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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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My sister has cut off communication between me & my elderly

Customer Question

My sister has cut off communication between me & my elderly mother, what can I do?

After my sister had my mother for a few weeks, she told me I was not to call her home to speak to my mother and that I would need to purchase a cell phone for my mother if I wanted to speak with her (they're in FL, I'm in NY).

I purchased the cell phone & sent it. After 2 weeks, my sister interuppted the call, telling me that she was boxing up the phone & returning it to me. She promptly hung up the call and turned the phone off. It has since arrived through the mail at my home . . .

What can I do about this?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Does your sister have a legal guardianship over your mother?
Is your mother mentally competent to make her own decisions?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, my sister does not, to my knowledge, have guardianship. My mother fell, when not wearing her life alert, on Christmas day. Ended up in the hospital when discovered 12 hours later. I picked her up upon her release (12/28) and she stayed with me until 1/10/13. I had, previous to her fall, purchased a plane ticket for her to visit my sister in FL for Jan. 10. My husband ended up having to accompany her on the trip.


According to the hospital that released her, she is competent to make her own decisions. However, my siblings decided for her that she could not live alone any longer. I felt, that with some help she could stay in her apartment, which was what she wanted to do. I was over-ruled.


She is on aricept, and does have some memory issues, but I would not call them extraordinary.

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.
Dear JACUSTOMER - The first problem you have is distance. There's little you can do from NY when your Mom is in FL and you have no way to contact her and, I assume, have no POA or guardianship for her. So you have two options. One would be for you to go to FL and apply for a legal guardianship for your Mom since the Florida courts would have the jurisdiction. The other would be to contact the human services department in the county where she is living and voice your concerns that there may be elder abuse and have the county investigate. You shouldn't make any false statements but only that your Mom is being kept from family and that you are concerned for her welfare. Whether or not that would get any reaction from your sister I cannot say but it might scare her enough to open up the communications. A legal guardianship is the best way to get control but I also understand the problem with distance and it can be an expensive proposition.