How can I get my mom's money from my sister?

Asked by

Mom has lived with me for 2 1/2 years, and until very recently, I had not seen her bank account--my sister managed moms money. Sister recently told me she wanted out and is turning everything over to me, and for me to care for mom how I see best, and she will no longer interfere. (More to that part of the story later). That day (July 17th) was a breakthrough in an enormous struggle between caring for my mother, and my sisters remote-managing our personal lives . Or so I thought....

Sis has held moms bank account for years. I have mom in my home. Sis tried micro-managing our household through moms money, claiming I'd blow it if she didn't, so to keep the peace for moms sake, I kept quiet and let her. We cared for Mom and she had no expenses here.

Sis took thousands over time and set them in a separate account. Mom was my priority and we managed without the use of her Soc. Sec.

Sis only saw mom on occasion for driving her to doc appointments and an afternoon out. Maybe once a month, but one day they stopped at a nursing home and went in. Mom got excited that she'd have all those fun activities and people all around to talk to, so she wanted to go in! The staff told my sister it was the first time they had ever seen anyone who wanted to go to a nursing home! So I cried so much pain when I heard the news.....and kept it to myself. Mom thought she was in hog heaven! And she was relieeved she would no longer be a burden to me...(which she was not, but in her mind, she was).

She went in and I hated my sister for doing that. It was wrong Mom did not belong there.

On the 4th week in the nursing home, my sister called me, expessed how exasperated she was having to run and do things for mom. (I cannot drive, I am legally blind) and she said she was near her wits end. I told her mom never neede3d to go, she can come home any time.

Sis called again two days later--this time so upset she was crying, telling me she has had it! She just can't take the running any longer and it is stressing her so bad she was going to have a nervous breakdown! Then she said to me "I thought if I put Mom in the nursing home I wouldn't have to deal with her anymore!" God as my witness. Hubby heard too.

That did it. I told her mom ws coming home.

I went straight to the Nuring home, told the staff what just happened and started to unravel Mom from the process and get her home. It was gonna be a few days. In the meantime, my sis had applied for Medicaid for Mom, and it was still in the decision process.

Sis emailed me and told me she was turning all moms finances over to me. She was done. She brought all moms personal papaers and documents over. She had these since she paid moms bills and managed her money. She told me I could just take care of Mom as I saw fit and do whatever it took to appease her. Whew, what a relief! This was one happy household when Mom came back home and we were hopefully going to be at peace noww instead of sis butting in and meddling. (What I mean by that is if we used moms debit card for anything, we had to account for it. If she thought we were using it too much, she'd have a cow. She left Mom just a couple hundred dollars in her account each month to get her personal thigs, and she wanted to know where it was spent).

On July 24th, I saw moms account for the first time. I could see back about a year and a half, and money was being moved into sis's personal account. Sis admitted she put mom's money is a separate account (about 7,500.00 to 8,000.00), for safe keeping--in the event Mom "needed something''. But I see over 11,000.00 moved in those months. She said she wants to keep Moms money that she saved for her. She refuses to let me, moms long-time caregiver and now agent for POA, have access to it, yet wants nothing to do with our mother.

When I asked to see this money and its where-abouts, she became extremely irrate, drove over here to my home, told me there was no way in hell I was getting my hands on that money and screamed FU in my face-then punched me. All I wanted was to see it! I had never ever seen her behave like that before!!!! I was shocked. A police report was made and she is barred from this home now.

I told mom..I had to.

It is my desire to continue to provide moms care, without hindrance from another who feels compelled to set our mothers money aside for 'whatever mom needs". I too feel the same, however I see a misguided sense of 'responsibility' in this case. There are many issues that play into this (as you can imagine), and know that these things can and do run deep. (Jealousy, control issues, depression)

Also, Mom has since qualified for Medicaid. I want to tell them what is going on, that sis has stashed moms cash for 'her needs'. whatever that means.

Attorneys won't touch this with a 10 foot pole. It's stupid. It is Moms money. Not hers to keep hidden.

I have contacted Elder Affairs, have not heard anything from them yet. HELP!

Answers 1 to 10 of 50
Ok. Tough situation. You did the right thing contacting Elder Affairs. I think what your sister did is illegal....depends on the Power of Attorney thing. You can contact your Department of Social Services and ask for Elder Affairs or whatever and tell them suspect there as been some Elder Abuse. This can be anonymous. They should have 24 hours in which to respond, and if they don't, call and don't be so anonymous this time - as it sounds as if your sister does not care. This is a borderline illegal issue on her part as you essentially have the care of your mother without any resources to care for her. Then, if necessary show up at Social Services and rant. I worked for Lutheran Services as a legal guardian for the elderly. I handled accounts, gathering of income and court reports of assets. So I know a bit of what I'm talking about. If Elderly Services doesn't respond, here are some suggestions: Call your attorney or find one, some will work pro bono in these cases, until money is moved upon court order. Ask for Legal Guardianship for your mom. It may cost, but that is legal to use her money for it, because it is in her best interests - if she becomes ill, or needs to go to a facility - of course she will need it. Now, it sounds to me as if your sister has taken the money, "hid" it in an account to "spend down" in order to put her in the nursing home without paying the full nursing home fees. This is legal. . . . but the way she is doing it, is questionable, when it leaves your mom in need or the total burden of her care on you. So, in other words if you are appointed legal guardian, you will have papers, your sister will HAVE to account for what she spent on your mother, the rest of money will be put in a guardianship account for care of your mother by you, though you will have some accounting to do to the court, when you get her assets & income gathered, a simple form, but that is a good thing and not too tedious for someone who is not wealthy. There is nothing worse than relatives that want the money but not the care of an elderly. Stress. This process would relieve your stress. But either Elderly Services through your state or the court needs to be involved. Hope this info helps some.
if medicaid finds out that this is your mom's money she will be disqualified from medicaid and they will do something...make you repay it or spend it down on your mother's care. If an attorney won't touch it (why?) and if you have documentation, call adult protective services and report financial elder abuse and let them know you have all the paperwork. however, because they are an entity they may report these funds to medicaid....but i am not sure. There must be a way to get your mom's money. What was your sister doing with her social security check every month; this too is financial abuse at its best. OMG. please keep us posted and if i think of anything else. .....
I disagree with the other poster who said your sister spent your moms money down; spending it down means using it for your moms care and needs, not to go in your sisters bank account Your sister was hiding money so your mom would qualify for medicaid which is illegal. Taking an elder ss check is also illegal and it is illegal because the money belongs to your mother and your sister will not give it to you or your mother. You are allowed to have that money for your mom's care esp as POA...your mom may be dental work and who knows what else in the future. This is dispicable.(sp) ....I would start putting papers toether on how much you have spent on your mom in the time she was living with you so you get reimbursed from that money your mom received; namely, as a caregiver 24/7 medicaid allows you to pay yourself.
I don't think that in order to legally get this money you will be able to stay anonymous for too long. I am livid just reading this story of greed and anger towards you by your sister. she sounds like my sister.
What your sister did could be illegal.She may need to sit down with Social Services and Medicaid and get a better understanding of how the system works.Was the months bill at the nursing home paid for by Medicaid?Most nursing homes run about $6000 - $8000 per month and assisted living can go from approx.$1500 - $4500 depending on level of care if you are paying out of pocket.I would check first if this bill was paid in full and by who.Nonetheless your mother must spend down all assets before going on Medicaid.Some states allow $1500 in remaining cash (usually in the POA's guardinship account). If they have already paid bills and they find out your mother has assets they will want to be paid back before they cover forward expenses.I really don't understand how your sister could apply for your mother's Medicaid when you are the POA.
in california one is allowed to have 2k in assets
how did you get a hold of your moms bank records!!!???? does it show withdrawals and to what account? If so and you can prove your sister did this, all of which is fraud and illegal i would definately file charges...your mom deserves her money for her care until the day she dies, and you deserve, if you want to take it, to be paid for 24/7 care. Please keep us posted.
This money could be construed as a "gift" depending on what mother would say and there is a certain amount of time allowed for the transaction before one runs afoul of the laws, but at least a year. I think it might depend on State law. Also many states allow you to keep the home if one goes to assisted living, with the intention of returning to the home.
Omg I would not become POA, your sister is liable for all of that money for mismanagement. If you become POA and know this, you could be liable. Of course an attorney would take this case. You have to get to a lawyer asap and straighten this out, then take Mom home and give her a great life. You will get the money and be okay, but you have to do it the right way, or, you may be in big trouble. Lawyers are free first time and you will eventually need his help and your moms SS or sisters hidden money will pay for it if needed. IN fact, not only will you become DPOA, you could make out a caregivers contract and get paid for doing so. Getting paid really helps you, and for diapers, supplies, food, electric, heat etc. Good luck
I just wanted to reach out and say, what a mess. Hugs to you. Wish I could offer an answer, but I am no attorney. Look into state laws & ask for an attorney that specifically handles The Elderly.
well I am in a similar situation, but my hands are tied. I live with my mother and her current husband they are good people thank God. but the rest of the family is a real mess I take care of mom and jack all the time except for my full time job and finnacially I am supporting my daughter and her husband for almost 5 years the recession put them out of work. There is very little to no help from her dad. back to the who is in charge of the money my sister is POA after dad died the money from the sale of their home and who knows what else went in to a mutual acct with my brother's name on it that's more than ten years ago now the moneys suppose to going into a trust in my sister name. well my brother can not read are write and his wife does not trust my sister so she threatened my brother with a divorce if he signs and they each have a lawyer. Right now they are in a stale mate. Mom is paying of course for the legal fees not my sister. and my sister has been moving money around from what mom doesn't spend each month almost 40k for the last ten years. Who knows what going on I don't Mom wants us to trust my sister but that's almost impossible, she has done too many things to the rest of us for so long and she does not even try to make amends. I didn't live here when dad died and there was no where else for mom to go. My concern is that with this mess I can't get a legal contract for taking care of the two elderly folks and no one else lifts a finger to help it's all mine. I don't get paid near enough for all the work and time I have to give to keep them healthy and happy. his children don't even ask me how things are. It's a wait and see game. I can't afford a lawyer for myself in this mess. and they think I am getting free room and board instead of live in care. Life is not fair. really not sure what else to do. Living one day at a time.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support