Sibling dispute. Any advice?


I have a situation with mom regarding her care. I have health care power of attorney for mom as specified in her living trust as well as financial Durable Power of Attorney. My sister has placed mom in an Independent Living facility far away from me without my consent or approval and has coerced mom to remove me from the primary designated agent on mom's Advance Health Care directive in her Living Trust. I believe my sister has also removed me as Mom's financial decision maker and has taken over her bank account and is spending money without consideration for mom's best interest. Mom has dementia and I know that she needs at the very least, trained Assisted Living not independent living with a service coming in to help out. I have attempted to settle differences with my sister by both meeting and resolving our differences face-to-face or by mediation, however she refuses to talk directly to me. My sister is planning on returning to her home in Northern California soon, and I am concerned about mom after my sister leaves. I feel that she needs to be closer to me since I live in Irvine (Orange County, CA) and I need to be in charge of her health care and financial decisions since this was mom's original intent prior to being diagnosed with dementia.

I will proceed forward with seeking the assistance of an attorney, and since this is a special circumstance, does anyone have any recommendations for the type of attorney that I will need? Elder Law, Family attorney or something else? Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

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Megan2014, I am sorry you feel "I am nothing." You are still your mother's child. Nothing will ever change that.
I wonder if your brother felt a need to have the POA since he may be much more involved with your mom, or lives close by. In any event, if your mom is able to make her own decisions, there is nothing wrong with her updating her POA, will, etc.
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Some people, perhaps like your mom get persuaded to change POA's without the other sibling knowing it....This is what happened to me. I was both my mom and my dad's POA, dad passed and my brother brought mom to a lawyer and got her to sign all these papers and now I am nothing....The lawyer went along with all of it because he wanted his money. Sad situation...but Karma will do his job when he needs to..
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Need a response from the original poster I think... lots of background detail missing so we are all guessing....
No detail as to why your sister was able or would want to swoop in 'out of nowhere' and rehome your mum?

Where was mum before?
Was she unhappy?
How closely were your watching her? (not closely enough if your sister had time to do all this?)
What evidence do you have of her mis-spending mum's money? Or is it an unsubstantiated suspicion? (Need to be very careful there... most of us have experienced jealous or absent siblings making those kind of accusations.... not always based on any fact, usually just paranoia about losing rheir inheritance!!)

Maybe just let your sister bear the responsibility for a while? You now get to just visit your mum without the stress, that's a good thing isn't it?
(You don't mention your relationship with your mum? Had you fallen out? Had she complained about you to your sister? It does happen!)

More to this than meets the eye, and we can't help if we don't know the facts.
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Siblings who live far away, and have little contact with their folks, can always use that as an excuse. Doesn't matter whether thr family was dysfunctional or not. It's just easier to only phone, or save your PTO for more desirable locations than your parents or inlaws.
Going no contact, is sort of an excuse. I don't mean to be mean and hurtful. But there are plenty of ways to stay involved, dysfunction makes it an easy way out of fulfilling responsibility.
Even if parents made bad choices, unlese they're in prison for murder, you should sill be involved. Well maybe if they had committed a crime against you or your kids, that might be cause to justify going no contact. But maybe in my faith tradition I have been taught very strongly to honor one's parents, and also we will meet our parents in the hereafter. So I feel a strong duty to stay connected.
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What do you all think about the idea of just accepting that your family is dysfunctional, parents have made bad choices and have to live with the consequences, and just going no contact? How much effort is a child supposed to make to save them from themselves?
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all of you who have posted that it is not possible to change POA after someone has been diagnosed with dementia/Alz is WRONG! My mother changed hers twice and I filed for guardianship and was told that the burden of proof that she was not in her right mind when she signed the last one was on me. Her Dr said with Alz they have good days and bad and my moms lawyer said she was having a good day when she signed the 2nd POA and so did the lawyer who drew up the POA and changed will! The 2 are sticking together and backing each other, I'm sure because they don't want to be held responsible for not checking and making sure she was competent at the time. Getting no where with this, so document, document, document, keep a daily journal!
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I don't understand how someone who has POA could be so out of touch with their elderly person, that another sibling could take them to an attorney and get everything all changed? I mean for my parents ( I am their POA) I am talking with them at least once a day, usually several times, I am very very involved. I know what is on what shelf in their refrigerator. It just grew to be that way, a very strong connection. If any of the siblings or grandkids tried to take them out of thier house and have them sign papers at some strange lawyer office, I don't think they would do it.
Or maybe I am very naive?
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I really don't know what kind of attorney you would need but if you are the POA you need to get a close view of what is going on with mom's money. Its so sad when family members take advantage of their parents, when their sick with demetia and can't remember its sad and it happens more and more. I hope you can find someone and take care of your mom because if your sister spends all the money, then if something happens to mom its all may end up in your lap which isn't fair. praying for you.
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Adult protective services, certainly, IF Mom is Not being properly cared for.
But not just because a sibling usurped your POA/control of Mom's situation.

It's common to 1st try to get an elder into a facility via the "Assisted Living", then move them to the nursing home portion once a room opens up.
BUT some facilities incorrectly place elders who are too far into dementia, into Assisted Living, just to get the money. They may not have a room in the higher-care unit, or, there's a waiting list, and entering via Assisted Living is the only way to get the elder in the door.

Elder "Ombudsman" is a State office that monitors how elders in facilities are cared for. IF they are improperly placed, and/or, not getting properly cared for, report to the Ombudsman's office, so they can investigate.

"Area Agency on Aging" has offices in about every County in the USA.
They can help you with a free lawyer to consult about this--you must make an appointment, and it's only a half-hour...if this case is going to go anywhere, though, you will need more legal help than that session can offer--they will refer you. This agency helps seniors with many aging issues, from bits of free legal advice, to in-home help contacts and many others.

If you and/or Mom are below income, or borderline, you might check with your "State Attorney General" office for your State, to see if they have a Legal Aid project. In WA, for instance, they have the NW Legal Project, and people can do a screening online to see if they qualify, and it leads the applicant through income qualifiers as well as legal situations to seek help for. One of the categories includes Elder law.

Relatives can totally muck things up sometimes!
About Mom being "of sound mind", becomes a moving target, unless there is actually a Doctor's statement that Mom was diagnosed as mentally incompetent as of a certain date, which predates your sister's new POA for herself.

If Mom was not diagnosed incompetent, and Sister got her to appoint her the new POA to handle her care and money, you are screwed out of that position....Unless and until you can prove she has caused losses to your Mom, or neglect or harm; then it requires tangled legal maneuvers, to get Sister judged as inappropriate for Mom's well-being and care, and get the control restored to you.....OR, the judge could drop all relatives from any control, and put Mom's care and well-being into the hands of a "disinterested 3rd party" as her guardian, who would be paid for that service from your Mom's funds [if she has any left].

It can be very difficult to remove control of an elder's estate from someone who took it away from you, depending on How Many legal things they have executed:
One Gma had her entire estate set up exactly how she wanted it, while she was in very sound mind.
Her brother-in-law hated how she'd set up her estate, wanted it for him and his wife ["Gma's sister, who didn't really care].
That BIL led Gma by the hand once she was feeble-minded, very ill with chronic disease, and took her to a new [crooked] lawyer, and the lawyer's son, also a lawyer, and totally changed everything.
Mind, this BIL was himself dying of cancer, and saw little if any of it! The new lawyer set this BIL up as POA and Executor, AND executed a new will, essentially giving Dad pittance from Gma's rather large estate, tiny token kiss-offs to 4 grandkids, and topped it off by including a threatening codicil stating that if anyone even whispered a question about this new will, no one would get anything [except the BIL], and the larger portion of the estate would go to the Boy Scouts
[Gma never would have done anything like that--she'd wanted Dad to have her home, her furnishings, and made sure he had a nice stipend to live off of]. Instead BIL made sure the entirety of her belongings got auctioned off, the house sold, all to line his pockets. When the end-date of Dad's stipend ran out, the bulk of what was left...went to the Boy Scouts, leaving Dad and Mom barely getting by.
There are far worse stories around, even, than that.

It was not realistic for Dad to contest the will. He died, leaving Mom to deal with it. It took decades to get the CA State Bar Assoc. to examine that lawyer and his son, who took over all the "plum" estates he'd set up to handle [for a nice profit], and divest the surviving son, who'd been badly handling all those estates.
Mom ended up getting installed as Executrix of Gm's estate, but it was too late to do anything but manage it as-is. Only, as Executrix, she got a bit of a stipend for doing the handling.
====KEY: she was only able to do that, when she could prove several years worth of that lawyer failing to handle the IRS and CA State tax aspects of the estate.
But it didn't change the new will at all...that damage had been done and tied up in knots. So to keep the mingy stipend coming until it's end-date, Mom had to handle the new will as-is, or lose her tiny stipend to the Boy Scouts.

You have to decide how badly you want to get things changed.
Are you willing to turn over control of Mom's estate to a 3rd party Executor ordered by the Court?
Are you willing to relinquish any/all contact with your sibling[s]? [because this sounds like war!]
If your sibling got codicils written into paperwork like that BIL got into my Gma's, are you willing to rock that boat, lose it all anyway, just to get your sibling out of the control seat?
Only you can decide, based on what you are able to learn about what your sibling has done.
It's very hard, can be very painful; the consequences can be some you never dreamed could ever happen.
It's so sad that people devolve into this kind of behaviors. I hope this all gets straightened out properly!
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Ratherbefishing, my mom is doing the same thing! My brother is yet to fully understand the problem. She plays us both like a violin but I have figured her out. He hasn't because she plays to his ego. I am,so disgusted with my mom and my brother is not far behind.
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