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I would like to know if anyone out there is in a legal battle with siblings over money they stole from an elderly parent (suffering from dementia). Everyone tells you to take them to court but they don't realize the cost or the reality of the situation. I am discovering it myself but luckily, our lawyer is taking the case on a contingency basis. Short history, my mom was basically tricked out of every penny from mostly one sibling but the other was not innocent either. It happened over many years. There was even a report to DCF but that yielded pretty much nothing because my mom wasn't "homeless" (she is living with me) and at the time, still defended the siblings saying that they did whatever they did "for her own good."

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My mom had dementia and owned her own home. My niece and her boyfriend moved in with Mom to care for her and her home (Niece and Boyfriend lived rent-free for doing so, which my sisters and I were good with). One day my sister (Niece's mom) called me breathing fire. She told me she looked at Mom's bank statement and ALL Mom's money was gone--to the tune of thousands.

Side note: I live in another state from my family. Now, Sisters did a lot for Mom and I always felt guilty. In talking with another sister I occurred to me that I could take on Mom's finances long distance if Sisters got Mom to sign a DPOA to me.

Mom would never file charges against Niece and even if Mom wanted to she wouldn't recall any of it anyway. Niece admitted to my sister that she knew Mom wouldn't remember giving her any money. Heck, there were a few days, Niece took Mom to the bank twice a day!

I got the DPOA. I developed a monthly statement that accounted for every penny of Mom's monthly. All of us agreed Mom would pay Niece and BF's moving expenses out. Once I got the DPOA, I told Niece, from my mouth to her ears, Mom (her grandmother) was in a protected class of vulnerable elders by state law. If Niece took even a penny from Mom I WOULD CALL THE POLICE AND HAVE HER ARRESTED. Niece never took a penny again.

That was the best I could do.
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Reply to MountainMoose
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ssnow04 Jul 15, 2020
Wow, that sounds like an awful experience. Your niece was probably being coaxed by her boyfriend to do that. At least she took your warning. My OS will not do anything with any kind of warning and she has taken in the hundreds of thousands. Thank you for your story. I'm glad your mom has you watching over her.
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Husband’s brother got Durable POA and revised medical POA after MIL was diagnosed with dementia. Husband and sister kept asking for an accounting but brother claimed things were fine and the questions made him “nervous.” We moved back to the area and became more persistent in questions. Brother announced he was having her trust changed to put himself and his son in charge of all her money. We were able to get her to the attorney who finally realized she lacked sufficient awareness to make any changes. The attorney did agree to make the trust irrevocable with my husband in charge as her trustee. From there we went to the bank to learn that brother had helped himself to over $50,000. We contacted the state to report elder abuse, reported the theft to the police, and contacted an elder attorney. All agreed that it was virtually impossible to recover the money or prosecute as MIL could not (and probably would not) say anything against her baby. Husband went to Social Security to become her representative payee, and, because the POA was still outstanding, he went to court and was declared her legal guardian and conservator. All of this took six months and about $6,000. MIL was one of the lucky ones. She is now in a continuum of care facility and, at 97, we pray there is enough money left to last her lifetime.
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ssnow04 Jul 15, 2020
Boy, your story sounds so much like mine...awful. I now have guardianship along with reports to elder abuse, police and the elder attorney. Your husband's brother was probably broke or near broke....just a theory. I know my OS did what she did because of basically having no money from her bad financial choices in the past....so, she thought it was ok making my mom pay for her mistakes.
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Hi
It is a common situation - my mom has Alzheimers- and is in a full care facility- I witnessed multiple times my younger sibling writing checks to himself from her check book for gas, (he lived 2 miles from my mom's care home), expenses, groceries (my mom's mini fridge was always empty) misc, etc.
He had her credit card, check book, and debit card -every time I went to visit and take her out she wanted to pay or offer and had nothing . Her private nurse told me that "your mom doesn't have any money ever" My dad left her well off -I live out of the country. My brother said he kept her cards and check book to protect her from her nurse who he didn't trust. He fired the nurse and told me she quit. What he didn't know was that she called me every week to update me and told me they fired her weeks before his story.
My mom's nurse said my mom wanted to go out and pay for stuff but didn't know where her debit card was ...
my father who passed four years prior would have been livid if he knew what my brother was doing - two brothers - they helped themselves to her account, said they took her to appointments (hearing aids) never once did in four years - and it goes on and on - I found out and asked about it only to be cussed out and told that I am not there and have no business interfering-
so now we are estranged basically -
so
it get's ugly- I have had a daughter who has had 13 leg and ankle surgeries in the last four years and have been rehabbing her - I wish I could be closer as I am a great caregiver - disgusted in them
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Reply to LuluRoxy
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ssnow04 Jul 14, 2020
Thanks so much for your story. It is awful how some siblings start thinking that it is their right to mom or dad's money just because. My parents scrimped and saved their entire life for a good retirement and look at my mom now...on medicaid and otherwise just a few dollars in her account.
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Nationwide issue. Watch Netflix Dirty Money episode Guardian Inc., read Dr. Sam Sugar’s book Guardianship The Elderly The Perfect Crime, Google cases like Besse Owens from Detroit, Harold Jackson Detroit, Voice Advocates Michigan, documentary Guardian in Las Vegas etc. Look up legal abuse syndrome, undue influence, undue process by Probate Judges in vulnerable elder and adult disabled guardianship info.
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Reply to LCPELC
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ssnow04 Jul 15, 2020
Thank you. I actually just watched the Netflix episode....very shocking to say the least. I will read up on the other items you noted. My OS really didn't have POA (until later) or guardianship, but she still managed to finagle everything out of my mom....my mom was very dependent and thought everything being done was for her so she would sign anything you put in front of her. I was granted guardianship after my mom lost everything but at least I don't have to worry about OS getting her claws in my mom's monthly income.
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My experience here in Canada is that financial crimes are rarely prosecuted and even if they are it is very rare to have and of the stolen funds returned. You may get a judgement, but collecting is very difficult.

We almost lost our business and house when an employee who was also a family friend stole over $60k from us. She also did not make remittances to the CRA and we faced huge fines and penalties. She was the company bookkeeper.

We had proof, but needed a forensic audit, $25k to provide the proof to the RCMP.

Good Luck.
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Reply to Tothill
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ssnow04 Jul 14, 2020
I believe that is true here too so I am prepared to get nothing for my mom, but it is a matter of trying to get some justice....just a smidge of it. If it is even possible. I wish there were more protection for vulnerable adults. As I said, the DCF was pretty much useless. Anyway, thanks again for responding. Take care.
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My OB basically robbed my parents blind. He stole their silver, Indian Artifacts, coin collections, tools, cars, anything of value. When he had cleaned them out of tangible things, he talked them into getting a Home Equity Line on their home (their only asset). This is back in 1997-98--he took $200K--which then was a LOT of money.

The rest of us 5 sibs knew nothing about this until YB finished the apartment on his home that was to house mom and dad for the remainder of their lives. The plan was that they'd pay off YB's home and he'd not ask any monetary recompense for taking care of them forever.

What a shock. The house was sold and Mother and Dad netted less than $60K where they should have had almost $300K. YB was never made whole--but we as kids all pitched in and helped as much as we could---but it was a real nightmare.

OB felt completely fine about doing this. It was unbelievable. Of course all the money was long gone....did we even talk about going after him? No, b/c he was the golden boy and mother wouldn't allow it.

It was her call, as it was her money--and dad was too deep into Parkinson's dementia to understand what had happened.

In this case as in so many, you have to weigh the possibility of getting the money back against the emotional cost. To mother, who loved OB with an almost sick fascination--this was clearly not the thing to do.

OB died, completely destitute about 8 years ago.

She and dad were the ones who suffered. YB was eventually made whole, but not immediately. When mother dies, we all inherit the same amount. It's a very small amount. As I have done a LOT of CG for mom, I may or may not accept my 'inheritance'..or I may simply give it to YB. She's been there 22 years. Daddy lived for 8 years there.

Mother is sliding into dementia, but she is still 'with it' enough to not bring up OB's name in conversation. He left enough pain and hurt behind him to last us all a lifetime.

Each situation is unique--and also the same. I have 5 kids and I cannot IMAGINE any one of them doing something so horrible. Mother has a real blind eye when it comes to this brother.

Whatever you decide, I wish you luck. There really is no 'right' nor 'wrong' in a case like this. Just 'awful' and 'slightly less awful'.
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Reply to Midkid58
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ssnow04 Jul 12, 2020
Thank you so much for your story, and I am truly sorry you had to go through that too. It sounds like it was almost too late to try and recover anything for your parents. You are right, they are the ones who suffer. My mom used to feel grateful that she had kids "taking care of her." Now, she never even mentions OS and OB. There is always a golden child, and my OB was it, but he wasn't as guilty as OS. In our case, there is still something to recover as she thought it was ok to rob my mom blind and then buy 2 houses with that money. I think the advice I would give anyone going into their golden years with adult kids: take a good look at your kids each one, their history with managing money and a true look at their character before deciding on which one to trust as a POA. My child is disabled so I will be taking care of him for his life, not the other way around. It is not against the rule book to have an income trust or special needs trust set up and a care plan for yourself. My OS did something I couldn't see coming (we tend to give a sister or brother the benefit of the doubt) but at the same time, she had filed for bankruptcy, had three bad divorces, and is quite the spendthrift. My mom was her only way to hijack the life she wanted back.
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Glad you are getting legal help; so many come to the forum asking what to do, and often legal is the only route, and yes, is it EVER expensive. Hope you will update us on the outcome and provide any information you think might be helpful to other caregiver families.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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ssnow04 Jul 12, 2020
Thank you, I will. I feel a little alone on this. I hope there are people on this forum that have had this experience.
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Your situation and that of others on here are enough to make me want to spit fire. I just have to say, though, that the way I understand it is that your attorney while working on contingency does not get his fees if you don't get anything. However, what about his costs? Sometimes those are passed along to the client (forensic accountants, filing fees for complaints, expert consultations, etc.) You may want to read your contract.

Also, just to share the misery, my friend's sister is the "golden child," an animal hoarder with over 100 potbelly pigs, who are making more pigs as we speak. Friend's mom is 87 and wanted to live with sister, who lives like a hoarder lives. Between my friend's mom's social security and sister's disability they net about $2200 per month. They are spending $2000 per MONTH on pig food and supplies. I kid you not. My friend, who does the bookkeeping is fit to be tied as she has had to pay mom's food bills, sister's property tax (because mom lives there), but there is nothing she can do about the money hemorrhage because mom won't cut off sister ("poor thing, she can't support herself"), and won't move to Florida to be with my friend in a nice house. She would ather live in squalor in Pig Central in a crappy part of the California Central Valley and be watching over sister (who ignores her unless she needs money). People are nuts but seem to do whatever they want.
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Reply to Maryjann
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ssnow04 Jul 16, 2020
They definitely do what they want. My mom was that way...defending OS and OB. Now, she doesn't even mention their names. The sad part in all of this is that my mom, your friend's mom, and nameless others will never have the retirement / end of life comforts that they saved their life for. Thanks for your story.
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Imho, that is indeed unfortunate. So even though my one sibling is an attorney, I found him to be using some of our late mother's finances to pay for his half of an item that we had covered our half on - whether it was just a simple "slip up," I caught it and then he paid his rightful share.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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ssnow04 Jul 16, 2020
Thank you, it is unfortunate but now I know that she cannot be trusted ever. I'm sorry about your situation too. Take care
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Sorry but you can not win.

My brother in law has stolen over 500 thousand dollars and I am supposed to smile because he is so cute. By the way he is 60 years old with a 25 year old phillopino bride.
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Reply to Jenmckenzie
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ssnow04 Jul 16, 2020
That is probably true. Did your brother in law steal from his own mother that much? That is unbelievable, just like my OS, how they can justify taking that amount. I am very sorry to hear about that.
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