For a little over a year, my aunt (my mom’s sister) has been suffering from a malignant brain tumor. She is now in the hospice program and she is still living in her home with her husband. She is no longer coherent and doesn’t understand what is happening around her.
Since she became ill, my family has disagreed with almost everything my uncle has done to care for her. He’s insensitive, neglecting, and he’s taking advantage of the fact that my aunt can no longer question what he’s doing. It seems as though he’s on a power trip and is not looking at her best interest.
We have done our best to keep quiet, maintain peace, and keep the family together, but now that my aunt is nearing death, it’s getting harder to handle. We do not feel that her husband is following her wishes in any way. He’s already planned to have his father, a minister, perform the funeral (my aunt was not religious and truly disliked her father-in-law). He brags about how he figured out how to get into her private savings account ($14,000) without having her signature. He also brags about getting her retirement money. He’s having his Trans Am detailed, selling their furniture, and even created a MySpace. Lately, he’s been talking about putting her in a home…something everybody knows she wouldn’t want. My mother, other aunt, other uncle, and grandfather are willing to take care of her fulltime (one of them sits with her each day while my uncle continues to go to work anyway). The way he is handling the situation is disgusting.
I know he’s technically allowed to make all of these decisions because he’s the spouse (they do not have children), and my aunt did sign a power of attorney a month ago. However, I don’t believe she was coherent when she signed it. She had already started to lose her memory and had been nearly bed ridden for quite some time. I saw the document on their table, and her signature is slanted and shakey and it looks like a child’s.
My first question is what can be done if people believe she wasn’t of sound mind when she signed a power of attorney? Can we go against my uncle to make sure her wishes are carried out? How can my mom (her sister) get more power than the spouse? Is there a way to keep her out of a home, make sure her collections and things stay in the family, and give her a funeral she would have wanted? The illness has been hard enough. She at least deserves to stay in her home and have her final wishes carried out. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.