can't create a POA at all. Not for the uncle, not for your wife either.
But for practical reasons, would your wife actually want to challenge this arrangement? Unless you seriously suspect the uncle of ulterior motives and evil intent, the POA is nothing more than a useful tool for managing the grandmother's affairs - it doesn't help anybody to invalidate it purely for the sake of immaculate ethical practice.
Put grandmother's best interests first. Moving her, bad idea. So what are her needs, and how can they best be met where she is? Then if your wife still has serious concerns, maybe we can suggest ways to pick them off one by one.
Wouldn't that be a sit down with Gma, Uncle and you all to discuss what was best?
I have the same questions as Jeanne; what did you find not to your liking when you visited Gma?
If that is what Grandmother wants, then, yes. "We determined" who should be POA was well-intended, I'm sure. but the principal herself gets to determine who to appoint as POA.
Did you discuss the possibility of moving with GM? What was her reaction?
How did you find out that the will was changed? Did this decrease your wife's share?
When you arrived, what signs of son-in-law's neglect did you observe? What was he not doing that you expected him to do, and that you would do if she were near you? Did you talk to GM about these things? Were they bothersome to her? In assisted living the assistance is supposed to come from the facility. Was it inadequate?
What are your options now? In regard to what?