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Brothers battle for authority

Question:

I am the eldest of 3 brothers, besides me the youngest is also frum, but the middle brother is not interested in religion, and currently our elderly mother is in very serious condition at a hospital, and because I had been living in Eretz Yisroel at the time of her first operation around 23 years ago, in my absence it was necessary to appoint the youngest brother to be her legal guardian or representative.
Without going into all the many details, my youngest brother is apparently asserting this control that he has by excluding me from all the decisions regarding our mother.
I don’t feel he has the right or justification to do that, and I am not sure if he has any actual legal status to do so, or he is simply taking advantage of the fact that it is very difficult for me to travel daily to the hospital since it is financially beyond my means.
Currently these decisions are very serious matters which are of the category of pekuach nefesh and sakonas nefoshos.
He has no intention of giving up this position of authority or of including me in these or any decisions concerning our mother.
My question is if there is any way to compel him to include me in these decisions, since I am the eldest son, and is there a way to take away the role of legal guardian or representative from him and give it to me.

 

Answer:

Hello,

Hashem should send your mother a refuah shleima.

From what you are describing it sounds like you are in the underdog position here. To change the guardianship will need the consent of your mother, and it doesn’t sound like she is in position to do this. Secondly it might prove very difficult if your brother, who is the person on site, opposes it.

Besides this, if you can’t be at the hospital, seeing the situation first hand, talking to the doctors, and the hospital staff, and being there when the decisions have to be made, you will be taking a position of responsibility when you can’t really fulfill that position properly.

Having an aging parent that is very sick, is very difficult and emotionally nerve wracking, as there can be differences of opinion, and the stakes are high. This leads to very animated heated discussions, and often differences of opinion. To add a fight between the two of you, will not help you accomplish what is needed. Therefore it might be a good idea to consider changing approaches. Try to build trust between your brother and yourself. Let your brother know that you understand that he is the front man over here, and that you are still very concerned over your mother’s health and want to stay informed and want to help out with what is going on. This way over time, hopefully your brother will include you in what is going on, and your opinion might then be accepted.

Hashem should send a refuah and yeshua to your mother and the whole situation.

Best wishes

 

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