I had been POA for my mother years prior to her dementia and had been taking care of all her finances as her agent due to the frustration she was having. During that time I noticed that personal checks were being written out to his wife at the beginning of each month. This was frustrating for me especially when I was handling her finances. When I brought it up to my brother, he basically got nasty with me and told me that my mother can give her grand daughter money if she wants and I had no say so in the matter.
I tried to explain to him that I was not trying to stop any monies that our mother wanted to give her grand daughter for school etc, but the amounts of checks were making it difficult for me to keep my mother's limited income for her to live on. So finally after all this going on and my investigation to going to the bank, taking all the checks away, they somehow managed to have all the statements go to his address. I found out that he had his name added to my mothers account as a co owner at which at this point I was fighting a losing battle. Not even the banks would help me put a stop to this. So after his wife moving her monies online, etc etc, I let my mother know of this going on and manipulation, my mother and I closed the account down and I started her own account at a different bank. Needless to say I found out about the living trust that was recorded by the county where we reside in, and the TOD that my mother and I had done long before she was diagnosed had been revoked. I wanted to know if the living trust is valid?
Some of the EP law firms at which I worked had monthly meetings to update the attorneys on state and national cases, opinions, how they may affect the firm's practice, how the firm may have changed its basic and specific documents, and more. And even though paralegals attend, in most firms in my area they're not allowed to draft documents, although they can assemble some boiler plate documents for an attorney's review.
People on a forum, unless currently working in one of these practice areas for a law firm, or sometimes bank legal departments and/or similarly related legal entities, are the only ones qualified to provide accurate answers and insights. Forums are not.
These are NOT issues that can be addressed by anyone who's not an attorney. Even paralegals, who in Michigan aren't allowed to make those kinds of analyses or decisions.
I agree with AlvaDeer. I also have given up trying to understand the situation...not your fault. These are complicated issues. And while folks here are trying to be helpful, they're not legal pros.
And w/o insulting you, it's extremely difficult to follow, and interpret, the situation. There's also a lot of extraneous information that has little if any bearing on the past and current legal situation.
I think the heavily cultivated "seminars" some attorneys began holding within the last 20 years have wrongly encouraged people to feel they can make their own legal analyses, w/o any of the educational foundation present. Living trusts are for specific situations; they aren't just an alternative to a Will, but a lot of people were pushed into LTs by attorneys, w/o even understanding the terms, function, or needs (if any).
I'm not trying to criticize you; I can somewhat understand your predicament. But I need to emphasize Alva's insightful advice. This is NOT the place to get legal answers to legal issues. Documents you mention need to be seen and examined by attorneys, analyses made, and advice created.
Is there some reason you haven't seen an attorney about this situation?
You got bad information in the first paragraphs here. IF you were POA you not only had a right to stop your Mom (if she was confused or demented) from gifting money to brother or his family, but the DUTY TO DO SO. Gifting makes it impossible for an elder to apply for medicaid in some cases when it is needed. You would, as POA give Mom a small yearly account to spend as she liked and ALL OTHER MONEY would be handled by YOU. So right off the bat things were going wrong.
I have tried to make my way through your writeup and I find it impossible to know what happened, to whom and when.
I am going to tell you to take all the accountings you had (when you managed your Mom's things as POA) of every cent in and out of her accounts) with you to see an elder law attorney that you pay by the hour for his advice. I think any advice we might give you could be the WRONG advice due to not understanding in full what has happened/is happening here.
I wish you the very best going forward.
Because your first post to us was a month ago and this new update below doesn't indicate you have seen an attorney I am quite worried for you. Your brother may have and may still being fraudulent. I cannot tell for the life of me, and I fear you don't understand POA.
Please see an attorney.
This is, as you say, very complicated.
My mother many times had conversation between my brother and I that in the event of her death that only stays within us. A lot of manipulations using granddaugher school funding/donations. I have copies of checks written to his wife supposidly to to the schools funding, yet its written to his wife name.
My brother and I relationship wasnt close but it wasnt bad either until April of 2020 when I started a already savings that existing savings my mother had, to build it up for future visits to japan for her which she acknowledged, so 100 a month was going to her savings. Mind you i only had access to her checking a POA. I reside with my mother, and i came upon her checking statements that came in the mail which now had my brothers name along with her and I listed as POA. When i asked her , when did you add him, she got nasty and replied I have 2 kids etc, so I left it alone. Until 4 months later I began to see online transfers from her savings going back into her checking. This was so that they could come at the beginning of the month to get checks written to them for some school event. and it was like clock work. My moms mental memory at times was on my side then she would switch sides and get angry at me. so finally when she was good on my side i tried to get a balance of her savings yet the bank would not give it to me, so i resorted to taking her to the bank and found out that what she should of had in the months is close to 2000 was depleted to 200. I was so devestated, I couldnt understand why he would allow his wife to do so including him of all people. family? His wife would lie to him many times stating i stole the money! I almost had a nervous break down with feeling of no one to help. With my mothers mental challenges it was like she had no feeling about it. But I was so angry and that is being nice. I asked my brother to bring his lap top and open up chase account, and stated that I bet you will show both her checking and savings with access, and I only had checking, yet that never happened, So i resorted to closing the account and opened up a new one for her but i hold on to the debit card checks etc. When they ordered moms checks to their home, all the statements were going to his house and reason so i wasnt able to catch it.
I dont have any problems with her banking, but prior to closing out. I took my mother to a timeshare i own, during that time, cell phones were very spotty with reception, and i know my brother didnt contact my mother for authorization.
His wife used doordash and ordered over 300 during the week for food needless to say proof of fraud. Now no banking issues, but he put her home in a trust and how can he do that. Is it binding.
"To be transferred into a trust, assets have to be titled in the name of the trustee of the trust."
Assets are titled in the name of the Trust, not the Trustee. Just FYI.
Suggestion: Speak with the branch manager about your POA. Not all banks take them and you may have to fill out their own POA form. Also explain that only you as agent have the power to manage her account (no changing where statements are sent). In fact, if you're not living with your mother, have the statements sent to your address.
Read your POA document. Understand what powers your mother has given you and any limitations.
Contact the county clerk's office to find out how you can obtain a copy of the revocable living trust. Read it carefully. To be transferred into a trust, assets have to be titled in the name of the trustee of the trust. Your brother can create a trust and make your mother a beneficiary but he cannot transfer property into the trust that is titled in your mother's name without her competent agreement.
I'm wondering how you found out about the TOD? Are these stocks and bonds? Did your brother close the account? Did he change beneficiaries? If you have a copy of the TOD document, read it carefully. Contact the financial entity to find out how someone without authority received access to your mother's accounts.
Think through any of your mother's assets that may need protection from your brother.
This dizzying sequence of fraud impels me to ask a few questions. Is your brother a co-POA for your mother's finances? Does he have guardianship/conservatorship? At some point perhaps before she became incompetent could she have signed an agreement with him? Do you think he's a criminal or is he sorely misguided?
Finally, show evidence that the trust and TOD changes are fraudulent to a trust and estate attorney. They will be able to work out the most effective and least costly plan to address your brother's activities.
That's not a criticism; these aspects of law are often complicated and require an attorney to assess, interpret, and advise.
You are also responsible that Mom, who may need medicaid assist sometime in the next five years is protected from being unable to get this because she has been gifting.
You POA consultation with an attorney is paid for by your POA. Hopefully YOU are the one on Mom's accounts now, the only one with checks for the account, and all banking entities are aware of this.
You say a living trust was recorded by the country. Trusts aren't recorded. They aren't probated, and that, quite frankly is a reason they are written.
Don't trust a Forum for important legal and financial and medical and monetary questions. There are some bright people here, but laws are unique to your area and you don't want to be left standing in court saying "The Forum said......". Make an appointment to discuss your POA. Take your Document. Have a list of questions. Ask the attorney how to manage you duties. Best of luck to you.
By the way, your brother could not add his name to any account with out your Mom's express permission and her being there. Discuss tomorrow with the bank. You say the banks would not help you. If you are Financial POA I don't get that. They are THERE to help you and guide you. So you definitely need to take your POA document to a lawyer and get help with reading it and understanding your duties and your obligations.