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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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My dad developed a blood clot in his liver in May and was sent

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My dad developed a blood clot in his liver in May and was sent to a nursing home to recover. He started bleeding in his abdomen from the blood thinner shots they were giving him, had to have major surgery and almost died. He was sent back to the nursing home to recuperate, was released in July, and has been home since.

While he was in the nursing home, my dad gave me Durable P.O.A., because my mom has been abusive to him for years, and has only gotten worse since he became ill. There are so many examples of crazy and abusive behavior my mom has inflicted on my dad, but just to give you an idea:

When we went to visit my dad in the hospital after his surgery, my mom told them to pull the plug on him, because “that’s what he would have wanted.” The horrified nurse practitioner had to explain that DNR didn’t mean not resuscitating for *any* reason, just if there was no chance of recovery, as my dad had told the doctors right before his surgery. They said he would be on the ventilator for a few days more and should start to recover, but a couple of days later my mom called me, saying she wanted to have them pull the plug on him again.

When my dad was back in the nursing home, he told us they were giving him blood thinner shots in the abdomen again – which is what almost killed him. I asked my mom to talk to the doctor there, but she said she didn’t care if my dad died, and if I cared so much, I should do it. My mom and I stopped talking after that, and I made sure they were giving him the right treatment.

My mom got my dad, while he was still in his hospital bed recovering from surgery and under anesthesia, to sign a form making her his healthcare proxy. I told my dad about my mom trying to pull the plug on him, and he made me his health care proxy, instead.
My mom told my dad she was going to go to court to try to keep him in the nursing home “until the day you die."

Shortly before the nursing home did release my dad, my mom went into his apt. and threw out all of the food in his refrigerator, so he would have none when he came home.
The day after my dad got home, he accidentally took two of his BP meds and ended up in the emergency room again. My mom came and – right in front of the nurses – yelled at him “I wish you would just die, Bruce!”

My dad told me that when he was riding w/ my mom not too long before his illness, that he told her that his $5000 life insurance policy would be worth $50,000 if he died an accidental death, and that she almost drove off the road when she heard that.
I talked w/ the life insurance co. and my dad, and we decided to change the primary beneficiary to the funeral home my family uses, so that would already be taken care of, and to change the secondary beneficiaries to myself and my sister, 50/50. My mom reads my dad’s mail and freaked out when she found out I had P.O.A. for my dad and was talking to his life insurance co. She was in the background telling him what to say, then got on the phone, and said to me “Go kill yourself, loser!”

I filed an Elder Abuse Complaint against my mom, and an investigator from a local senior services facility came to my dad’s apt. and interviewed him. She is supposed to also interview my mom, me, and the Social Services Director at the nursing home my dad stayed at, because she witnessed some of my mom’s abusive behavior toward him, but has not yet. Unfortunately, I have not been able to convince my dad to sever ties w/ my mom, or at least not let her come over and look at his mail and meddle in his affairs. My dad suffers from schizophrenia. He has always been very timid and passive and unable to advocate for himself, and has a very poor memory, and is easily manipulated, all of which has only gotten worse since he became ill, and all of which my mom has taken full advantage of. My dad told me she has now gotten her own P.O.A. forms and is taking him out to lunch on Fri. to sign them. I have told my dad to NOT SIGN THEM. My dad said he won’t, but I know my mom will probably intimidate him into signing w/ one of her fits of rage. I know that a new P.O.A. supersedes all previous ones, so she will be his new attorney-in-fact. The thought is horrifying.

So what are my legal options here? Is there a way I can prevent this from happening, short of my dad not actually signing it? How can I challenge my mom’s P.O.A. if he does sign it? If I convince him to change it back to me, I am sure my mom will try to make him change it back to her, and it will go on like that. Is there a way, since there is now a documented Elder Abuse Complaint against her, and I have reputable witnesses to back up how abusive she has been to him, that I can go to court and have her barred from trying to be his attorney in fact, and from meddling in his financial and other legal affairs? What are some of the other options I have to keep my mom from having POA over my dad?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

To stop her from continuing to do this, you need to go to court and file a petition for guardianship/conservatorship for your father. It would be helpful if he signed agreeing to the court ordered guardianship, but if he does not, then you would have to use his mental health disorders and his medical issues and medical testimony in court to have the court determine he is not capable right now of managing his own affairs. Once you obtain guardianship/conservatorship over him, then no matter what mom does she cannot get him to sign anything because that power would be removed from your father and placed in you as guardian/conservator over him.

Unfortunately, if she keeps this up, that is what you have to do and once you get it, because of her comments about wanting him to die, you could also get an order of protection against her to keep her away from your father if you choose to do so.

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