Q: There is a greedy trustee in charge of my mother’s finances who wants to sell all my mother’s properties. The trust states that I can live rent free at one specific property for as long as I wish as my mother wants me to retire in this home. My father built it and I grew up in it. My mother also wants to move in with me since she has dementia and can’t take care of herself. Also, the in-home care she has at her late husband’s house is costing a fortune and will deplete all her assets. The trustee fights me on getting rid of the expensive in-home care. Don’t I have a right to look out for my mother’s best interests and wishes as her daughter and POA of healthcare? The trustee acts like a dictator and expects us to do but why can’t we do what we know is the best thing for us as a family in spite of the trustee using intimidation to get her own way? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: You need someone with an unbiased and objective point of view to look at the entire situation. I would make an appointment with an estate attorney experienced with trusts and guardianship law in to have the POA and the trust agreement reviewed. In addition, the attorney needs to be apprised of all the facts. If what you say is correct, it may be possible under the language of the trust agreement for your mother to fire the Trustee and have another one appointed. If your mother is not competent, this can be done by an Agent under a POA if the language of the POA permits an Agent to do so. However, as you describe this as a medical POA, it is doubtful that it contains such language. In that is the case, you may need to be appointed as her Guardian. Again, you need a legal consultation.