Follow
Share

Mom is 87 and in failing health but not yet into full dementia. A disreputable relative, out of the picture for years, re-emerged a while back and wormed her way back into my mother’s life by taking in my partially disabled brother. Now, my mother, whose savings are dwindling as we struggle with her healthcare and housing choices, is being “worked on” by this relative to send money for the care of my brother. Mom is probably not incompetent, but her judgment seems to be poor in this matter. The reality is, if Mom’s savings shrink much more and her health continues to decline, a nursing home away from her husband and dogs will be our only option. My sister and I are Mom’s POA, so our obligation is to protect her. Can this relative cause legal trouble for us or is the notarized Will and POA paperwork enough for us to refuse to hand over money because Mom is succumbing to this con artist?

Go to the bank with all your paperwork. Both of you go together. Explain you have to arrange the account so that one of your signature must appear on all withdrawals.

Then...take the bank card away from mom. I changed the PIN number. This prevents other ways of doing transfers.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to Katiekate
Report
katiekat2009 Jun 25, 2019
Take checkbook too.
(4)
Report
"...re-emerged a while back and wormed her way back into my mother’s life by taking in my partially disabled brother..." In my opinion, it was your relative's *choice* to take in your brother. Your mother, you and your sister are under no obligation to support this relative in her choices.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
Report

I can relate in great part, because after my other dropped dead suddenly, and Dad was in the hospital with cancer and Parkinsons's and was headed for a skilled level nursing home placement, a crazy aunt of ours who had always caused their family nothing but trouble surfaced. How do they learn of these situations? Anyway, Dad's Parkinsons made him suspicious of his own children, but somehow, not of Auntie, so when an attorney recommended I go to court and become his guardian, Auntie showed up at the hearing! She also told my attorney that Dad was going to protest this action, and when I learned that, I told the attorney I only wished Dad were well enough to appear. She had secretly written a long, rambling letter to the judge about how evil I was and was only after Dad's money, and I had to testify on the witness stand while still in deep grief for my Mother, who had been my best friend at the time. Anyway, fortunately, the Judge was used to "nuts" and treated Auntie with respect but granted me guardianship of the estate at the first hearing. Since she objected, he continued the matter to have a hearing on the guardianship of the person (where he would live, etc.), as she wanted to take him to her house and cook "cook, nourishing meals for him!" I'd been told by his doctor that if I quit my job and cared for him as I had offered to do, I'd kill him, as he needed PT and skilled nursing care, and I wasn't an RN and didn't have the equipment. Anyway, after two expensive hearings and lots of intense negative emotions, I was granted the guardianship. You may have to file for guardianship, too - I'd consult an attorney.
God bless and be with you. My faith helped me through a nightmare time in my own life.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to KBHKBH
Report
Jneeley Jun 25, 2019
Thank you. Your story is eerily close to mine. I suspect that an attorney consultation is in my future.
(0)
Report
These are the red flags of potential elder fraud and financial exploitation! RUN, do not walk, to protect your mother and yourselves. As part of a group of national elder justice advocates who spent World Elder Abuse Awareness Week meeting with elected officials, banking and finance executives, forensic investigators and others in Washington, DC, the tsunami of exploitation is upon us and getting worse. Unfortunately, our country has not prepared itself for the onslaught of greed that is surfacing in every city, town and state across America. Having a notarized will, POA and trust documents do NOT protect anyone these days as our elder justice system is broken. Get educated by googling elder fraud, guardianship abuse, courts of equity vs courts of law, and related terms. Bottom line: judges and attorneys are practicing medicine in a courtroom withOUT a license and the perpetrators are quickly learning how to work this system. Do not let any one tell you elder abuse/exploitation is a civil crime; it is criminal and there are statutes to back it up in every state! Problem is most law enforcement agencies have had their hands tied. Knowledge is Power and all of us who care about our seniors and our own generations who are aging need to get educated - we are all protected by the Constitution but this information has been "hidden" from us by the network of perpetrators and cottage industry professionals ranking in trillions of dollars from our loved ones.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Goldens4Love
Report
janeinspain Jun 25, 2019
How do you suggest pushing forward as a criminal matter if law enforcement / DAs tell you the issue is civil/probate? I agree there are elder abuse laws and that enforcing them is really broken, at least in teh county I'm dealing in. I recently read the excellent book "No Visible Bruises" which focuses on intimate partner domestic violence but much of which is applicable to elder abuse (coercive control, etc.). The book also makes the point that our justice system is set up to address specific incidents/actions, not processes or escalations of abuse that occur over time. Which also presents challenges. Thanks for any additional insight you can offer.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
I really do think this relative deserves some support for brother. Does he have Social Security Disability? Depending on how much he receives, she maybe entitled to some of that for room and board. If he is on SSD, he gets Medicare and Medicaid so may pay some copays.

What u need to do is explain that Mom has no money for his care. If he isn't on SSD maybe a good time to get him on it and find him "people" depending on his disabilities. My nephew gets help from the state for his housing and has a local Independent living program that helps him with everyday stuff.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

This is a serious problem. You have stated two things to us. One is that while her judgement is poor, your Mom is NOT incompetent. While she may have some early dementia, she is not incompetent. You have described her as having "poor judgement" and I think in my own opinion, you may be right. However, your true task as POA is to follow the directions of the person you are acting as fiduciary for as long as that person is capable of making choices and decisions, whether you agree with their judgement or not. My own read on POA seems to be a lot different than some answers below, but I recently took on Power of Attorney and Trustee of Trust for my brother, who is NOT demented, but who is diagnosed with a brain tumor and with early signs of Lewy's Bodies changes, and may BECOME demented in future. As I understand my duties, and I have read about four books by now and spoken with one lawyer who drew up our paperwork, I am to act on my brother's instructions and wants while is he is able to make decisions. That is to say if he instructs me to open a CD with the person being beneficiary being a person I dislike, if is on me to do as he instructs (and that has been the case). This is complicated, as your mother is acting in the interest of her own brother. I do not personally think that ANYONE takes over the care of a "disabled brother" in order to get money, because that is an awful lot to take on. And this may be the way your mother wishes her money to be spent. I don't see that you have any choice, other than to sit with her, and perhaps with a Licensed Social Worker or Elder Law Attorney, and discuss options, future needs she may have, etc. You will have to be very honest and forthcoming about your Mom's own needs for her own funds for her own future. What an awful dilemma you are all in, and I am so sorry for all you are going through. Due to the huge divergence of advice here I honestly think a call to the lawyer who drew up your paperwork is in order. No judge will want to hear you say "Well, on an online forum they said that....." In order for you to ignore the wishes of your mother she would have to be adjudged, by a doctor or two, according to your state laws, , as incompetent to make decisions in her own best welfare, and that has not been the case. So it is my opinion, if your mother wishes funds given to help her brother, and you refuse, you could face some charges as her fiduciary for failing to act on her wishes; you may actually LOSE GUARDIANSHIP, which could be assigned by a judge to a court appointed fiduciary (who would be paid out of your Mom's funds and with no say from family allowed) . On the other hand, those who said that medicaid qualifications can change if you have "gifted money" in the last 5 years are correct. I don't know if "helping support your disabled brother" is "gifting" but it sure is another reason to talk to a lawyer. And this appointment with an elder law attorney is money well spent in her protection, out of her funds. Make an appointment today would be my advice. This is complicated and messy sounding. I am hoping you will update us with what you learn as you go on, because this is crucial information. Wishing you the very best.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report
johnps30 Jun 25, 2019
Excellent advice especially about the important role of a caring social worker; having these kinds of difficult conversations is what they do! Find a way to interview a few who both you and your mom find fair and reasonable; the the three of you can talk to the other caregiver. Peace
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
As a mother with a disabled child I would feel so grateful that my child was being cared for that I would want to help and might be vulnerable to overlooking red flags.

BUT as an elder needing care myself I would Also appreciate guidance so as not to inadvertently cause more problems for myself and my child.

I will make some assumptions.
The brother has SSI.
The relative is taking care of him in exchange for the SSI. This is usually less than $1000 a month more like $750. Not a lot but there are many people making a living by caring for the disabled for their gov check.
Usually they have several in a home and the living conditions can be poor if not managed well.
This may or may not be what the relative is doing.
An assumption as I said.
Do any of you hear from brother and know that he is okay? When you said mom sends money I assumed he and the relative don’t live nearby.

If I were you I would try to educate mom that brother is vulnerable and so is she and her job is harder than “just” sending money. She needs to be sure she isn’t setting her son up for abuse.

When your mom passes, is brother in the will? If so an inheritance can cause him problems with his SSI. Please read the will and discuss this with the attorney and with mom. If he lost his SSI would the relative keep him?
Is the relative expecting a payday (through brother’s inheritance) when your mom dies? Possibly.

The attorney should be a certified elder attorney who works with Medicaid for the elderly and disabled.

The government has an interest in what she does with her money because she may need the gov to care for her in the future.
Her future care and her sons care depends on her doing the right thing.
I know, that sounds like manipulation but it is true.

Plus if the relative isn’t able to care for brother on the amount of money that he gets now, then perhaps he needs to be looking for another home where his funds are better managed.
Who has POA for brother?

Your ability to help your mom might be more successful when you let her see that you are also concerned for your brother’s welfare.
Rather than pushing her into the clutches of the relative, help her understand the ramifications of her actions.

Sorry if I have made too many assumptions.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to 97yroldmom
Report
Jneeley Jun 25, 2019
Actually, your understanding of the issues is very insightful and your feedback helpful. The relative in question, old enough to be drawing on her own Social Security, is also caring for her grandson who is mentally disabled. So, there are two sources of income from the state for disability plus social security. You are correct that my brother’s check is maybe $800 a month. My mom has been sending $300 a month, but that was supposed to stop when the disability checks start coming. The relative is now discussing costs and expenditures that seem to broadcast an ongoing need for Mom’s monthly stipend, so manipulation seems likely. Brother’s situation isn’t perfectly clear because some of it is a physical injury but he had severe ADD before it had a name and he’s 59 now, so he has odd communication issues. To my knowledge there is no PoA because he lived independently away from family for decades until this relative “rescued him” at Mom’s behest. . As for an inheritance for my brother, yes, but it was never more than $10,000 and grows smaller all the time with Mom having repeated falls and breaks and stints in rehab. Which is why I’m concerned about giving any of it away, but I completely understand a Mother’s love for her son, so the manipulation is very successful. I have thought it would be best to take a moderate tone with Mom and provide as many facts as possible about the ramifications from either choice. It is likely to be construed as threatening Mom with a nursing home if she gives money to the relative. Sadly, that will be the outcome.
(1)
Report
I think you need more clarity on your brother's situation.

He lived independently, then his injury and longstanding difficulties made his independence unsustainable, so the relative removed him from his home and took him to live with her. His benefit payments are now used to maintain him in her home.

But your mother's $300 per month. This was intended to be a temporary arrangement to tide him over new benefit applications, yes? When exactly did all this happen?

What I'm thinking is that unless your brother can be seen as being your mother's dependant, in some formal way, then the payments she's making for him are gifts; and they are going to be looked on as such by Medicaid, and you're going to run into trouble.

I am glad that you have been careful to note that continuation of your mother's habits and preferences is an important criterion in decisions you make with POA; so it is; but actually I don't think there'll be any option if you need to plan for a Medicaid application. She won't be able to continue the payments because she doesn't have the money.

Going back to your brother. When your mother asked her relative to "rescue" him, did your mother give her any assurances about financial support? If so, what were they? I don't suppose anyone put anything in writing, did they..?

Does your brother have mental capacity? Is he capable of making his own decisions? If so, is anyone talking to him about his future care? I appreciate that having a purposeful conversation with a person with ADD is not fun, but unless there's been some legal recognition to the contrary he remains responsible for his own welfare.

I wonder if the way to go is to tell your mother *she* needs to get legal advice on including provision for him in her own plans. The advantage to put to her is that this may lead to improved security for his long term, when she's no longer around to see to it.

I don't want to pry. But you introduced this relative as disreputable and a con artist. She is living on a pension, taking care of her learning disabled grandchild, and now taking care of a 59 year old man with a physical disability and long standing learning difficulty. Um. You know best, of course, she may just be in it for the money for all I know, but your view does come across as perhaps a little lacking in sympathy. Has she done anything to deserve it?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
Jneeley Jun 27, 2019
Your insights are great and I hope that I am wrong. The relative that concerns me has been convicted of embezzling funds from the VFW where she worked. The other law issues, misdemeanors, were all for bouncing checks. I don’t think she would abuse him, but the character shift to nurturer doesn’t ring true to any of the family. I think the postings about the interpretation of the role of PoA are right and I will talk to Mom. The Medicaid situation with the 5-year look back is a valid point, too. Thank you so much for spending your time to help.
(0)
Report
Just wondering, since her assets are dwindling, and a NH may be in her near future, how these payments to the relative will be viewed in a Medicaid application. Will they be thought of as gifts that will affect her eligibility? This could come back to bite her/you. I would do what you need to do to stop payments ASAP until you speak to a lawyer familiar with Medicaid.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to rocketjcat
Report

Get your mom tested a full evaluation is needed and you just may have your diagnosis. Be careful how you interact with this relative I would not threaten it may come back to bite you. Go the legal route.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to nanRoanoke
Report

See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter