Is the mis-management of the trusts by two fighting daughters elder abuse?

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For the past 6 years, I have been the primary trustee of my mother's trust (aka Survivor's Trust) and paid for her bills, taken her to doctor's appointments, coordinated her caregivers after she started dialysis treatments last year. I also faithfully served as her caregiver as well for many years. I live in California, am now retired and live 1 hour away from where my mother currently resides.

A second trust was created when my father died, (aka the Bypass Trust) and my elder sister, who lives in TX, was made the trustee of that trust. My problem is this.

Last year, my survivor's trust, that I managed for my mother, ran out of funds and I had to ask my sister for additional funds from her Bypass Trust, as it should be handled according to our Trust CPA. My sister has repeatedly given me much grief whenever I requested funds, not sent me trust documents she has when I requested it, and reluctantly given me the interest on investments that my mother is entitled to received within 2 months of receiving my sister receiving it from our mother's investments. I just got tired of dealing with my sister, so I asked a trust attorney if I could be the trustee of both trusts to make it simplier. He told me that I had the legal right to remove my sister as trustee of the Bypass Trust and to make myself the Trustee of the Bypass Trust as well. All I had to do was write her a letter informing her of this.

My sister in TX categorically refused to cooperate and to talk to me; she just hung up on me and told me "you just want to have control" of Mom's money. The bottom line is that I had the right as the primary trustee of the Survivor's Trust to do this.

WIthout consulting me, my sister flew to CA a week later to have our mom remove me as trustee of the Bypass Trust and to remove me as her Durable Power of Attorney. It is my belief that she illegally did this as the decision to have her removed as trustee of the bypass trust was already in the works. She did this without going to an attorney and simply had our Mom sign an amendment to the existing trust and brought her to a notary to have her signature notarized. I believe that she intimated our mother. Our mother dislikes arguments and will agree to anthing because of this. She is also not very assertive, nor does she have any understanding of legal matters.

I was absolutely shocked to learn that my sister to do this behind my back. She also solicited the help of our younger sister, with whom our mother lives. I believe that they both coerced our mother to sign the papers to give my elder sister control of our mother's trusts and to be our mother's Durable Power of Attorney. What other course of action did my mother have when confronted by two daughters? I was not informed of any of this; they went behind my back.

My mother will be 92 years old in another month, is feeble minded and very weak since she started undergoing dialysis a year ago. She is also not well educated or versed in legal matters. I was an Legal Assistant for 5 years, so had the knowledge over my sisters to be the sole trustee. I was also the daughter that my mother trusted the most in the dealings of her estate for the past six years.

What my elder sister did was, I believe, illegal ,immoral, unethical and a form of elder abuse. She did not take our mother's best interests into account at all. She only thought of herself and having power over our mother. Logically, I believe it would be in our mother's best interest to have a daughter manage her trust and be her Durable Power of Attorney who resides in the same state as she does, not by a daughter who lives in TX who has little time to devote to her trustee duties, much which was delegated to her husband.

My sister has a business that she is very busy working at seven days a week. I am retired and have more time to spend on the managing of our mother's trust and I live 1 hour away to our mother in CA. When I spoke to an attorney on this, he stated that he thought it was a case of "sibling rivalry". I can attest to this because my elder sister and I have always not gotten along and she has always been very jealous of me while growing up.

This is not my concern. My concern is who is better able to serve our mother as her trustee as she is approaching her last days? Who has the most time to do this and who is the most capble person? If something were to happen to our mother in the near future, wouldn't it be the most logical to have me continue to be her Durable Power of Attorney as well as her trustee in order that I can continue to pay her bills and coordinate her caregivers?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. I plan on seeking legal advice again ASAP. The problem is that I don't have any funds to pursue this situation as I would like. I am being requested to hand over the trust funds that I currently have in my possession, but I won't do this until I get some legal advice on how to pursue this.

Answers 1 to 7 of 7
I can feel the passion as I read your thread. I pray for you as I have the same situation...almost exactly...when I went to the lawyer during the free consultation he explained it so, I was going to pay a min. of 10,000.00 to possibly find out I was wrong. I get physically ill thinkiing about it. I have only the best of intensions as I'm sure you good deed left unpunished. Is there someway you can get your sisters to a support group or group counseler...maybe online try to understand each others intensions?
I was considering that in my situation but I can't get past the butterflies in my stomach everytime I think about...maybe you're stronger then me. You see my fight is with the lack of communication. Everytime I do what they ask they say they didn't receive it and request the work over and over again. They don't return calls, emails or texts. yet always say they did. Meanwhile it's the care that suffers. One question...the sister that lives with your Mom...Is she the primary caregiver?
What you describe is very likely elder abuse! However, proving that it is really elder abuse is the challenge. You have two siblings and your mother against you and that is formidable. Please do not specify any names because that might result in a claim of defamation. Proving the truth to actually be substantially true is iffy at best. Obtaining the expert advice of an attorney specializing in elder law is a fantastic idea and/or obtaining information from advocacy groups is good too. Be prepared for a fight. Be prepared to spend some money. I sincerely wish you the grace to do what is right and reasonable for your mother.
A Health Care P.O.A. would give you the legal right to oversee all of her medical/health care. You can get one from your local hospital, office supply store or even online. Just fill out & get notarized...I know it doesn't solve the financial situation that your sister put you in, but at least it will allow you to take care of your Mother since you live the closest. Good luck with your sister.
Top Answer
Who created the second Trust after your Dad died, your Mom? Your youngest sister takes care of your Mother? Actually the one doing the fulltime caregiving should be in charge . If I were you, although I know you are livid, I would be too, I would let it go. Just try and smile and visit your Mom every day, week or more, and love her all up, let them know how easy your life is now, and let them do all the work. (that will piss them off) Believe me, the work will get harder and harder for them as your Mom gets older. I am the fulltime caregiver and if someone wanted to take it all over and do as good as a job as me, I would love to only have to visit Mom daily and then go home while they did all the hard work, and finances. Think about this, do you want to lose money, do they take good care of her, or is this about money in the end.
I'm with reverse. I am the primary caregiver and before my mother moved in with me I had her make me her healthcare surrogate. My older siblings went crazy especially the one who had been the surrogate, but lived out of state. Why should I do all the physical care for my mother and have someone else calling the shots? I was terrified of them trying to jerk her out of my house and into a nursing home. I didn't want a legal battle and knew it would create a more peaceful environment if I just did it. One sibling got over it and one didn't. Too bad. Just because a person is old doesn't make them senile. Your mom is perfectly capable of making her own decisions. I know that when i'm 92 nobody better ever try to tell me what to do! Your mom and your younger sister are the ones who really know what's best in my opinion. They must have thought that this new arrangement would work out better for some reason. Personally I would have given it all to the younger sister to handle or allow her to choose who she thinks she can work best with. I know it's an awful feeling having people be so inconsiderate and treat you this way. They should have been up front about what they were doing. I feel for you, but hang in there. Things will get better. Like I said....Reverse has the right idea! The best revenge is a great life!
How can I get a health care p.o.a. for my mom and is different from just a p.o.a.which my brother is and I do every thing for my 86 year old mom.
My mom's lawyer has her p.o.a. that way there is less conflict. It works better for us all that way. We live in Florida and my mom had her attorney switch me to be her healthcare surrogate and the lawyer also made it so I am the only one who could seek to find her incompetent. She isn't at all incompetent, but two of my siblings kept saying that she was. All I cared about was them not being able to put her in a nursing home. She is doing great! Hang in there!

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