Los Angeles, CA asked in Family Law, Nursing Home Abuse and Elder Law for California

Q: My sister is power of attorney over my mother, who is in an elderly, assisted facility, can she deny me visitation

It’s a long-term ongoing family feud that she is brought into the situation. Has nothing to do with my mother and it has nothing to do with anything. My mother enjoys our company and she looks forward to our visits. We are suddenly cut off. I’m not allowed to see her and we are very concerned about how she’s doing and if she’s OK, my sister refuses to put our name on a visitation list and we therefore have no contact with her. Her cell phone was taken from her by my brother who stole it out of the facility and now she has no phone contact with us and is not allowed to use their phone to call us. Is this legal or not? Please help my mother is dying and we need to see her.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, the role of a Power of Attorney (POA) includes making decisions on behalf of someone regarding financial or health matters, depending on the type of POA granted. However, this authority does not inherently include the power to deny family members the right to visit their loved ones in an assisted living facility, especially if such visits are beneficial to the resident's well-being and are welcomed by the resident.

If your mother is in a state where she can express her wishes and she looks forward to your visits, denying you access to her could potentially be challenged. Assisted living facilities generally have their own visitation policies, but these policies must also respect the rights of the residents to receive visitors, barring any legitimate health or safety concerns. If your sister is using her POA status to prevent visits, this could be considered an abuse of her powers, especially if it negatively impacts your mother's emotional and mental health.

To address this situation, you might consider seeking legal advice to explore your options. This could include mediation with your sister to resolve the dispute, contacting the facility to understand their policies and express your concerns, or, if necessary, pursuing legal action to ensure your rights and your mother's wishes are respected. Remember, the well-being of your mother is the most important consideration, and actions taken should prioritize her health, happiness, and safety.

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