my moms money

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Is my sister allowed to use my moms money in the bank to take care of her if she's already using all her S.S check every month? And how much is legal for her to use of the check every month.


I'm wondering why you are asking us, and not your sister? Is she using Mom's money to care for your mother's legitimate needs? Why should your mother not cover all of her own expenses? S.S. doesn't always amount to big income. Have you asked your sister for an accounting of how the money is being spent? That would be my first course of action. And she has an obligation to S.S. to annually submit a report for how Mom's money has been used. Are you helping with some of the Caregiving? Perhaps a little more understanding of your Mom's explicit needs will answer this question for you. By all means, if a parent has money in the bank, and has additional expenses, it should be used for her care. Unless, you had other plans for it??? What does your Mom say?
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As SS says, all of your mom's money is for her care. If you would feel better, you could ask your sister for an accounting of how she spends the money. Caring for an elder takes money, and those who don't do the actual work often aren't aware of this. Then, suspicion about the caregiver can arise.

I hope your sister is keeping good records and you can resolve this issue. Chances are very good that this money is being legitimately used, however if there is doubt, it poisons your relationship with your sibling, so getting everything out in the open is a good idea.

your moms money is for her care, however if your sister is not the durable power of attorney she should not be signing off mom's checking account. Also if mom is unable to handle her money your sister can get a letter from the doctor and become legal rep over mom by going to social security. She will have to go to the local social security office with legal papers so she is in full charge of mom. There are some question that they will ask and some paper work they will need. Your sisiter can also call the elder care in you area. There are special laws to protect the elderly from someone using there money with out legal doucments.patrica61
There seems to be a growing misconception in the US that parents who qualify for both Social Security and VA Benefits or Medicare have all their retirement and Long Term Care needs covered. If only that were the case! Sadly, many adult children are suddenly thrust into the caregiver role without any preparation or tools. So when the inevitable need for full time care arises, it creates a double catastrophe. First, it dispels any illusion that Mom /Pop had everything covered or that Uncle Sam will step in and take care of everything. Second, breeds contention among siblings who come to believe that somehow their parent has played favorites and they have been pushed out of the inner circle. I think SecretSister has asked jeredmo exactly the right question: Why are you asking us? But given the scant details provided by jeredomo, I would have requested more info before I attempted to give any advice here.
Jeredmo...does your sister have joint account? If she does she can withdraw the monies from the bank and sign, because usually if you are joint the check has both names, and she can sign. Otherwise the POA (Power of Attorney - legal) will allow her to withdraw and sign the checks as well.
This is a very sensitive subject. As all have commented above, your mom's money, whether from her SS check or a bank account, is for her care. You don't say if your mom is capable of having any input. If not, a wise move for your family would be to establish some legal "responsible parties" now. Doing so will make life easier in the future when your sister may be asked to provide proof of decision making authority. Decision making in a crisis is always painful and difficult. Making the decisions before a crisis is the way to prevent some of the angst and division among siblings in times of great stress. Careful accounting of all funds used is a wise practice because if a need for Medicaid arises in the future, an accounting of how the money was spent will be required as part of the application. Open clear communication will be a friend to you in this dilemma
jeredmo, any "is it legal" question is always best answered by legal counsel, not anyone who is not licensed to practice law, so I do agree with those who have said that we are not the right folks to ask. Regarding your sister's use of your Mom's money, if she is your Mom's primary caregiver, there is no way that she can take proper care of your Mom without using your Mom's money to do so, unless she is independently wealthy. This, of course, assume that she has been given power of attorney by your Mom and is not committing fraud by accessing an account to which your Mom has not authorized her to access prior to becoming disabled. If your sister is not committing fraud, it always saddens me when relatives who are not involved in day-to-day caregiving, are the first to second-guess the primary caregiver's decisions. Until someone has walked a mile in a caregiver's shoes, I don't know why that is done unless there is suspected fraud. If there is not a reasonable suspicion of fraud, my own take is there should be nothing but kudos to someone who chooses to, or is relegated by other family members to be the exclusive, or primary caregiver. Until one has walked a mile in another's shoes, being understanding of the uncharted territory and unending challenges of caregiving should always remain visible. Not being harsh, I just have seen this happen to other caregivers who are simple treading water, doing the best they can to keep their loved one's lives together, while endlessly complicating their own existence, only to be judged harshly by relatives.
Wow..well said caregiverslight. I am one of those kids who has been "chosen" to care for mom and thank God she put me on the joint account and signed the durable power of attorney. I am a single mom who works full time with kids of my own. Mom wants to stay in her own home with hospice care, not go to the hospital and I could not afford to keep two households afloat and pay someone to stay with her and buy the groceries if she had not. Its money she was planning on leaving to me but if I need to spend some of it to care for her then thats ok. My brothers live out of state and are not local so I explained it to them and oh well too bad. If I did not have access to it I am not sure how we would have handled it. I am grateful to be able to have a choice and be able to give my mom what she wanted.
Thanks, ddarkangel. The obvious and hidden expenses of caregiving are enormous, as your reply suggests. The last thing any caregiver needs is a tug-of-war regarding a loved one's finances. Is the person being cared for neglected in any way, or deprived of anything ought to be the litmus test, not nickel-and-dime accounting. Can you imagine how demoralizing that is to a caregiver who is already carrying a heavy burden of physical care on his or her shoulders, if there is no fraud involved?
You need to get a list of her expenses to see if the SS check she is using covers all the expenses. Life is EXPENSIVE and I cannot begin to tell you how expensive diapers, diaper liners, medication, food, etc. etc. are. To protect yourself, get a list of the items and their expenses and make sure you sister is keeping the receipts. You may find out that the SS check simply isn't enough to cover the expenses.

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