Mama in assisted living and I think her POA is using their power for personal gain.

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I'd just like your opinion about what you think is going on here. Our mom is in assisted living. She has slowly spent down her investments and we knew last year that we would need to sell her house. My brother and I offered to buy it last summer and were told "no" by our sister who has POA. She moved her grandson into the house in January saying he wanted to buy it but he could only qualify for $ 100,000. My brother had an independent appraiser appraise the house for $ 125,000. We met as a family and talked and decided we had no other option but to accept his lower offer because mama needs this money starting in July. Just this week we got a call to go to the title company and sign papers because all of us are on the house title. When we get there the selling price is listed as $ 125,000. Thinking this was good; that her grandson was able to get the full amount we called her. She said no that he was still only able to pay $ 100,000 and the $ 25,000 was an "equity gift." He would pay property tax on that amount because it is the true value of the house. So he gets the benefit of paying a lower price for a house worth more and he can say is worth more. Who gains here? Is this not as important as it seems? We feel like mama (and ourselves) have been duped. Are we wrong?


Basically, your sister is a thief. Really unethical and self-serving. Whereas she has POA I think you may be in a losing battle, but at least you walk away with scruples. I'd tell you sister and your nephew what you think - speak the truth in love.

Caring for your Mom will cost a lot of money. Is your sister prepared to use her own money once your Mother's resources wear out?
One question that I had was if the sister had been doing more of the chores taking care of your mother, so perhaps felt more entitled. I would understand if this was the case. When you offered to buy the house, did you offer full market value?

Your sister was wise in keeping the appraised value of the house as the sales price, declaring an "equity gift." There won't be any question about the sale if your mother should have to apply for Medicaid in the future. I also think a sale within the family was wise, since houses frequently do not sell for appraised values in a reasonable time and there are commissions, fees, and other costs involved that can be avoided when the house is sold within the family. Why she favored her son over you if you and your brother if you were offering full market value is something she would have to explain.
However, I do wonder how an "equity gift" would be explained if your mother needs to apply for Medicaid within the next 5 years. I don't know if it will be penalized or not. If so, the penalty would not be large. I suspect it would not be questioned, since the son paid a reasonable price for the house.
Dear Perserverance and JessieBelle,

Thanks for responding to my question.

She already said she won't take care of mom. She couldn't do it finanacially and she took care of her mother-in-law after the mother-in-law paid to put an addition on their house. They are like oil and water anyway so that wouldn't be good for either of them.

We do think there is a sense of entitlement but she is not the only child who has done things for mama. If she wanted the house we wish she would have just been honest instead of denying us the option of buying. My brother and I offered MORE $ 130,000 a year ago which could have been earning interest for mom so we feel she did not use mother's assets to the best of her fiscal ability.

She explains nothing to us. Since she got POA we have asked for her to share mom's financial situation with us and she takes offense and/or cries.
If your Mom and your sister are like oil and water, why would your Mother give her POA?

Yes, the POA in my family also took offense when we asked for an account of mom's finances. We saw that money was not being appropriated well... so very frustrating... but at the end of the day, it is my Mom's money, and she chose to pick the POA
They weren't always like that. Recently, my sister has provoked her by not giving her updates on her finances, jewelry my sister took and won't give back, etc.

You're right, Perseverance. I'm done. It's mama's money and mama's choice. I can't help her.
I've been looking into the relevant laws in my jurisdiction (I have a similar situation brewing in my family) and here, there is a process for "checking up" on a PoA, estate trustee, etc. It's calling "passing the accounts" and it means a judge reviews how the money has been spent. If something's awry, the judge can order the PoA to pay back the money, fine the PoA and sometimes even put them in jail! (That's rare, but possible.) The judge can also appoint a new PoA. This process can be initiated by a concerned relative, friend, etc.

This makes sense because there has to be *some* kind of control on the PoA. It's not intended to be a free-for-all. Imagine the chaos if the courts allowed it to be.

So, I'd recommend seriously researching the laws that apply in your area for cases like this. Find out what your options are. Maybe even just pointing out the possible consequences of dodgy behaviour will keep your sister in line.
To margarets : how do you initiate what you're calling "passing the accounts"? That's exactly what I need in my situation with my thieving devious POA brother who is als, executor of mom's estate. It's totally clear to me that he is exploiting her finances, but so far even contacting a lawyer hasn't helped. (He says it's gonna be much more difficult because mom & i live in a different state than my brother, where all the legal stuff was put in effect.) Frankly I'm not too thrilled with this lawyer ~ he seems to be dragging his feet ~ but I live in a small town without many elder care attys. ~ the other one who was recommended by several people is too busy to take on my case! But it sounded like you said one didn't need a lawyer to initiate this, but then where do you go? Which court? I'll do the work myself if I have to!
I agree - that lawyer sounds useless. I can't advise on specifics because I don't know which states are involved. I think you will have to seriously hit the books/internet and do the research yourself. I mean: look up the relevant laws and case histories. Some of this will be online. The librarians at law school libraries, and even some public libraries, should be able to point you in the right direction. Law firms often have articles on these topics on their websites. Some lawyers have blogs where they discuss common issues (and yours is VERY common!). You may very well need a lawyer for certain steps in the process. But it doesn't have to be one in your town. Once you determine which state's laws are relevant (my guess is it's the state where your mother is a resident), get a lawyer licensed to practice in that state. Good luck.

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