89 year old mother is being manipulated by my brother. What can I do?


My 89 year old mother gifted me $42000 in Nov of 2017 which I transferred electronically from her BoA account to my BoA account. She gave the same amount to my brother via check. She lives in his house in TX and I live in AZ. Since then she has been declining mentally even though she still thinks she is "with it". He has been manipulating her to return my portion of the money since he cares for her and needs it for her medical expenses. I really know it is for him. He has not held a full time job in 20 years and is a freeloader living off her retirement benefits. He will not let me speak to her since he controls all access to her and is at time abusive towards her and makes her cry. My mother gave me full durable POA in July of 2017 giving me the right to manage her finances but I have heard horror stories of banks not accepting POAs especially when it comes to electronic transfers of money. He has always hated me for my special relationship with my mom and is now turning her against me. I am at my wits end. What can I do to protect the money that my mom gave to me since he is now basically trying to steal it?



I suggest going to an elder law attorney. Medicaid and nursing homes look at everything and they look back five years. The IRS has rules as to gifting and taxes. I would contact the Dept of Human Services and the Area Agency on Aging. I think your situation is complex and difficult with your mother living in another state. There is a reason for your brother to be acting in such a manner. Remember, your mothers safety and welfare are paramount. I wish you and your mother the best. Sorry, I could not help you more with the information given. But, I recommend going to the professionals who can provide guidance and help in your situation.
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Reply to rose122

VinnieG, you have not given enough information to enable solid answers and that's why you've gotten more good questions than answers. But, If your brother really is abusive to your mother, I think your first concern should be getting her away from that situation, and, if necessary, adult protective services should be called.

Secondarily, probably your mom did not need to pay a gift tax for the gifts to you and your brother because there is a lifetime exemption of about $5.5 million, but gifts exceeding $14,000 need to be declared on her tax return, regardless, and there may be future consequences to taxes on her estate, so I hope she knows what she's doing. And there are lots of other questions (some asked by others), e.g. Is she legally competent to give gifts? Will she likely need Medicaid assistance? (Gifts will come back to bite.) How is it that you have her financial DPOA, but aren't allowed to talk to her? Does anyone have her health care DPOA? Does your brother get paid board and room and for providing her care? (Depending on the care needed, that alone can be the equivalent of 4 or 5 full-time jobs, which is primarily why care in facilities costs so much, e.g. $3,000 to $12,000 per month).
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Reply to bicycler

Vinnie, I was thinking the same thing as Barb above, the IRS will be looking for a "gift tax". And I am not sure how IRS would view the $42k that you got, as passive income or not. Was this money from an Revocable Trust? The regular gift limit is usually $15k for each child from each parent. Not sure how current this all is due to the recent U.S. Tax Reform.

Unless your Mom has millions in stocks/savings, then there could be a huge issue later down the road. Since we don't have a crystal ball, what if your Mom had a serious medical issue where she needed to go into skilled long-term-care. Where I live, it cost $12k a month for the basics. Hopefully your Mom could be self-pay for a year or more.

If not, then Medicaid would need to be brought in to help her with the payments. BUT Medicaid sees that Mom had "gifted" $84,000 to her children.... oops. Medicaid wouldn't help Mom with the cost of her nursing home until that $84k was deducted from Medicaid, that's more than a half a year. Mom no longer has the money? Then what?

Regarding the bank, I had zero problems being placed on my Dad's checking and saving accounts so I could write checks for him. What I did was take Dad to his bank and the bank manager chatted with Dad to get a feel that this was his idea, etc. She did make a copy of the Financial Power of Attorney. Dad's POA was like 17 pages long, so everything under the sun was covered. It was drawn up by an "Elder Law Attorney".
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Reply to freqflyer

Does your mother have lots of money left? If your brother is the one providing the care, he will need money to care for her. I took care of my mom and it is expensive depending on what the needs are... Luckily my mom had the money to cover her care. None of us took funds before her death... you never know if they will need a higher level of care. Now that mom has passed, her remaining funds will be split between her 3 children.
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Reply to Grammyteacher

Does she pay Brother for the care he provides?
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Reply to jeannegibbs


You're mom's POA and and you made a transfer of 42K from her account to your account.

Did mom pay gift tax on these gifts?

Is there a chance she will need to apply for Medicaid in the next 5 years, or is she quite wealthy?

I generally would suggest calling Adult Protective Services to report financial and emotional abuse, but you're going to get caught in that net as well.

Hopefully someone else has a good answer.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn