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Recent Family Conflicts Advice

    My sister is poa for our parents. When i want to talk to my sister concerning our parents her husband always says something! How do I deal?
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    Jim M. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Time for a sister chat! Take her out for a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or a shopping trip.

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    In a family, there is a son who always calls his mother the C-word in the event that she does not give him money or something else she wants. Is this horrible language, considered to be abuse?
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    Patricia B. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    I would agree that that kind of language would be considered verbal abuse, especially if it upsets Mom to hear it. I do not know if it would rise to the level of legal intervention, however. I would contact elder services to make sure Mom is safe.
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    David S. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    This behavior is clearly emotionally and financially abusive. Seniors are often subject to this type of exploitation. You should seek intervention immediately

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    My 72 year old sister is in a nursing home in Florida. Her medical overseer i her daughter. My sister, though, is being targeted by untrue stories from other family members. This misinformation is affecting her daughter. I am in NC, and my niece, my sister' daughter is going by the advice of home and physicians. Is there a way that I can get better information and be part of the loop here?
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    Howard K. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    The only person or persons that have the legal authority to handle your sister's affairs are person(s) named under a health care advance directive, such as designation of health care surrogate or living will, or for financial affairs, a durable power of attorney. If your sister has not signed these documents, and she still has capacity, then she should sign them now. If not, then a guardian proceeding would be necessary in order for one person to be appointed to manage her affairs and to make legal decisions for her.
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    Cynthia P. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    It is so sad to have these things happen. However, if you choose a Geriatric Care Manager to oversee the care, the GCM can provide input for all and coordinate care and advocate as well as bring family together.

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    My father in law married a woman that will not allow his children to see him. We, his family, would like to see him and help with his care since we have to pay for his services when he passes. What can we do to take my father in law from his second wife, who is not allowing his sons to see him?
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    Jim M. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    You can call the Adult Protective Services office in that county and file a complaint. You could call his doctor, explain the situation and ask the doctor to have his office call your dad and tell him he is due for an appointment. If your father was involved with the church at any time in the past, you could ask the church to do outreach and try to get a sense of his well-being. I would hope that your responsibility for paying for his final arrangements is not the only reason you would like to see him.

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    I am 75 years old and am interested in evicting my daughter's boyfriend. I have no money to file a eviction notice, and all the hollering and breaking things, has made me sick. Now, the violence has me scared of him. You never know what my daughter's boyfriend is going to do or say next!
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    Suzzette S. , Nurse and Care Manager answers:
    To begin, I can imagine how disturbing his behavior must be for you. What is the relationship with you and your daughter and is she aware of the behavior of her boyfriend and particularly how it effects you? Is your daughter there to be a support to you, adding financial and personal assistance or are you the one providing those things to your daughter? I am supposing that you do not have other family members to turn to for advise or help for they might be your first line of defense. In order to eliminate the boyfriend, you may have to be willing to eliminate the daughter as well. He will not go and stay away unless the daughter is in agreement; many times a person can be removed, only to be "allowed" by the girlfriend to return do to "promises of good behavior". 1. Assure you have an ally and agreement in your daughter, a good friend, &/or a neighbor before any action. 2. Develop a plan that includes telling the boyfriend he must leave, having your daughter/or whomever your ally present with you (two are always better than one for the message) 3. Be sure you have notified your police department that you are going to "evict" your unwanted live in, and that you may be calling them for back up. 4. Contact the police for back up if needed. 5. Have the locks on your doors re-keyed by a locksmith the day you plan to tell the boyfriend; have this done when boyfriend is out of the house for a while. 6. Get Daughter or ally to gather up for removal the belongings of boyfriend. (May need to place outside if boyfriend is resistent to leaving.) 7. Be sure to write a short script of what you will say to boyfriend, and practice it ahead of time. Make script "short and sweet". Plan to repeat over and over, do not elaborate. Be sure the ally is with you as you speak with the boyfriend who is leaving. May you be successful!
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    Carole L. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    I'd suggest talking to your daughter about your feelings and plans first. If not, you probably will alienate her, and then you'd have still another problem on your hands. Also, I assume you own the house. other than that, you have no right to evict him anyway. Also, the next time he is loud and rowdy, try calling the police and making a disturbing the peace complaint. Maybe having the police visit a couple of times will be enough to quiet him down. If you really want to evict him, you'll need to call Legal aid of Tarrant County to get free legal help to aid you in your quest to evict him.

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    My son took me into his home about 6 months ago. There is a lot of friction between him and me because of a woman, living with us, with whom he has had a baby. My son has asked me to leave or he will put me in a nursing home.

    I am 73 years old and of sound mind and body. I have applied for public housing but I am on the waiting list which the say it will 2 years to answer my application. What do you reccommend I do? My name is Esther D.
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    Amy G. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Your son may evict you from his home, but he cannot force you into a Nursing Home against your will if you are of sound mind. Openings in Public Assisted Housing can take months, if not longer as you were told. You can contact the Alamo Area Council on Aging for assistance. You may be eligible for Foster Care or care at a Boarding Home.

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    My son says that he hates me. I am 77 years old. He has said that I must leave his house. What should I do? Is he obligated to care for me? Is there a public resource to which I can turn?
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    Stacey E. , answers:
    First things first is to protect yourself from any verbal, emotional or potential physical abuse from your son. You can contact your local Department of Human Services and/or Area Agency on Aging for help. Who owns the house? If him, you may need to start looking for alternate housing such as assisted living. If you, the above agencies need to become involved for your protection. I'd recommend contacting a lawyer also and making sure your desires will be met legally. To be a Devil's Advocate, is your son possibly just burned out, tired and needing a break? The above agencies would also know resources for that. Good luck, be safe.
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    Veronica P. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    I suggest you should Elder abuse hot line for help.

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    My brother lives in Ohio & I live in CA, near my mother. When she dies, who is responsible to take care of & pay for her final arrangements? My brother seems to think I will do this because I live closer to her. I do not want this responsibility put on me. Neither one of us wants to do this.
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    Stacey E. , answers:
    Just because you live closer to your mother doesn't mean you're responsible for her final expenses. Have you spoken to your mother about this? She should have a will, medical and financial powers of attorney and living will if applicable drawn up ASAP if not already done. The will can stipulate that any money in her estate can be used for final expenses and actually pay the person doing the work or caregiving. I can tell you from personal experience it's much easier to have all of this done before she passes as once she dies it's chaotic and stressful, one sibling ends up taking over, paying for more etc. and bad feelings erupt. Some states also have minimal funds for funeral expenses via Medicaid but you'd have to check on laws in her state.
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    Gary L. , answers:
    Her personal representative. That may be her trustee, executor, or agent under durable power of attonrey (very limited authority and power after death; i.e. funeral arrangements only typically)

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    i moved in with my 98 year old mom to help her with driving and chores that she has a hard time doing.

    My 42 year old nephew lives in the backyard. He pays no bills to her. And yet, my 98 year old mom buys his food does his laundry.

    I pay the cable bill, and paid the electric bill. My elderly mother yells at me because the electric bill is to high. But when i turn off ny nephew's T.V. and air conditioner (when hes not home) my mom says nothing to him.

    The unfair treatment of me (the daughter) and favoritism of my nephew is a problem for me. I feel like i should move out and wish good luck mom. How can I get more fair treatment from my mom and also get some more responsibility-taking from my nephew?
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    Lisa M. , answers:
    When family care for loved ones especially the daughters, mothers seem to be extra critical on them. My suggestion is that the nephew and you have a talk and let him know that he needs to cover some of the utility costs or do some chores around the house. If you are treated negatively by your mother it might not stop and it sometimes is best that you don't live with her but rather come by and help her with things instead. Best wishes.

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    My brother, my sister, and I are all equal successor trustees on my mother's trust. My brother is circumventing the agreement, has signed a rental agreement and rented one of the houses without my sister and I signing the agreement, he has decided that he needs to manage the properties (and be paid to do so), regardless of what had been discussed (between he and my sister) and the rent money was paid directly to him, rather than going through a property manager or having the money paid to the trust. He has refused to provide receipts for repairs, and refuses to 1099 his helpers, yet he is demanding money. He talked our mother into adding him as an authorized user on her credit card in order to use it for expenses without having to get money from my sister (she and I are the signors on the checking/savings account for the trust.) Our mother has Alzheimer's and has been on Aricept for several years, and 2 years ago, her gerontologist told her she could no longer live alone due to her condition. The successor trustee agreement went into effect July 2011 (I think). Just prior to that, (but after my mother had been told that her decline was such that she could no longer live alone), my brother was arrested, and asked my mother for $50,000 for bail and legal fees. Last year in July, he got another $20,000 for legal fees. The properties are located in the Monterey area, and the successor trustee agreement was signed there as well. My brother goes back and forth from Marin county to Monterey county, my sister who is the other successor trustee, lives in Texas (but getting ready to move back to California), I am in southern California, and my mother is living with our other sister in Florida (the only sibling not on the agreement). The current trust attorney threatened to drop all 4 of us (3 successor trustees and our mother) as clients if we could not get along, but my brother is really out of hand. What do I need to do in order to have him removed as a rogue trustee or go after him for elder financial abuse?
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    Lauren H. , Financial Planner answers:
    You can search for Ron and other local (California) elderlaw attorneys using the search function on this site.
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    Jacquie D. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    You need to get yourself a good probate attorney familiar with abuse of trust and financial abuse of an elder. Try contacting Ron DeHoff. He's a local Monterey attorney familiar with the type of situation you describe.

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    The assisted living place will not let me see or talk to my mom. The reason is my sister who has POA has decreed this. Do I have any option for seeing my mom? Must the assisted living facility comply? My sister and I do not get along due to her drug problem. She obtained poa when my mother was NOT of sound mind. (she has alzheimer's disease) my mother and I are so close. I wanted to take care of her myself, but my sister has put her in assist living place far away and rarely visits her.
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    Carole L. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    What kind of POA does she have? financial? healthcare? both? You need to know that a POA is sharing the power with someone else, not taking the power from some one else. A POA can be changed as often as desired by the person ( mom) so it could flip back and forth between you and your sister, daily, hourly even. It just depends on who is presenting it to her at the moment. If you really want to stop the shenanigans, hire an eldercare attorney and file for guardianship in the county where she lives. Yes, it takes a few thousand dollars, but if you are serious about it, it's a small price to pay. If you don't want to spend the money to fix it forever, just get mom to tell the assisted living she is permitting you to visit her there. That will work, until your sister finds some other way to keep you out.
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    Stephen L. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    I would ask the facility to allow you to see your mother. I would doubt that they would refuse unless there is a court order prohibiting you form seeing your mother. If you still cannot see your mother, then I would contact Adult Protective Services and express your concerns.

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    My son wants my home for his business and he is trying to find a reason to make me leave. I live in Indiana. What can I do?
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    Nancy S. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    If you own your home and are still functioning independently, your son has no right or legal authority to make you leave your home. His name is not on the title to the property is it? If not, he would have no authority to take your home away from you or to force you to allow him to use your home as his place of business. If you happen to have named him your attorney-in-fact in a General Durable Power of Attorney document, I would go back to the attorney who drafted that document for you and ask him or her to draft a revocation of it. Then sign a new POA to someone you trust who will help protect you in the future from anyone who would try to take your property away from you. Your son's actions do not mean he does not love you or care for you any longer. We have raised a generation of children who tend to be a somewhat more self-centered when it comes to their material needs, so it has to be up to you to protect yourself when your son starts thinking that you no longer need your property (or that he could put it to better use!)

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    My parents had five children. Both have been gone since April of 2011. Our sister was left as living trustee and has not shared the trust contents with any of us. To the best of our knowledge, most of the money has been equally divided and dispersed to us. However, our parents home has not been offered for sale. Instead, our sister has one of her children living in it. We know that our parents included it in the trust to be dissolved. Our sister has told a couple of us that she will sell it when she is ready. Is there anything in a living trust that generally says by when the trust is to be carried out and dissolved?
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    Robin B. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    We have an office policy that we do not respond to a written inquiry like this because it very easy to give the wrong advise. A full and complete discussion is necessary with the client in order to give the correct advise. That being said, if someone is a beneficiary of a trust (the children) then they are entitled to a copy of the trust and a full accounting of the all actions of the trustee (sister). If you would like to set a consultation to discuss you personal situation then please call my office or setting up an appointment.

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    In my family, there are nine heirs for a peice of property. The will states that the land is to be sold at a public or private sale. The will is currently in probate. Can the probate judge make a contract for sale without some of the heirs signing on?
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    Judith W. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    The judge will do everything possible to abide by the terms of the will, regardless of the heirs wishes. The will of the person who made the will (the testator) takes precedence over the will of the heirs regarding property the testator owned at his or her death.

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    My mothers care is being divided between two of my sisters. There are ten of us in total. These two sisters get all of my mother's social security and rent. One sister is her POA. The POA recently said that she can sell mother's house to her daughter, for whatever amount she deems aprpropriate. My mother has short term memory loss but in good physical health. Can my sister do this? Won't she have to get an appraisal?
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    Debbie S. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Though I am not an attorney, I think it is worth the $$ to consult with an elder care attorney, as this may be a misappropriation of the role of POA.
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    Marsha M. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    While your sister who has the POA should get an appraisal she is not required. however she does have a fiduciary responsiblity to your mother and her failure to sell for the fair market value could subject her to an action by your mother or someone on her behalf. YOu would more likely than not need to have a guardianship established for mom or have mom sue her in her own right. You as children have no special rights to Mom's property while she is alive (depending on the state in which you live. so the short answer is yes she can do it but there may be reprocussions from doing so.

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    My sister and I have been fighting about care decisions related to my mother (stay at home or facility) and what to do with moms house (a place where my sister summers). Our conversations over the phone (she lives in Michigan, I live in Wisconsin, and mom in MA) have become increasingly bitter and angry. I am concerned that both the estate and mom's care will in the future, and is already, going to suffer because we cannot see eye to eye.

    A friend recommended undergoing mediation. I assume that mediation will be legally binding in terms of outcome, but am not worried because I think that I am in the right. How do we find a mediator to work with? Must the mediator be an attorney because of the legal issues here? In which location do we find this person (Wisconsin, Massachusetts, or Michigan)? Can we mediate over the phone or by skype?
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    Russell H. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    Mediation is desirable, and often produces a good result. I would be glad to suggest a suitable mediator. This could be done by long distance, but better if you and your sister were in Massachusetts.
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    Linda K. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    Mediation is rarely binding, but is required in some states for some types of family controveries prior to a court hearing. Since there is no litigation pending at this time you can chose a qualified elder law mediator to help your family resolve these issues. I recommend one from Massachusetts because that is where your Mother lives.

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    My family has barred me (76) from communicating with my adult son. They refuse to give me or his father his telephone number. We get no letters and we do not know how he is or anything. I, his mom, do receive a greeting card saying, Happy this or that: 4-5 times a year. The card ONLY says: “Love, Mark and Terri. I want him to allow me to go see him but I do not have any extra money to travel, etc. This is the worst thing that has ever happened in our family. There are lots of ways that one can lose a son; death is only one.
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    Marilyn L. , answers:
    I would suggest reaching out. Try and show a willingness to listen as well as talk. Try and reconnect. Sometimes, I have found, a willingness to reconnect after a challenging situation can sow the seeds of resolution.
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    Jordan R. , answers:
    This sounds like an extremely stressful situation. I can barely imagine the pain that this family split is causing
    It does sound, however, like there might be some room for guarded optimism of this rift healing in time. What sounds hopeful is that he does reach out to you a couple of times a year through a card.

    I have seen in other cases of family strife, that the spouses can be part of the problem. So on the one hand, reaching out to, or sidestepping 'Terri' might be worth considering. If you have a good relationship with her, engage her, and ask for help. If not, try to reach your son through a means of communication that she cannot block.

    On the other hand, you might want to consider whether the problem is not you, but rather your spouse, Mark's father.

    Perhaps you can engage your son and maybe even his wife, Terri. In doing so try to show a willingness to hear what it is that has damaged the relationship, from their perspective, in an open and honest way. If you can do that, and express your wish for connection as poignantly as you have done here, I am sure that your intentions will be heard, and through apology, forgiveness, and listening, a healing can occur.

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    Mom and Dad both have dementia and live in a facility together. Dad is showing signs of failing and we are not sure how to handle my mother. I am mostly sure that she will not remember that he is sick. I am worried that when he is gone, she will keep asking where he is. Should she be there for his hospice care? In the event of a funeral, should she go?
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    Mary S. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Dear Caregiving Adult Children, Your Mom and Dad both have dementia. Your tasks as caregivers likely has challenging days. Good job on what you do to care for them. It is hard for me to give you a response without having met your mother. Usually I like to meet the person and thus I can quickly assess more as to what I would/would not recommend to the family as to involvement of your mother with dementia in the dying process and hospice for your Dad. As a professional care manager, I usually recommend to try to allow the elderly spouse to be involved as much as is appropriate and possible in the life of their spouse and the dying process of that spouse. They live in the same room, so your mother will be seeing her ill spouse, even though she may not process it in the usual way due to her dementia. I find often they have been married for many years and have a history of life together and many shared experiences (both happy and sad ones), and being exposed to what is happening may assist them in the reality of their spouse�s illness and/or death. Although she may not remember the death, with a reminder of some part of the dying process she witnessed she may be aware your Dad is gone, and this may serve to be helpful to her if she asks about him after he is gone. Actually an assessment is the best way for a care manager to be able to make the best recommendations to you. If you would like me to meet you and your parents to further assess your situation and provide recommendations. Sincerely, Mary
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    Arlene S. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    These are really psychological issues and you need to get a geriatric specialist in the emotional health aspects of Mom's situation. From a legal viewpoint, please make sure that if father and mother did name each other as Powers of Attorney, there is a back up party named. It seems neither can really act as POA for the other in an emergency, due to their mental and physical issues.
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    Jordan R. , answers:
    This is quite a dilemma, on the one hand, grieving is a human need and your mom, despite being demented, and an inability to remember, does have a right to attend her husband's funeral. I would advocate for bringing her to the funeral. If, however, you or her physicians feel that her attendance at a loved-one's funeral will cause sufficient distress as to jeopardize her wellbeing and health, even just temporaritly, I would advocate against her attendance. One other thing to consider, of course, is the needs of you and perhaps other siblings and family members. You may find that your mother's attendance, assuming she would not be harmed by participating, helps you, your children, or the family as a whole, grieve, and say goodbye to your father. This sounds like an incredibly challenging situation. Good luck.

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