What legal recourse do I have with my drug abuser/alcoholic brother who has POA for our mother before he manages to go through my mothers money?

3 answers | Last updated: Jan 02, 2011
A fellow caregiver asked...

My brother is a drug abuser/alcoholic. He was living with my mother when she got the diagnosis of dementia. He is currently challenging my having my mother's power of attorney. What legal recourse do I have before he manages to go through my mother's money?

Expert Answers

Liza Hanks is the founder and owner of FamilyWorks Estate Planning, a law firm with offices in Campbell and Los Altos, California, and the author of The Busy Family's Guide to Estate Planning (Nolo, 2007).

If you do have a valid power of attorney, make sure that your brother does not have access to your mother's assets. Remove cash and valuables from the house; make sure the bank accounts are not accessible to him by meeting with bank officials and emphasizing to them that you are the sole designated agent. Make sure that he doesn't have access to her electronic banking passwords or credit cards.

You can also go to court and petition to become your mother's conservator, called an adult guardian in some states. This legal proceeding would make you responsible for your mother's finances and prohibit your brother from using your mother's money.

To find out more about this legal arrangement, contact the local probate court. Courts in many locales have comprehensive self-help centers that would allow you to establish a conservatorship or guardianship on your own.

If your court is less than helpful or you‘d rather not go it alone, contact an attorney in your area who is familiar with conservatorship proceedings—usually one who specializes in elder law or estate planning. Word of mouth is the most foolproof way to find good legal help. But you might also contact the local state bar association for a few names to begin your search.

Community Answers

Lookin4whoo answered...

Just gonna give you some other inexpensive choices...Call your local County or District Attorneys Office they should have a ELDER ASSISTANCE/ABUSE Counselor that you can speak with directly on the phone.

Morn64@sbcglobal.net answered...

I agree with both of the above answers. I would add do this post haste before the brother goes through all of the assests.