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My parents are declining in health and mental status. They have 4 children. I live 300 miles away. The other siblings live close by. The oldest sibling is purposefully excluding the other children from helping with care, keeping us in the dark about their condition and treatment, and even exclaiming that our parent's health is none of our business. He also continually manipulates and instills fear into our parents, by convincing them that my other siblings are untrustworthy (which is unwarrrented).
After a year of him being in charge of my parent's care, it has become evident that he is not making decisions in their best interest due to denial, emotional immaturity, and possibly financial motivation (his name is on one of my mother's bank accounts, and he is currently unemployed).
He cancels important appointments and gives many doctors unnecessary grief, which affects their care. They are living in a home that they cannot manage and that is filthy. Their personal hygiene is being neglected as well.
Today I found out (from their lawyer) that I am on their HIPAA and I am also listed as an equal health proxy and power of attorney with this difficult sibling (who led me to believe I was simply an alternate). My other siblings are asking me to intervene and start taking action. I don't know where to begin. I do not want a legal battle with my brother. I would like to work with him and everyone in my parent's best interest.
Although they are not deemed mentally incompetent, they essentially are and cannot process or deal with this situation (even after attempts to bring it to their attention).
Where do I even begin?

if I were in your shoes, I would go talk to the lawyer in person and find out what your legal rights are and are not. After you have a clear grasp on that, I would make an appointment with their primary care doctors and tell them you would like to sit down with them and see what their medical condition is. They MAY have already received a dementia and or MCD diagnosis and/or have other issues your brother is keeping from you. It could be they are in denial and so is your brother. Let the doctor know your concerns about their health and well being-about the filth and potential for disease because of it. See if the doctor can do anything to help. I would then request a meeting of all 4 siblings with the attorney. Spell out for your brother with the attorney’s support what you believe needs to happen and what all 4 siblings will be doing working together for their well being. If he is manipulating their finances for his advantage, he needs to be called on it and possibly removed as a guardian. You may be able to tell him that is a crime, and either he willingly relinquishes the role, or you all will press charges. Elder fraud is a serious charge. Theft is too. There needs to be a system of checks and balances. We have it set up so my brother in law who lives out of state pays the bills and takes care of finances. For big decisions the brother discuss it, come to agreement and present a united front. You will also need to meet with your parents and he will either need to come clean about his misrepresentation of the siblings, or remove himself. he can always “save face” by telling them that “he misunderstood”.
Above all, don’t be intimidated by the fear of him being upset. Who cares if he is upset. The big issue is taking care of your parents. Don’t have any of these “discussions/confrontations” in their presence if possible.
Good luck!
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Reply to DILKimba
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Kat28480 Jul 12, 2019
This is an amazing plan. Thank you so much! ♡
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Unfortunately, your only REAL option is determining the VERY BEST CARE for your parents and fighting like a tiger to get it, including keeping THEM and their their assets protected and safe.

If your situation is similar to mine, the relation with your brother won’t and CANNOT be salvaged.

You must get get in touch with their lawyer as soon as you can, and you must establish where the controls lie regarding LEGAL determinations and your defined responsibilities and limitations within your POA and brother’s.

Focus 100% on you parents’ needs and rights. Brother has already established his lack of focus in that area.

Sorry to be so abrupt, but trust me, I know.
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cherokeegrrl54 Jul 14, 2019
Focus should b the parents....brother has definitely made a mess. I hope she will take control and advocate for her parents and her brother can deal with his choices he has made in not providing proper care...
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Definitely report to APS about the finances, neglect and isolation. They may not intervene at this point because your parents are competent, but it's time to start a paper trail.

And this is exactly why giving 2 people equal say on a POA is a very bad idea, but too late for that now.
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Laurellel Jul 13, 2019
Yes, it is a terrible idea!
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Sadly, you will probably have to 'go legal' on brother.

I have pretty much the same thing going on in my family. Mother lives with YB and he acts more as a jailer than a CG. He has consistently refused any outside help, even family, in fact, esp family. He has something wrong with him, mentally, and you cannot reason with him.

I didn't have any support from the other 3 sibs, to move mom to a better situation of just get her 2-3 day a week PT care. W/O that support nothing can happen.

Last time I 'really' spoke to YB was 2-1/2 years ago and we were trying to have a civilized family meeting. He just LOST IT. Screamed and screamed at ME...and all I was trying to do was get a baseline on mom, how she was, what she needed, what we could do to help him.

For some reason he felt attacked and fought back---it was horrible. My sibs are huge 'Dr. No-shots' and don't stir the pot--heck they don't come in the kitchen! Not one of them stood up for me in any way. Broke my heart.

I have zero legal involvement. My other brother is co-POA, but since he is a total pansy--he never steps in/up to anything.

Dont know why he has chosen this martyr routine, but it's working for him. W/O outside involvement, nothing will change. A visit from APS (not called by me, but I got the heat) didn't change anything. Just more anger.

Mom deserves better. Sadly, she will never get 'better' care. Brother will not allow it and I am too tired to try to legally do anything.
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Jada824 Jul 13, 2019
I guess there’s one in every family. They are control freaks!
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I had a similar situation with dad's second wife. Your sibling has already shown he doesn't want to work with you - he wants you to go away so he can do whatever it is he has planned without interference. And without sharing anything which may be left. In my situation, my step mother caused trouble with my father's doctors to delay & prevent his treatment so he would die, and she would get money from his estate. She almost succeeded. It was a tough fight because like you, my father wasn't with it enough to make good choices, but wasn't deemed incompetent. If you can get them seen by a specialist and either get yourself appointed their guardian, or even a court appointed guardian, the situation will be better for your parents and yourself. It also helps (since you are a medical POA) to go visit your parents doctors and discuss the situation, and your concern about A) parents state of mind and B) that your brother is trying to make it difficult for them to receive proper care. A good elder care attorney can help in some cases. You have the power of the POA. A lawyer explained it to me this way - that POA means you "Stand in your father's shoes" - you are to do what is best for him, what he would do if he were capable! Get involved in the care of your parents, and don't let him bully you out of doing it. He really can't stop you. If he makes too much of a fuss, tell him you're going to take it to court (even if you probably won't) - put the fear of the law in him. And document, document, document every rotten thing he does & how this is hurting your parents. Ask your parents doctors to document what you're observing & put it in their medical records. If you care about your parents - Fight!
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Judysai422 Jul 16, 2019
And, talk to your parent's lawyer about getting him OFF YOUR PARENTS' Bank account.
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So Kat, if your brother has said to you, yourself, that your parents' welfare is "none of your business," and you have mildly pointed out to him that actually you have joint POA responsibility and therefore it very much is your business - in fact, it's your obligation - what is his remaining objection to sharing information with you?

I still think you're going to have to get down there. But your brother (I mistyped that as "bother" - Freudian typo?!) has got frazzled, and it would be best to reboot and start from scratch than go in having come to prejudged conclusions that he's necessarily got misdeeds to hide. He may have, but he also may not; and either way you *still* have to figure out what's best to do next. That won't be any easier if he rocketing around in a temper being defensive.
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Go see and elder lawyer and ask them to explain the options open to you. It sounds unlikely that you will be able to work with your brother but being armed with all the information on your "rights", responsibilities and options may make a conversation with him easier to keep to reality and fact. Hopefully you will find a way through working together but you may have to look at whether you can take over from him because he is failing in his responsibilities - so hard when siblings have very different views or abilities.
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AlvaDeer Jul 12, 2019
I so agree with TaylorUK. This is going to take an attorney to explain your options. You are welcome to start out with speaking to your brother and gently laying out your concerns, but the problem you have here is that your parents have not asked for intervention from you and you have described them as having no dementia. This makes the way they are currently living "their choice", something that cannot be removed from them by any POA and certainly not one in contact with a co-power. That is almost always an impossible situation. You could bring in adult protective services to assess the situation, but I cannot otherwise see anything you can do, and how other siblings can expect you to intervene when you are the one not living there, I can't imagine. You are apparently getting only their assessment of the situation. I wish you good luck, but I am not seeing clearly how you could conceivably intervene.
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I had a similar problem. For years, I could only watch from the sidelines while my brother physically, financially and mentally depleted our mother. He had her sign her house over to him and then kicked her out of it. She moved into a roach-infested mobile home on the property. She still paid all his bills. Finally, as she physically declined, she allowed me to become her POA. I instituted immediate changes - cleaned up her living situation, cut brother off financially and helped her get the medical care she needed. Eventually, when 24 hour care was needed, she moved into a very nice assisted living facility.
If you parents are mentally cognizant, have then re-sign documents making you the sole power of attorney and, either you or someone else, executor of their will. You can pull these forms off the internet, if you want. Also, you can immediately take them to the bank and have them take brother off their account and add you. You can now begin cleaning up the mess.
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Shell38314 Jul 14, 2019
That is terrible katiekat2009 about your mom.

It is hard to have to sit on the sidelines and watch you mom or dad be financially used/abuse and there is nothing you can do, but wait and pray for the right moment to step in. Sigh!
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Kat, what discussions have you yourself had with your brother, directly?
When did you last go and visit your parents?

Your description of how your brother is purposefully excluding the other two siblings, exclaimed that your parents' health is none of their business and so on - these are reports that have reached you from the siblings, are they? They're not anything that your brother has tried to pull on you?

Your parents' health is very much your business. Your brother cannot exclude you from information and decision-making: your parents took care of that by appointing you jointly with him.

This is a crossroads for you. You either resign your joint POA, or you get involved.

If you decide to get involved, then you begin with a field trip. Would you be able to go and stay with your parents or nearby for any length of time?
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Kat28480 Jul 16, 2019
I was just down there last week. I could stay with them for a spell if needed. These are conversations I have had with him directly.
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My sister-in-law’s brother did the same thing with their mother because he was spending all her money. You should go there as soon as possible and take photos of the house and record your conversations. Since you also have power of attorney, you can ask to see all the financial records. If you see he is abusing them financially, you will need to hire a lawyer soon.
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