Follow
Share

There are four children. My mother, a widow, is 93 years old and is now living in a care home in California. Years ago, my father and mother set up a Trust with only one child named as the Executor of the Trust. (She is a California attorney.) They named another child as POA for healthcare. (He is a practicing physician in California. ) I am the oldest child and was not named for any position. The other child has a Ph.D and works for the Center for Disease Control (CDC). He and I have not been named for any of these positions. He is not demonstrating much interest in the estate or the care of my mother, as far as I know. However, because of the lack of communication among the children, I am uncertain how much interest he actually is showing. I have shown very much interest in my mother's care and in the estate and how it is being handled. However, the Executor of the Trust (the attorney) is acting privately, but saying she is acting "professionally." From my point of view, she is taking advantage of "being in charge" by telling me "the way things are going to be," without developing my input as a team member and as a family. She recently sent me a letter, pointing out that I do not have the POA for Healthcare, and that therefore, I may now call my mother rarely and that I also may not ask the caregivers or the doctors anything directly pertaining to her personal and medical care. In fact, she states that if I do, I will jeopardize the care of my mother in the home where she is located in California. (I live a great distance from my mother, being outside of California, so I must rely exclusively on the phone, in order to reach her or her caregivers and to be able to enjoy the pleasure of her companionship and conversation.) I am very sad that my mother is near death, and that she is losing her memory. When I call her, I believer I help her understand and grasp her present circumstances better. (She has been moved three times during the past five months, by my brother and sister who hold the POA's, and she has been greatly disoriented following each move. My mother and I have very meaningful, personal, and spiritual conversations, and we did so last week, until my sister (the attorney and Executor of the Trust) wrote to me. (I am a pastor's wife.) I am sad because the two children who have POA's will not share frequently and personably with me about what is going on; nor have they offered to permit me, as a family member, the access to the doctors and caregivers which I have demonstrated that I would like to have. Rather, they have "slapped my hand" for asking the caregiver and hospice company only two questions last week. They unilaterally selected the caregiver, the home, and the hospice company for my mother. Are there any arrangements which might legally and easily be available to me, if I were to ask: 1) my brother who is the doctor, or 2) the Hospice Company, and/or 3) the care home where my mother has recently been relocated? Are there any legal avenues which I may follow, also, to become more educated on the terms of the Trust which my father and mother set up?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
EsPeaSP,
You are being excluded by siblings because of your faith.

This is not to start a religious discussion, just a possibility as I see it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you for your answers. They are firm.

I am saddened about the misunderstanding and loneliness of various members in a family when they are being excluded according to legalities, and yet this considered to be sufficient.

My father, who was a medical doctor in California, sadly took note of the lack of personal interest and warmth by physicians toward their patients which was developing in the 1990's and afterward, compared with what he had endeavored to give his patients.

With that being said, I still want to thank you for taking the time to read my long question and to give me several pertinent warnings about dangers that could come up, should I act in one way or another. The warnings will be heeded.

I also checked with the staff at the home and they assured me they welcome my personal phone calls to my mother--even as frequently as everyday.

A disclaimer about me: because my father and mother were medical doctors, and because my family has a scientific and analytical turn-of-mind, we tend to ask questions like those we heard, growing up. To me this seems normal. However, to medical and caregiving-staff persons, our questions may seem to be the kind which might violate HIPAA laws. I will try to steer away from those types of questions and ask my brother about them, instead.

Thank you for your answer.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The answer is "Yes, unless your mother decides to place you on a HIPAA list, it is too late for you to be included."
You do understand that probate law etc. only comes into play once there is an Estate unless you were the original beneficiary. It sounds like your mother is the Trust beneficiary with you and your siblings being residual beneficiaries - that is, you get what is left when there is an Estate for your mother. That occurs when your mother dies. So you asking for information on the Trust that will be involved with the Estate with you as a beneficiary is not appropriate at this time - in fact, it could be misconstrued as your major interest being the long-term financial benefit to yourself instead of mother's care.
"I also know that the California Probate Code makes provision for beneficiaries to make a reasonable request to the Executor for information about the Terms of the Trust."
Under HIPAA privacy laws, if the facility, caregiver or medical professionals give you any information not expressly authorized by your parent, they can be legally prosecuted and/or have license problems. You put the caregivers and staff in a very bad legal position by continuing to ask questions that you legally don't have a right to know. Unless you are willing to do a big legal fight that will cost a lot of money, may not be resolved in your favor, and create ill will, you need to let it go. Your siblings would get in trouble legally and could be considered to not be following the terms of Power of Attorney or HIPAA if they shared all items with you that your mother did not authorize in advance.
As glad says, the moves may have been related to level of care, an infection or other problem that required changes, or behavioral problems that you don't know about. Any move for elders especially with dementia causes problems. You don't move elders without good reason. It's unfortunate that you don't feel like you are being consulted. The folks that your mother DECIDED were capable of making decisions are making them. Perhaps if you typed a polite list of the questions that you have and the reason - you might get a bullet point list back. Your opinion of the long term effects of your conversation with your mother may be true and they may not. If your mother suffers from dementia, she may later decide that you threatened her. You may leave her upset or confused. I'm sorry that you feel like you are not being included in health care and financial decisions about your parent, but your siblings are following their legal obligations. As you experienced, trying to go around folks when you are told NO has only gotten your access restricted - not what you say you wanted. Maybe it's a power play, maybe not. But you certainly have no legal standing in probate court until your mother dies.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Even though you see yourself as "team member" and on equal footing with siblings, that's not the case. Your mother designated who would handle her estate decisions and who would handle the healthcare decisions. Your sibs are doing what they're supposed to do. I agree that being a kind and supportive person is best you can do right now. You can let them know you're concerned and say that you'd like to be kept more informed but... they may feel that it's best for your mom for things to be kept private for now. And it's my opinion that you should respect that as long as you have no reason to think your mother's well being is in any danger.

Edit:  I cross-posted with you, EsPea.   Your sibling who has healthcare POA... does he give you a reason why there is no info being provided to you at this time?  If your mother's been mostly fine up until a few months ago, and now there have been several moves, it may be that they're just trying to see how she stabilizes at this point.  What were the 2 questions you asked the caregiver and hospice, the 2 questions you feel your sibs didn't appreciate you asking?  That info might help you get some further input from caregivers who have done hands-on caregiving or acted as POA.  
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I appreciate your idea. I definitely do not want to start a legal process. I simply wondered if there are any normal channels available to make a request which I have not heard about. For instance, one of the previous care homes said that there is list on which family members can be placed, with their phone numbers, in order to receive a direct notification by the caregiver at the time of death. I also know that the California Probate Code makes provision for beneficiaries to make a reasonable request to the Executor for information about the Terms of the Trust. Something like this is what I am looking for, in regard to information being shared about medical conditions with other members of the family who might like to receive it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Starting a legal process to get information will only cost you plenty of money and result in much resentment. As your mom's POA's they are required by law to not share the information unless mom has documented otherwise. So, they are acting professionally. I would try to develop a good and supportive relationship with the facility staff. I know you are far away. Send the a pound of candy, a edible arrangement, tell them you appreciate them. It may not help, or it might help.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.