jnlhouck Asked April 2010

I have power of attorney for my mother. My sister who lives in another state wants me to provide a ledger to her of how I'm spending my mother's social security. Does she have say in how that money is being spent?

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I have power of attorney for my mother, she is 90. My sister says I should be providing a ledger of how my mothers social security money is spent to her(my sister). My mother lives with me. I take full care of her.
Meals, showers, trips to doctors, medicine provided, vacation trips. I have been doing this for 4 years now. My sister moved to another state and has never participated in care of my mother. Does she have any say in how my mothers money is spent? All of it is spent on my mothers needs and the preservation of the household. Am I doing anything wrong?

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EXPERT Sheri Samotin Apr 2010
So, I'm probably not going to be popular with you all, but here goes.

I am a family transition coach, and I specialize in working with families in your situation. My perspective is that anything that can be done to foster communication among siblings regarding their aging parents is a good thing. I would use your sister's request as an opportunity to begin to work together. For example, why not tell her how pleased you are that she is interested in becoming more involved in Mom's care, and tell her you'd like to convene a family meeting. If you have other siblings, they should be invited too. The meeting can take place in person or by conference call, whatever makes sense for your family. Depoending upon your Mom's condition, it might make sense for her to participate in the meeting too.

Create an agenda for the family meeting, starting with you, as the primary caregiver, giving an update on the situation -- describe Mom's current condition, her prognosis, her current care needs, anticipated care needs, and a report on the financial situation (Mom's income, expenses, assets, liabilities, monthly or annual budget, and insurance) complete with handouts. Then, present a list of all of the caregiving needs, irrespective of who is currently providing them. That should include the need for funds, the need for respite for the primary caregiver, as well as hands on care, companionship, transportation, and coordination (including bill paying, insurance claim resolution, etc.). Once the siblings have the full "as is" picture and that list of needs, ask each of
them to indicate what resources they can bring to the table. Some will bring money, others will bring time, and others may not be willing or able to contribute in any way other than being emotionally supportive of Mom and her caregivers. At the conclusion of the meeting, agree on a method of keeping the channels of communication open, and for any next steps. For example, you may all agree that a quarterly financial update is appropriate. Or, one sibling may take on the responsibilitiy of being the one to email everyone once a week or once a month a caregiving update covering all aspects of the "project".

Often, the sibling who has filled the vacuum and is serving as the sole caregiver for the parent feels taken for granted and frustrated. On the other hand, the other siblings sometimes wonder who "appointed you queen" or don't know how to offer to help because you give the impression that you have everything under control. The family dynamics are complicated!

I recommend a book called "They're Your Parents Too" by Francine Russo for families in your situation.

I hope this helps a little.

-- Sheri

As you can see, my view is that
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bobbie321 Apr 2010
tell her to go pee up a rope.

lovbob
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If mom only knew what people really thought of her... O, it's not a pretty thought. Best focus on something more positive. There is life beyond demented and greedy people. I don't want to be swallowed up in the vortex of anger and discouragement.
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toadballet1 Apr 2010
Sheri's information is just wonderful if you have mature, compasionate siblings all around. What usually happens is that one sib gets chosen by default to be the primary caregiver (trust me, I didn't appoint myself "queen" this is no royal duty.)...while the others look the other way. In fact, if there was no money involved, you would NEVER see the other sibs. The only come out of the woodwork when the dirty work is done and there is money to be had.
I think that keeping the lines of communication open is a very good thing. But, to make the primary caregiver have to keep extensive records or call formal meetings is just too much work added to an already impossible burden.
I think that asking the sibs to take turns coming for a few weeks a year to give you a break is a great way for them to spend quality time with their parents and the can have as much fun as they want to "go over the books."
Keep good records...but do not become the unpaid account for unresponsive sibs.
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pamstegma Oct 2016
bjbloom, they can fool her into signing a POA, without you knowing, but they cannot get guardianship in court if you appear and object to it. Get a lawyer.
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toadballet1 Apr 2010
Wow! now I know what they mean by "money is the root of all evil." I too have a sib who is completely absent from caregiving (or even visiting). I take care of EVERYTHING and would love to have sibs that take an interest or would want to take over for me once and awhile. oh well....
I think that it would be a burden for you to sit down and write out every cent you spend on your mother and have to account to the missing sister. Not to mention that you are not being compensated for all those little "misc." errands, doc visits, etc. Those things add up, and if you had to hire a caregiver to do it, your mom could not afford it.
However, there is nothing to be gained by being "snarky" to the sis. But, tell her you will make a trade: You will give her a quarterly accounting, if she comes to take over for you one week, three times a year. Then she can see up close and personal how much fun it is and how she is adding to your stress.
Geeeez....isn't this just adding insult to injury????
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kverduyn Apr 2010
Cheryl001 - this almost sounds abusive - cutting her off from the outside world? I think you should contact social services or the department of aging and get someone to look into this.
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tennessee Apr 2010
When taking care of my dad was a emotional and physical challenge,I did receive love and appreciation from him,with the lawsuit my brothers have slapped on me that has been going on for 3 years now,the price is looking toward the 100,000 dollar mark and no end in sight.Angrey and jealous siblings and greedy lawyers go hand in hand.I can barely feed my self now because of the lawsuit,I was a 24/7 caregiver for more years than I would like to admit to.My dad was appreciative but my brothers and there team of lawyers aren't.Don't ever under estimate a angrey deadbeat sibling,you may not love them,but lawyers do.
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Here4her Dec 2011
If you do want to do a ledger.....put in the debit column about $7,000.00 a month due to you for being her private nurse and nursing home. That will get her going.
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cwillie Oct 2016
Bjboom,
no one can appoint a new POA but your mother, it is not transferable. If I were you I would call APS where your mother is residing now, give them the details of your situation and ask that they check on your mother. Make sure they understand that you have POA and are being denied contact and that she is being left unsupervised during the day. You might also want to meet with a lawyer to discuss obtaining guardianship of your mother, hopefully it will not come to that.
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