How do we deal with my brother who has taken over our mother's life and finances, convincing her we don't care anymore?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Ron asked...

My younger brother has taken over the "life" and finances of our 89-year-old mother without sharing information with his two other brothers. My mother is still quite healthy but losing her memory (especially short term memory). He has convinced her that his two brothers do not care about her anymore. We believe the only way to resolve this is through a legal route. Can anyone recommend a lawyer or a course of action?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Sadly, you may be right.

But first, it may be worthwhile for the two brothers who feel they’re being shut out to pay a joint visit to mom, not to attempt to convince her that their brother is a meddlesome troublemaker, but to show her they are genuinely concerned and care about her future. Reinforcing this with the brother may also make him less aggressive. He may actually be feeling overwhelmed and welcome the help.

It is usually best to think of court as the very last resort for resolving family squabbles, especially one over something as important as your mother’s life and livelihood.

But the highest concern must be your mother’s safety and well-being. Your best route to ensuring your mother receives the best care may be to take legal action to direct and secure her caretakers. If she is mentally able to give her consent, consider a durable power of attorney for finances. If she is not mentally able to give this consent, you might consider the more drastic step of securing a legal guardianship or conservatorship for her.

If you do opt to hire a lawyer for help, make sure it is one who has experience in elder law.