If my sisters have power of attorney for our mother, can they insist we give up our keys to her house?
We have four sisters in our family. Ou mother is still living at her home at the age of 93. The two younger sisters have POA and all documents are in their possession. The two eldest daughters, myself included, have never seen nor been given copies of ANY legal documents. We have all four shared the responsibility of caregiving for Mother for a month at a time. We, the two eldest, live l,000 miles away from Mother. This week, because of many circumstances, the least of which is our ages (75 & 73) we let the two younger sisters know we can no longer provide care in Mother's home and suggested finding a facility, possibly closer to our homes where we would see her daily and see that she receives good care. The only response we received from the two younger sisters was for us "to send them all our keys to Mother’s house". 1) Do you think this is right that they demand our keys? 2) Do we have any right to Mother's legal documents? Thank you for any help you can provide. This is all very upsetting to both myself and older sister. P.S. The two younger sisters are 10 years younger than we are so age alone makes a big difference.
There are no easy or legal answers to the problems you describe. They seem to be more about hurt feelings and anger than about specific rights and wrongs. And so it is likely that you all will need at least a brief cooling off period before you all can agree on, or even discuss, the best course of action to take for your mother’s care.
To answer your specific questions: While it may not feel “right” for your siblings to demand the keys back, it simply sounds like their first response to your news that you could no longer be caregivers—along the lines of: “If-you-can’t-do-what-you used-to-do-then-don’t-do-anything-at-all.” You certainly needn’t comply with the request by mailing back the keys you’ve likely had for decades, and distancing yourself from your mother in the bargain. It’s likely that with a bit of perspective, your younger sister will realize that she didn’t truly mean what she urged, anyway.
Second, while it would feel like the more inclusive thing if you and your older sister were given copies of your mother’s power of attorney documents, there is no legal obligation requiring it.
Your best hope for resolving this situation may sound like the most difficult: an honest and open meeting with all four sisters. If it seems as if that is likely to get too heated, you may want to call in an impartial family friend or a family mediator to help lead the discussion. It may help a little to realize that you all want the same thing—the best care for your mother—but you need to work within the constraints of reality. Be prepared to discuss the specific care your mother needs now, its cost, and what each daughter can do to help provide it.
Coming to a compromise would be the best gift you could possibly provide to your mother, who is likely also very upset about the recent disagreements.
I would definitely NOT give up my key to my Mom's house. I have a gut feeling that your sisters are in the "greed period" and don't want anyone to be able to come in.
How could you visit your Mom if you didn't have a key? You can't count on your sisters or anyone else to let you in!
Please, keep your key so that you can:
1. Visit your Mom any time you can 2. Force your sisters (by being able to come and go as you please) to be "accountable" for whatever they are doing or going to do. 3. It will give you "peace of mind" knowing you can come and go to visit your Mom and not being controlled by your sisters!
great answers above.But I have a fight back weapon.When a person is a POA they are FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE person whom they hold the poa over. Therefore you can ask as a party of interest for a full accounting of the monies they spend on her if it is her money.That is what a judge told me.
You can talk with your sister yourselves and find out anything that she wishes to tell you. If you are ever denied access, you can call the police. If your mother says you can come in case closed.
I recently got a POA for my father. I have been his primary caregiver for 2 years. I went to his lawyer to get this done. When I arrived at his office, the lawyer told me that several family members had requested I NOT be given the POA. Well, since I have not rcvd any help, respite relief or communication from them, I was outraged. The lawyer spoke to my father, in private, and then to me. He wrote it up immediately.
I also, contacted a mediator, to help my sisters and other family members understand that my father has dementia, has failing health, and that he needs 24 hour care. This guy was writing up a plan, end of life issues, and talking to my siblings. One week later he quit. My siblings made his job impossible.
I do try and keep an accounting of all expenses, as I know they would potentially try to use that AGAINST ME. I have not sent them a copy of the POA, but probably should. I am just dreading the backlash. THe stress of caring for my Dad is overwhelming at times. As I recv no help from them, no communication to my father either. I update them every week with emails and pictures. I have never had a response. It is disheartening.
I do not like my sisters just dropping in, or walking into the house with out knocking, which they have done many times. I now keep my doors locked at all times. I find it rude and inconsiderate, for them to drop in unannounced. 15 minutes notice, so I can get my dad to the bathroom, so he can freshen up and feel presentable, is not to much to ask. He is a proud man, and deserves consideration. Since they are not around most of the time, they assume he is up and cleaned and ready to go. What they don't realize is that he naps alot, has toiletting issues that require alot of cleanup of him and the bathroom.
One sister came in and I told her he was in bed, she marched into the bedroom, sat him up and told him "good night", and left. Needless to say he was confused, agitated and then disappointed that she did not visit with him.
I only communicate thru emails to most of my siblings, they are so contentious and argumentative to me (but it is MY fault), that I don't care to elevate my stress level by engaing with them, except on a very shallow and brief level.
I am looking to put my Dad in a nursing home soon. He is getting to much for me to handle on my own. I am busy trying to get things in order. Cars, paperwork, accounting. Along with his care and regular household chores is overwhelming.
How sad for the both of you....I wish I had an answer for you both but I dont. I know how you feel....my situation is the same pretty much....I think the first answer you recieved is silly....I doubt your sisters will ever think they are wrong...and a family meeting would take place. Its unfortunate that we read of these situations over and over... tearing famlies apart but yet if you are POA you have all rights and it seems they cant be questioned. Sure you can hire an atty and they can investigate for thousands of dollars but who has money for that!!!! In the mean time the rest of us who do not have POA have to sit back and watch our parents unhappiness and the financal misconduct that goes on. My sister who is POA is the devil in sheeps clothing...unfortunatly, society only looks at the clothing. I can only hope for her sake, her children have not taken tips of how they will care for her from how she cares for my mom.
I'm sorry but it seems to me that the younger siblings are just resentful that the older siblings say "we can't help any more therefore put mom in a facility." Asking for the keys is an expression of anger and frustration, not one of controlling the "money." The fact that you asked for your mother to be closer to you sounds like you feel that your younger siblings are unable to care for her if she were close to them. You tell them you are no longer able to help but then you say let's put her in a facility and oh yeah by the way make it close to us, because obviously we can care for her better if she lives by us...that is the way that I would probably have interpreted your comments, no matter what your intent was, as "oh yeah those older siblings, 1000 miles away, they think they know best."
As the youngest of 5 who has total responsibility for my mother (partially blind and deaf) and all that that entails including POA. My siblings moved away with the sole purpose of not caring for my mother - yes the actually said that several times when we were all younger.... I have many problems and arguments with my siblings, most I take in stride and some drive me nuts, especially when the ones 1000 miles away seem to have all the answers.
This writer doesn't mention what type of relationship the siblings had before this situation occurred, is there a possibility of an open conversation? I didn't see anything in your post to allude that you don't trust them or that you think they are taking advantage of your mother, yet this is the conclusion that many repliers assume. The post doesn't mention how able mom is to get around either ... is she totally incapacitated?( After all "facilities" don't come cheap!)
I would more likely assume that you have hurt their feelings and that you need to express your concerns and ideas TOGETHER, feels better than older siblings vs younger siblings which is sure to make the sides be defensive against each other. Perhaps all of you are getting to a point in your lives where a living facility, if finances allow, might be easier on all of you. It allows all of you to spend quality time with your mom, letting someone else handle the care giving ... and I think the advice of having someone else at a meeting amongst you is a great idea. We siblings tend to play nicer with an outsider present.
I really feel for what you are going through right now. There are three children in my family - I'm the middle child - the "emotional one" as my Mom would say.
My brother (youngest) and I took care of Mom during her cancer treatments and then the last month of her life. We were told 3-4 months but it turned out to be just 18 days!
Both my brother and I had promised Mom in our early 30's that we would be there for her. Her worse fear was being put in a nursing home and we assured her that "it will never happen". We were very proud of ourselves when in our mid to late 40's - we were both there for Mom - we kept our promise! We would compare phone conversations we had with Mom and finally discovered that she was trying to "snowball us" by saying one thing but something totally different to the other. That was when my brother and I realized it was time to get to Mom NOW! My brother would "dance" Mom to wherever she needed to go - he was there for strength, I was there for her dignity. Mom was fully capable of getting up and about but later was weak and dizzy. My brother made sure she would "look at me" when standing her up - that stopped the dizziness.
Mom never lost her sense of humor all the way through the end. All three of us had "situations" and talks that would make us laugh - sometimes my brother or me would hit the floor laughing so hard with tears flowing. Mom couldn't laugh as hard as she used to do - but she kept a smile on her face (even though it got weaker and weaker)!
The oldest sibling "could not be bothered", it "didn't fit in her social calendar", her "babies" (youngest was 15) were sick. It became a "you answer the phone - no you answer it" between my brother and I - if it was the oldest sibling - I just hung up the phone. Oh, and my favorite - when my brother called to tell her "Mom is terminal", her response - "just call me when she gets worse"!!! What is worse than "terminal"?
When our Dad had cancer - the oldest didn't want him to have any treatments - which Mom told her then where to "get off"! She didn't want Dad to have a full military honored funeral - Mom let her have it! She was told to "ride back of the line of cars" when it was time for Dad's funeral. She used an "humanitarian move" with the military to live in the same city as Mom and Dad but not once visited Dad or Mom. Her children (4) were not allowed to see their either one of their Grandparents one more time nor did any of them attend the services.
When she decided (after my Mom asked my brother to call her daily and he would do it there with Mom) she was finally coming to see Mom but she would be by herself - after my brother hung up the phone, Mom stated "I don't even want to see her". Angels came and got our Mother that night.
When the oldest arrived at the house and started yelling at my brother for "not picking her up at the airport and that he owed the cab fare and what do you have to say for yourself" - my brother told her "we were a little busy this morning, Mom passed away and they have just left with Mom - pay your own cab fare" and he closed (not locked) the front door. We both went out back to Mom's patio while the eldest had to bring her own luggage in (I'm sure she isn't accustomed to doing something so "demeaning"). She came out to the patio, I got up and went inside - after all I "ruined her cruise" when Mom had informed her of my 17 year old son's death in an auto accident 6 months before Dad passed! And at Dad's funeral, she had the nerve to tell me to "get my daughter out of the room (where our Dad was before the services) so she could have some time with "her father"". I looked at her and told her, "my daughter will leave when she is good and ready - at least she visited him in the hospital - you will just have to hope there will be some time because after my daughter is my turn, then our brother's turn so I doubt you will get a chance".
All three of us lived out of state during Mom's battle with cancer. It didn't matter to me and my brother - a promise is a promise. When were brought up with the "Golden Rule" - the eldest sibling "never got it".
Twenty months after losing Mom, I unexpectedly and shockingly lost my beloved brother. I truly feel like the "sole survivor of my childhood family". There is no reason to want to even talk with the eldest sibling - she sued my brother (Mom's Executor) because she didn't like what Mom did with her assets! Then she added me to the lawsuit when notified by the Court of a hearing date change because he was having surgery for bladder cancer! What a "loving family member"! As far as my brother and me - she no longer was "family" when she couldn't come see Mom or be "bothered".
I don't think an outsider could have helped us three! At the funeral home when I finally got to read the obit the oldest had composed, it had a grammical error. I said something about it - my brother did the cat "hiss" and told the funeral director that she would have to solve it. When she told the oldest that I was right - her reply, "well it depends on what you think". When asked about the flowers, her response - "we don't do flowers" - my brother promptly dismissed her from the room.
After all our folks did in raising us to be caring individuals with the "Golden Rule" and "when you make a promise - you keep it" - the oldest sibling "never got and never will"!
Sending hugs and hoping maybe another insight to someone else's dealing with siblings that "know it all" but "don't have the time" might help. You do as your "gut" tells you and you do it with love! You will never regret it!
My mother's 90. She is as spry as she was at 80. I'm the youngest of three kids and while mom can be a royal pain, after a couple of Bloody Mary's she ready to dance. Only minimal memory losses, she is phenominal. Can't say she hasn'd had her problems with the daughter-in-laws, but what mother-in-law hasn't?
She asked me to be her MPOA and POA. Her biggest fear is that she will die alone in the corner of some isolated nursing home and no one will find her shriveled body for a week. "They'd have a really hard time fixing me up for the funeral in that case."
My sibs are mad about the MPOA and POA, but she is so lucid that they can't really say anything when Mom backs them out of the room like a pit bull backing the dogs off the back of meat truck.
I gave my sibs a copy of the MPOA and POA at Mom's request and they really got PO'ed when they saw that my husband was POA after me as my second, but, hey, this is what Mom wants. She also wanted me to send the sibs copies of the book "Dying Broke" along with the specific instructions to "Make my last penny last until I take my last breath....but save enough for a creamation....cause I reconsidered looking good at my own funeral and like the idea of "dust to dust and all's well that ends well."
Several things are missing from the question: 1. how did you tell your younger sisters that you and your other sister could no longer care for your mother - in otherwards did you do a quick phone call, was your decision sprung on the other two sisters out of the blue,leave a message or did you have a family sit down meeting?
I believe the best defense in your case is being open, keeping the focus on your mother's needs and trying hard to bring together open communication.
- you didn't mention if the two younger sisters had been involved in care of mom in anyway.
Since your sisters have POA, they are responsible to act in the best interests of your Mom. Also, it means your mother still retains all of her legal rights - she decides who comes to the house, who has to give up keys, etc. It is her life and her decisions. POAs are for those times when someone needs something done but can't be there to do it for themselves. If your mom is mentally unable to make decisions, than guardianship is needed.
Family meeting. Each person brings a list of issues, agree on a 'leader' of the meeting. Keep the meeting on how ALL of you can work together to meet your mom's needs. The meeting must be kept focused on your mom - nothing else. Come to agreements on who will do what and how, also on how things will progress from the current point residentially. I often factiliate family meetings in these types of situations because everyone is emotionally involved and hidden agendas do exist, as well as hurt feelings. Focus on Mom's needs. People can deal with their hurt feelings and such after Mom is gone.
Outline exactly what you and your sister have been doing, what your concerns are, exactly what is your Mom's functioning ability in all daily living skills too. Do not send your keys in. Your Mom should have her own copy of the POA and could show it to you or get a letter from her to take to the attorney who prepared the POA and should have a copy of it on-hand, to get your own copy or to read it.
Work as a team, a family, where all the children do care about Mom but may express it in different ways or even do things we don't like. Try to work together and make agreements and things will work out better than you think.
Wishing you the best, Tonia Boterf The Practical Expert
Have you tried to get copies of the documents that the youngers sisters have in their possession? If they only have the POA - don't worry about it. I would be more concerned about getting a copy of the Will. You could ask your Mom's attorney for a copy - if you know her attorney. Just explain to the attorney that the younger sisters are not being cooperative. You have a right to see the Will and have a copy.
Don't worry about the POA - it causes the younger sisters to be financially obligated. Hurray for you - they probably don't even realize it. "Power Struggle People" think they know it all - they will get a surprise! Especially when they have to be accountable for anything they do with your Mother's assets!
Try and stay calm - visit Mom as often as you can - you'll never regret it! If the younger sisters are there when you are, just ask them politely if you can have "your own personal time with Mom". Don't even give them the satisfaction of how upset you are at what they are doing - it justs "fuels the fire". Have peace of mind that they will be held accountable and may have to pay your Mother's Estate back for moneies spent on something other than your Mother's best interest!!
This is the hardest part to do - you can do it!! The two older sisters just need to keep communications open to help each other - the two younger sisters have their own agenda. Be glad you are not a part of their agenda - sounds a little suspecious to me! Isn't it odd how when our parents are in their final stages of life, creatures come out from family members - creatures that you didn't even know existed! "Power plays, secrets" do strange things to people. I'm so sorry you have to witness it!
Sending prayers and hugs!!!!!
My sisters sort of slipped in to be trustees for my mother. THey have never given any accounting only a summary 2010 and this started in 2006. They as far as I know are NOT POA's but only allow certain people to be involved in her care. I for years took her to Dr if there were problems or emergencies. I recently learned from Mom that they dont want me at appointments because I dont tell them anything. Mom is capable to tell them what is going on. I have written the Dr of any concerns as I have been in the health care field for years. I took her to ER a year ago and figured out that she had been on antibiotics and too many of them since Dec this was January. I was trying to stay out of things and one nite she called she was not doing well so i took her to ER 20 miles away as I was tired of dealling with the medical center here. I got the Dr to look at the antibiotics and got it resolved. She ended up in ER and I met she and my sister down there. I again interjected about the antibiotics and my sister (trustee) said let them do their work. I said they need information so they can. I have been lied about at the facility where she is by my sisters so am banned. I still do what i can (ie Mom had an atty appointment and she cancelled. She was harassed and coerced for 2 weeks before the appt by my sister and sister-in-law to not keep the appt. She had called an atty she had had years before. The one she had was not trust atty and was no help. She followed what the trustees said. The atty she went to see was trust atty.
None of we benificiaries are allowed to see expenses etc. The trustees have my mother believing that they are only ones who can take her to the Dr. She signed a medical release form which i have tried to explain to her it is medical release not who can take her to Dr. Mom has said that maybe i cant take her to dr. I have reminded her that no one has asked me to leave. There are 4 people on this release. I have one Mom signed for me also. I want to try avoiding any extra stress for Mom. Mom does have habit of playing people against each other.
My mother was prevented by going to the appt by a facility staff by saying atty will take advantage of her and being in the room when mom cancelled the appt. My sister, i learned, got the person to help her prevent Mom from going to her appt. Mom says too much also and so starts what she doesnt want a rowe. I highly suggested she not tell them. She didnt want to lie. I went to one of her counseling appts and it came out about the expenses are not verified nor are they transperant. The counselor told her same thing i had not telling them things is not lying and also was concerned about things not being transparent. She also said she can trust but needs to verify expenses.
I was going to take her to her atty appt a few days ago and my sister was there so mom changed her mind. She has expressed that she is afraid of them. I usually tell Mom to talk to her counselor as she says things and then the lies are spun. One Dr appt when I wasn't there my brother told Dr i was mentally ill. I never signed anything about telling about medical, was never asked, have been lied about. I make arrangements to take Mom to appt and get replaced. The atty she saw my sister was there I came to make sure she wouldnt cancel. Atty told mom he wanted one on one. He did speculate that when mom had other atty that my sisters sort of slipped in and took over. This reminds me of the blobb. They keep taking more and more power and as far as we know they are not POA's. ther are 13 kids and my brother and I arelied about. One of my brothers was accused of molesting my niece when he was there for the weekend.I have called Sr and Disabled Protective Services and learned I was reported for what????? She is yelled at constently and the facility does nothibng about it but they pay the bill. I did write the facility owner about the staff member being involved with the cancellation of appt. I am pretty sure the manager is not happy I did that but she hasnt been any help. One time my mother wanted my sister to stop moving furniture and told manager. sister was told no is no. ONe time my other sister took a piece of furniture out of the room gave it to maintenance person he took it. MOm did nt say anything. she did get on my sister about stealing. I believe staff accepting items or has been inappropriate where i worked. I worked in facilities for years. This is crazy. Can benificiaries get trustees removed? thank you
If I were you, somehow I would get a camera installed in your Mom's room without anyone knowing! That would be taking Mom out for a walk, or somewhere else so she doesn't know and accidentally tell someone. Then you would have proof of the abuse going on by family and the facility! Not only will the POA be held responsible, but you would have proof against the facility for not taking any action of the abuse!
There are some companies that would come in, set us the camera(s) and recorder while being dressed as if they were a visitor. They understand why the secrecy is needed! This way, the film speaks for itself on the abuse, how scared your Mother is of whoever, along with the proof of who is doing what to her. You will also need to be able to get in and exchange the tapes unless you can have it monitored by the company.
It may be a little expensive now - but put it in front of a Judge - it would be priceless!! Remember - the one who has the POA is responsible for the expenses and you might even be able to include the expense and be reimbursed - especially if it shows what you are already expressing!! Let it all "fall as it may" and make them all answer for their actions!! You'll have peace of mind in the end that "what goes around, comes around". However, I really feel sorry for your Mom - I'm sure she didn't expect for her children to treat her in this manner!! Imagaine being in her shoes???? It's just amazes me how family members become "creatures" whenever "power plays" are involved!!! You can't feel guilty about not being able to "crack through the wall" that's been put up on you - but you can make them all responsible for their actions. Then you can say, "Mom, I was blocked from helping then, but they are now paying for the abuse they did for you - please understand how hard I tried". You have to get comfortable with yourself - your hands are tied to a certain extent!!
Hugs & Prayers (ask God to guide you - you will know what to do)
Legally, I do not know the answer about the POA. But, from experience, I know this can be exasperating. After my sister-in-law's father and mother died (she was the oldest), her younger sister was named ( the executrix), primarily because she lived closer to the father, my sister was on the east coast (the dad was in Seattle). The executrix decided to have a garage sale to clear out the house, and when my sister-in-law came over the day before the garage sale, she wanted to take any pictures of her dad and her kids. The Executrix said no, people might buy the frames, so, my sister-in-law said fine she would pay for them, but they could not agree on a "fair" price, so the executrix called the police and had my sister-in-law and brother escorted off the property. According to the police, as the executrix she could legally bar them from the property.
Needless to say, things went downhill from there.
There are some frightful stories put forth here and some seem like downright elder abuse. If you are concered for your senior and people just are not getting along, seek legal counsel and/or report financial abuse, neglect, coersion, etc. to your State's Adult or Senior Abuse services.
Always keep the focus on what is best for the senior and what they want. Trying to keep open communication for everyone is difficult and you will have to 'give' often but again, the focus the senior. Pick and choose your battles. Speak thoughtfully and intelligently, don't let emotions in to the picture - keep all language on what the senior wants and needs. Try to find middle ground.
Calling family meetings with an agenda ahead of time is often key to keeping family relations on track for the senior. Keeping it productive means keeping it focused on the senior. You can even hire someone, like myself, an attorney, local mediator and others so that the meeting stays productive and focused.
Thanks for the helpful answers,
I would like to share sample of Power of attorney forms.
Power of Attorney forms[sampleforms.org]
I am not an attorney but my guess is that the rules vary from state to state. I know my sister-in-law ran into a similar problem when her father died. She was oldest of 3 daughters. daughter #2 had power of attorney, and after the father died she was handling the estate so decided to have a garage sale of her parents belongings. When daughter #1 came over to take her mother's cookbooks, an argument ensued about the value of the books Daughter #2 (with the POA) called the police and they escorted Daughter #1 off the property.
My brother gained POA after having my mother declared incompetent (without my knowledge my brother gained POA during my mothers stay at the hospital) by showing records that she was being abused - Elderly Abuse"¦ however the documents were her bank records of an excessive amount of withdrawls over the past year that was coming out of her accounts. My brother stated that my son is the one liable for all the money. However this has not been proven and no charges have been pressed against my son. And there has not been a full investigation to rule out my brother and his wife being at fault for the money missing. The most important fact of this entire situation is that my mother IS NOT incompetent"¦
With 2 siblings involved There are 2 sides to the POA - Medical & Financial If you are appointed the Executor of the Trust and in charge of the POA Financially then you can change the Living Trust so that it benefits you ?? Well what if your brother is already the Executor of the Trust and then gains the entire POA both financially and medically ??? Then what ? How would I find out what type of POA my brother gained ?
To the best of my knowledge they do not have the authority to ask for the keys. They are only responsible for financial and legal matters. However, if they were to ever obtain guardianship over your mother then they may ask for restrictions to anyone they feel that may jeopardize the health and well being of their mother.
Wow. So many messed up families presumably all about greed, control and money! I am sorry this is all happening to all of you but I must say I sure don't feel alone anymore. I hope one day I can vent my story as I am sick of going to therapy because of everyone elses dysfunction.
Am going through the same thing with a family member who has POA. There could be a lot less tension if the POA would just be considerate of the other family members who also have a close relationship with the elderly parent, by just keeping them informed. I had stayed very very close to my parent. Now, I am totally not informed, but I know I had the closeness of a good relationship so I have that memory. My parent is in essence already dead to me as I cannot even feel comfortable visiting them anymore with the division the POA has created. Yes, power seems to be a big factor - and maybe also fear that their role will be taken away by those who were close. But, that is not the issue. What is the issue is that POA's need to realize it is very inconsiderate and selfish to create a division and seperate others from the parent. Very sad. I know I should forgive them, but right now I don't think I'll ever want to talk to them again after the parent passes on. . .
I am going through the same thing,how can the law be so messed up. Its crazy that a family person can be so mean and dont care about anyone but themselfs, the law should change and help people instead of using people for what they have, been fighting this for 3 months and its not right. POA are not always to have cuz it makes alot of trouble for family members to controle everything. so sad and i am sorry for all the ones that have to go though it.