Q: Both my father and stepmother were admitted into the hospital 2/5/2017. His blood/sugar level was at 900, he was diagnosed with vascular dementia and gets more confused every day. His wife has had Parkinson’s for 20 years, which has recently been getting worse. They’re about 80 years old. My stepmother is supposed to make all the decisions regarding my father’s health and finances, but she’s deferring most of those decisions to her son. My family wants my sister to have joint power of attorney with my stepbrother regarding my father’s health and finances and regarding any joint assets belonging to my dad and stepmother. My stepbrother says that’s fine with him, but has yet to do it. Instead he’s closed my father’s checking and savings accounts, is putting their house on the market and will not disclose any financial information. We’re afraid she’s planning to divorce our father and leave him broke in a substandard nursing home. My sister and I don’t live in the same city as our father. They live in Pittsburgh. My sister lives in Erie, I live in California and the stepbrother lives just north of Pittsburgh. What rights do we have in this situation to protect our father? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: That is a tough situation. You need to do some investigating quickly. You can call Adult Protective Services to assess him. Your sister may benefit greatly from consulting with an elder law attorney in Pittsburgh. It may be advisable to have her appointed Guardian of your father by the Orphan’s Court.