I am POA but my brother has basically taken control of mom's house. What can I do?

4 answers | Last updated: Oct 20, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I am a health care proxy and power of attorney for my family. Recently my mother was hospitalized and since then her needs have changed. She needs a female with her and wants one of her daughters to be that for her. The problem is my adult brother will not leave the premises and has caused many problems with the whole family. He has changed the locks on the doors as well as holding on to personal finance information. I really want to be able to get back into the house, since I am power of attorney, and get my mom's home set up right when she gets home. My sister and her husband are willing to help in taking care of my mom, and I feel it would be a safer environment for her to be in. My brother isn't actually a tenant and I don't feel safe to take care of my mother's needs. We are tired of his scare tactics and need to know what we can do.

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

As the agent for your mother pursuant to her Durable Power of Attorney, you are in a position to exercise control over the real estate on her behalf. I am assuming that your mother owns the home and therefore you are authorized to act on her behalf in regard to this home. You indicated that your brother is not "actually a tenant." Although there may not be a lease, he still may be considered a tenant under an oral tenancy. If he is not a tenant under either an oral agreement or a written lease, he is only a guest and does not have any continuing rights in the home. He certainly does not have the right to change the locks. I suggest that you contact your brother and inform him that as your mother's agent under her Durable Power of Attorney, you are asking him to give her financial information that he has to you and also to vacate the premises for your mother's benefit. You can let him know that if he refuses to do so you will file a criminal violation for trespass. Ultimately, if he continues not to be cooperative you may need to hire a lawyer, but the threat of a criminal complaint may be sufficient to get him to leave.

Community Answers

Miska answered...

I do agree with the answer given, but I would also want to know why the son has taken such an extreme stance? Is he trying to deal with his mother's decreasing health? Was he included in the health decisions for his mother, was he interested? It is unfortunate that when the siblings should be coming together to care for their mother there are so many negative feelings. Threats of legal actions is one way to go however it sounds like a lot of assertive give and take communication needs to occur. Good luck to all parties involved in this most difficult situation.

Sexy52 answered...

Last week I just got rid of the exact situation. My neice have been living in my MOM's home and has been refusing to leavbe or pay rent. So one day I went to the Constables office and started the eviction procedure. I am the P.O.A.THe judge ruled I have all the power over everything from financial to medical Now is she is GONE Thank- God She was trying to bully everybodyI showed her,

Tess0926 answered...

Mine is a bit different but glad I got the POA. Sibling of 3 I was the one who had to take care of both my parents. ANy help from the other 2? Heck no. I than couldn't do it all by myself and got my daughter in there. SHe goes to school and takes care of her grandma. Not perfect at all with a 23 year old but she is a good cook and she is there in case something happens. After dad died the siblings started causing trouble. THIS is before the Durable POA. Brother tried to take me off the joint account with my mom, that didn't work. Tried to take my daughters room, that didn't work. Accused me of stealing and told the other sister who lives in a different State and she too was getting nasty, until she found out that a week ago O got the durable power of attorney. Pretty strong stuff. I got my brother thrown out with the cops. If they show up, and try and coerce or harrass us I will get the police and retraining order if need be. SO yes, you have the legal rights so USE it,