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LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9965
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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My mom recently went on hospice. A family member who is also

Customer Question

My mom recently went on hospice. A family member who is also hee power of attorney is on a power trip. He will not let other family members help and he is drunk or high most of the time.
He is passing out pain meds and transporting her. We are concerned for her health. He is out of control.
Is there anything we can do to remedy the situation?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 10 months ago.

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

Expert:  LegalGems replied 10 months ago.

I am very sorry to hear of your mother's declining health.

When a health care power of attorney fails to act in the best interests of the principal, the court can step in, upon motion of an interested party, and award another family member (or friend) guardianship of the individual. More information on this is here.

A financial power of attorney has no control over the principal's living arrangement, as they only have authority over finances, so the POA can be reviewed to determine if it does in fact allow authority over living arrangements.

Another option is to contact Adult Protective Services. Theyhave the ability to intervene if there are allegations of senior elder abuse (this can be neglect, emotional, physical or financial abuse). This is a crime, and the individual responsible can be prosecuted.

Section 400.11 of the statute is below:

As used in this section and sections 11a to 11f:

(a) “Abuse” means harm or threatened harm to an adult's health or welfare caused by another person. Abuse includes, but is not limited to, nonaccidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or maltreatment.

(b) “Adult in need of protective services” or “adult” means a vulnerable person not less than 18 years of age who is suspected of being or believed to be abused, neglected, or exploited.

(c) “Exploitation” means an action that involves the misuse of an adult's funds, property, or personal dignity by another person.

(d) “Neglect” means harm to an adult's health or welfare caused by the inability of the adult to respond to a harmful situation or by the conduct of a person who assumes responsibility for a significant aspect of the adult's health or welfare. Neglect includes the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care. A person shall not be considered to be abused, neglected, or in need of emergency or protective services for the sole reason that the person is receiving or relying upon treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, and this act shall not require any medical care or treatment in contravention of the stated or implied objection of that person.

(e) “Protective services” includes, but is not limited to, remedial, social, legal, health, mental health, and referral services provided in response to a report of alleged harm or threatened harm because of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

(f) “Vulnerable” means a condition in which an adult is unable to protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation because of a mental or physical impairment or because of advanced age.

A nurse, social service worker, medical provider, etc are all mandatory reporters so they must report incidents of elder abuse. Please see here.

If the investigation indicates abuse, it will likely be referred for prosecution as that is a criminal offense so the perpetrator may be convicted; states are being more aggressive on intervening in regards ***** ***** abuse. If the family decides to pursue guardianship this non profit may be able to assist. Otherwise here is a link to an attorney referral service.

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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.