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I am in a tough situation and I would like some advice. My mother 88 year old mother lives on her own in her own home in NJ. I currently live out of state, and so does my only sister, she lives in florida, I live in alaska. Our brother who lives about 5 minutes from my mom, is the caretaker because he lives nearby and has taken care of her, when he can. Recently, my mother fell and is now about to be put into assisted living. However, my sister seems to be the one calling all the shots. Even though, she lives in another state and doesn't see my mother except for maybe twice a year. Neither my sister nor my brother have any college, financial, real estate background. I have advanced degrees in business and finance, however, every time, I tell my sister what I think we should do, she either shuts me down, or doesn't bother to listen to what I have to say. I will tell my brother what I think we should do, but right now he can't be bothered with our mom's problems because he is going through a divorce. There is no way I can discuss it openly with my mom because her memory is not well and she is too frail. The only one with any knowledge what to do is myself, but I am ignored and I am always told " you live to far away." Yes, it is true I do live far from NJ. I believe that is an excuse because my sister is coveting her inheritance. I believe and I have proof she already ransacked my moms jewelry and I wouldn't doubt, took my elderly mother to the bank a few times for money for herself. The problem is I have a selfish sister, and a brother that can't be involved any more with his mom, because he is divorcing. I am worried for my mom, as I feel she may be influenced by my sister and I don't know what to do. But, maybe its a little bit of elder abuse. I tried to tell my sister how I feel but she just discounts what I say. My question is: how should I handle my situation? should I just leave it alone and see what happens, or do I call a lawyer? This is a very hard situation and I am at a loss for what to do… I want to make sure my mothers affairs are handled properly and she is not being taken advantage of.

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If you can get together with your siblings on this, hire a geriatric care manager to take the burden off your brother.
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You and your siblings can continue to fight over this, trying to one-up eachother on whose ideas are better but the fact is that you and your sister are both long distance and can't do anything but bicker over what's best for your mom. Neither of you is there to assess the situation and make decisions. The one person who is there, your brother, is too occupied with his divorce to do anything for your mom. I see two options. Either get on your brother about helping out your mom since he's the logical choice because he's close or petition for guardianship. This will cost about $8,000.

If you think the 3 of your can divvy up the tasks that would be the easier, less expensive way to go. One person handles all medical stuff, one person handles all financial stuff, and the 3rd person (your brother) handles day to day stuff. If no one can agree and you think your sister is stealing from your mom (from across the country) then taking it before a judge is the only way to go.
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Look if your mother is going into Assisted Living, there will be nothing left to fight over. And as long as you regard your siblings as uneducated, uninformed and larcenous, they will do their best to keep you out of the picture. So you know of course, your only option is to fly in to NJ from AK and petition for Guardianship. The Judge will appoint an independent third party to sort this out and protect the person and the estate from further damage. Not a pretty option, but about the only practical one.
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I don't wish to insult you but degrees don't always provide the necessary foundation for elder care. Sometimes experience and common sense are just as helpful. Again, I say this not to insult you but rather to provide some perspective. Please don't take my comments personally as it's not my intent to offend you.

You state that you're the "only one with any knowledge what to do". What is your proposal and how does it differ from what your sister and/or brother want?

It seems as though it's difficult physically for either you or your sister to be on-site or close geographically w/o moving and your brother is otherwise pre-occupied. Is there anyone to care for your mother if she returned to her home and is that your desire?

What about rehab? My father is 95 and has fallen twice, went through rehab and is back living in his own home (with help for me, the neighbors and some church folk). Is there any report from the therapists, if she's in a rehab facility, what the likelihood would be if she returned home, or do they recommend AL?

Has anyone given you an indication whether your mother can in fact return to her own home, with home therapy and perhaps some home care assistance, and would your brother help out despite being preoccupied with his divorce?

Do either you, your sister or your brother have any powers of attorney, and if not, under what authority is your brother acting? I think this may be the crux of the issue as to whether or not he has the authority to place her in AL.

I would also be careful about allegations of possible elder abuse or action by your siblings without proof that would meet legal standards. You don't want these alegations to come back and haunt you or make it more difficult for the three of you to hopefully agree on a solution for your mother's placement.
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If it were me, I'd fly from Alaska to NJ to help with the process. Try to help find the best place for your mom. Get her financial affairs set up to take care of her in the future. Sounds like you should be financial POA and maybe your other sister medical POA. Or you could hire a geriatric care manager local to where your mom is to help oversee her care, but it sounds like your siblings wouldn't like that idea. I think you need to show up and participate in person, rather than just by phone. That's just my two cents.
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