Power of Attorney

My brother currently has Durable POA of my mother. We live in Michigan. He has my mother’s health and estate in a shambles. Her health is severly compromised, so much so I don’t know how much time she has left. He is after her estate when we have a lady bird deed and Will that states it goes to all 4 of her children. We go to court over real estate on 10/16/2017. He has petitioned the courts to purchase all of her estate. So our immediate, is my mother’s health. He has taken and follow up at times appointments. My concern now is her very compromised health. He has brought her to the ER and the follow up appointment. He did not inform us of this. They believe that she has infection through her whole body, and the heat is terrible in Michigan right now. He has no air conditioning, and plastic on the windows the last time I was over there. He will not let me come over now. He is supposed to get 5 stool samples, and has not done so. How do we proceed further? I’m scared for my mother’s well being.

Asked on September 25, 2017 under Estate Planning, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether your mother is mentally competent at this time or not. If she is mentally competent, there is nothing you can do if she is content with this situation: 1) a POA does not override the control or authority the person who made it has over their own life (assuming they are still competent), so your mother can do, can live, can go, etc. wherever she wants; and 2) the law allows mentally competent adults to do things that are unwise or bad for them--it is their life, and their choice.
If you believe--and there is medical evidence (e.g. doctor diagnoses) to support--that your mother is not mentally competent, it may be possible to have a guardian appointed for her, which guardian could then do what is right for her and possibly terminate the POA. This would require a showing in court of both that she is incompetent and that your brother is not acting in her interest. This can be a difficult thing to show, and the case can be procedurally complex (and, as stated, you need medical evidence, too). It would be very difficult to pursue without an attorney (particularly an elder law attorney) *and* you would need to pay doctors for their testimony and any reports they have to write. This may not be something you are in a position to undertake.

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