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Hi, this is Stewart Albertson with Albertson & Davidson.  And I want to talk to you about what your options are when you have one of your siblings isolating either one or both of your parents from you.  They don’t want you around their parents, around your parents.  What do you do in a case like that?

Well, you have two options.  The first option is to file for conservatorship.  And the second option is to do nothing.  And sometimes that second option is the best option to take.  But let’s talk about the first option first.

If you truly believe your parents are in a position where they’re being abused by one of your siblings and that sibling is precluding you and your other siblings from seeing them, filing of a Motion for Conservatorship is a very good tool which will get the court process involved and will also get your parent what we call an independent lawyer to come in and represent them in that conservatorship proceeding.  That’s the good things that came from filing a Conservatorship Petition.

The bad things that can come from it is your parent can be confused by what it is you’re trying to do.  The sibling that is the bad acting sibling in this case may turn your parent against you, suggesting to your parent that you are trying to control their money, you’re trying to control their parent, you’re trying to take their ability to make decisions away.  And if the parent is already confused to some degree with a little bit of dementia or Alzheimer’s, the parent might turn against you.  So, even though you’re trying to do something good by filing for conservatorship, it ends up hurting you because now mom or dad ends up writing you completely out of the trust or will because they believe you’re attacking them, based upon what your bad sibling is telling them.

That’s why you should consider doing nothing with the courts.  If you have any access to your parent at all, you should take that access.  You should continue to see your parent.  You should continue to send cards and notes to your parent.  You should continue to try to communicate with phone calls and document all of this.  But don’t go to your parent and start talking to them about everything that your bad sibling is doing to them.  Don’t go to your parent and start talking about their trust and will.  Where is it?  Because now, you look like you’re a greedy heir even though you aren’t.  You’re just simply trying to protect mom or dad from the bad sibling.

So what I tell people is in a fact and circumstance like this, give mom or dad the bad sunset years or months that they have left on the planet.  Treat them well.  Love them.  Care for them.  Document things for yourself.  And then, when they pass away, you’ll be in a position where you can file something against the wrongdoing sibling and chances are you’re going to be able to hold them accountable for the things they did to harm your mom or dad during their lifetime.

I will say you have to be patient and this is a hard choice to stand by and do nothing when you see this happening.  But it, sometimes, is the better option than filing for a conservatorship which ends up hurting you in the long run.