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Changing alternate DPOA/Health Care Proxy?
Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2018 3:43 PM
Joined: 9/17/2014
Posts: 15

We are continuing to have problems with my husband's only brother, as my husband and I care for his Mom, now in early late stage AD. Brother has not visited, called, sent a card or gift, or spoken with us since getting miffed (his word recently was "annoyed") about being named alternate rather than primary POA and Health Care Proxy over five years ago. Of course, all that was done properly, with her lawyer, a year after we began caring for her, while he was still insisting that no care was needed (but she had received the diagnosis, which was passed on to him, too). His sudden interest in becoming involved in his Mom's life again happens to coincide with her inheriting some money from her brother. [Despite him not communicating, we do send him updates on where she is living, how to call, invite him to attend Care Plan Reviews in person or by phone, etc.]

We set up a plan to meet with him with an Alzheimer's Association care consultant, and one from our local Independence Center, too. However, he is rejecting this, saying the "first steps" to "restarting" are to have a conversation (without the professional helpers) about redefining roles, and we provide him with a detailed health and financial report. This attitude of continuing to ignore her wishes or even discuss anything that might help HER is pretty upsetting, and, honestly, makes us concerned that, were the two of us (myself and my husband) suddenly hit by a bus, she might be vulnerable to being taken advantage of by her own son. Its depressing to even think about, but, five years of not doing so much as sending a Christmas card is a pretty large amount of evidence of not caring about somebody. We are wondering about what the process might be to go to a court and present the estrangement (she has been living in memory care and nursing home facilities, so, impartial others could document his lack of involvement or care) and name somebody else-- possibly even her lawyer-- as alternate POA/health care proxy, just to be safe? Brother-in-law just seems so focused on her money, and so uncaring about her health or well-being; also, he has odd "fringe medicine" views and doesn't really accept AD as real, thinks it is a nutritional imbalance.... Anybody have to do this ever? I do have a call in to her lawyer....

caregiving daughter
Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2018 4:10 PM
Joined: 11/27/2012
Posts: 2008

Never heard of that. Maybe if you were to seek guardianship, then you could re-outline the legal decision-makers, including health and medical. You want to make sure your loved one is cared for. As far as a difficult sibling, just continue to do your best. Given the concerns, it seems appropriate that you have a facilitator involved if you were to sit down. Detailed financials would be appropriate to share. Only caveat would be if he uses the information to cause emotional distress to the parent. Then sharing would be causing harm and you would need to let attorney know that you feel it's problematic to share.
Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2018 4:29 PM
Joined: 9/17/2014
Posts: 15

Yes-- the last time he had financial info, which was, admittedly, more than 5 years ago, he did attempt to browbeat and bully my MIL. We have given general outlines-- a copy of her budget, showing her expenses, letting him know that we have not made any changes in her investments (other than selling the poorer-performing ones to pay bills for her care). He has always had an argumentative relationship with his Mom; we have no interest in continuing to argue on her behalf!
caregiving daughter
Posted: Friday, December 7, 2018 12:12 PM
Joined: 11/27/2012
Posts: 2008

Sounds like you've made sharing core financial information work. So keep doing that, keep your loved-one's well being the priority and keep an eye out for your own mental health by communicating in writing or involving an objective third party. You can't control other people and it does no good to try to figure out their motivations.
Posted: Friday, December 7, 2018 12:45 PM
Joined: 9/7/2017
Posts: 779

1. you need to talk a lawyer about this. We can all speculate but at the end of the day, you'll need legal counsel.  

Honestly, I would probably not engage with the brother at this point.  Why?  To curry his favor, to let him manipulate the situation?  He wants to "redefine" roles?  The roles seem pretty clear.  

2. You may need to just do what you're going to do now, let him deal with it, and let go of the unlikely outcome that you and your husband die before she does.  He's her son, he appointed her - the cards will play like they play.  He may take money, but it's also unlikely he'll leave her out in the street.  She chose this.  She knew who he was. 

3. Can you, as POA, set up a trust that clearly states what the money is to be used for?  This may prevent unfettered access to her money while she is alive and has greater reporting requirements that may protect your mom. 

A detailed financial and health report?  Ugh.  go see you mom, see how she's doing, ask about her medications, anything big going on?  That's a health report.   She has a cash account w  and a retirement account with x.  There you go.  Financial report. 

The idea that you're going to be preparing detailed report because he isn't or hasn't been around is ridiculous.  Want to know something?  Ask. 

King Boo
Posted: Saturday, December 8, 2018 7:01 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 2917

What citydock said.

You are wasting your energy  barking up the wrong tree.  Go see a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) who can position the money in the safest vehicle possible for your MIL (trust, type of account title, etc). That way if your husband were to die there would still be protected guardrail around the money.

Even if MIL were early enough in the disease to re-do a POA< you are rocking a stable boat for an unlikely circumstance.  Trying to execute a new POA could easily result in the BIL being named because he intimidated his Mom, then you guys are OUT of the decision making and control of her care $$.

Don't love the idea of an attorney as a POA, surely you can see the frank conflict of interest there?  Plenty of tales of financial fraud and upbilling, or even for the most pure of heart you are simply a file on the desk amidst a busy business.  And you'll pay plenty for it too.

Arrange for the Certified Elder Law Attorney you hire to hold one - yes ONE family meeting to answer any questions or concerns BIL has.  All attend and you present to BIL as "we understand your concerns and we've hired a CELA to make sure things are done right for Mom".  

Your husband does not have to answer to him for finances but should be happy to answer any questions or offer to show BIL an annual statement if he would like.  

Of course, be aware, BIL is not going to be happy no matter what, but the CELA will set up reasonable guidelines for you

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