My brother appointed himself POA and has all mum's money in his own private bank account with no safeguards. Any advice?

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Worried here. My mother had a severe stroke and she was diagnosed with vascular dementia plus the global major stroke which caused her short term memory and ability to make decisions impossible. Yet my oldest brother decided to appoint himself POA and put all of Mum's money into his own private bank account thereby keeping mum's pension intact. I worry that if anything happens to him (he's 66 and has had bypass surgery) that the money will be lost forever. After Mum's stroke we agreed TWO of us were to be POA, not one but he has "forgotten" that and my other brother and I were not consulted about his decisions. My sister in law is greedy and ignored Mum for 40 years but in the last few months has paid her a lot of attention, that worries me. I feel we need to safeguard the money for Mum, and for all of us re inheritance as I feel it is at risk of abuse and theft. But I can't be too heavy handed to start with as maybe, just maybe my brother is doing all this for noble reasons. He took Mum in against my will (she has wandered off before and gotten lost) but lives in a gated community so she is okay there for now but she will be going into a nursing home very soon. I promised Dad to make sure Mum and the money was safe and I feel I am letting him down but my resources are limited (my brother is very wealthy, I am far from that) so I really don't know where to start to change all this. Please advise, anyone, I would be so grateful.

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APS in the US is one common acronym for Adult Protective Services. I hope there is an Australian equivalent.

It sounds like you have no safeguard at all other than the good intentions of your brother and sister-in-law...and unless people from Down Under are WAY different than the rest of us, money and the lure of money have turned siblings into enemies way too many times. And now he's also got the fact that he has been the caregiver to justify his actions, though if I understand correctly it was on his/SIL's watch that Mom wandered off and could have died. You may want to keep your suspicions quiet for the time of your vacation, but beyond that, only if you don't "need" any of that inheritance you were expecting.

In America, POA are public documents in general and you need to see what is in hers..if there isn't one, at this point someone ought to be the equivalent of a guardian, someone will have to be designated as executor (do you have the will or an estate plan document?) and everything should be transparent. Surely brother can't fault you for wanting good legal documentation and wanting to make sure Mom's money is set aside first for her care if anything happens to him. If he objects to that, it's time to "lawyer up," as we say here in the colonies.
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APS = Adult Protective Services

Here in US, there are all kinds of governmental agencies to protect elders from financial abuse (any kind of abuse), even from their own children. So likely there is some form of agency there that can help you investigate the situation?

I think I understand more clearly now about what your brother did with mom's money. It wasn't just that he added his name (as POA) to mom's accounts, but he took the money into his own account that does NOT bear your mom's name? Right? Yeah, thats not how its supposed to be done… because of the very things you are concerned about. If something happens to him, its now up to SIL to give you your rightful inheritance. Not good.
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HI all thanks for the replies. Well my SIL has not had ANYTHING to do with my mother for 40 years - and their care of her is very temporary, it was and is always going to be temporary as she is going into a nursing home any time now. I am in Australia so I don't know what APS is but whatever it is we probably have something similar. I am worried simply as my brother has had bypass surgery and has a bad heart and there are no safeguards on my mother's assets. I think he could well have mum's best interests at heart but was heavy handed in his approach without approaching his siblings for their thoughts or ideas, something he has been very upset about if he thought he wasn't consulted about things. My brother is more the caregiver temporarily as my sister in law works and my brother does all the housework etc. She dictates the rules and he obeys them. I want to believe the best but I worry that things are hidden, kept secret with no security for my mother should something happen to my brother. I think mum could well have signed him to be POA but we had agreed, the three siblings that two of us should be as a safeguard, something the older brother has ignored. I have no original documents or even proof that he is POA, but he has all Mum's money so that tells me a lot. That's a $700,000 windfall for him...if worst case scenario. I just want Mum to be secure as long as she lives and then, I want my and my other brother's inheritance secure and safe.
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Alison may be right, but it is usually best practice to keep the person's money in a separate account that the POAs can all access AND be easily able to document all expenses. And gladimhere is also right, a person does not appoint themselves POA, they are appointed in a document that spells out their duties and responsibilities as well as their powers. If they get Mom to change the POA to just brother, you will be out in the cold and it will be very uphill if you supsect fraud or theft is occurring. It would not be valid, legally, given her obvious legal incapacity, but that might not stop them from getting her signature on a new document. I'm assuming you have a copy of or the original signed POA documents, and well, you have the news story...here's hoping you don't have to go there.
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Just a few random thoughts/points that are meant to be helpful, I hope they are…

Elder attorneys advised me that it is better an individual is POA/guardian, not more than one. So as long as you can do a "gut check" and know that your bro will always have mom's best interest at heart, then leave well enough alone. The fact he took your mom in is a sign of great giving, although he may not even be aware of that himself just yet. Your "greedy" SIL is about to experience what its like to be a live in caregiver… its a lot of work, depending on condition your mom is in. There should always be FINANCIAL RECORDS for you to have access to and review, so don't get all squirmy thinking mom's life savings will somehow disappear into thin air. It doesn't work like that, there will be paper trail. Don't judge too harshly the decisions your bro makes regarding mom's care. I think its very likely he's doing best he can think to do. That's my take. Good luck!
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Joanna-
Only you can decide what is appropriate. I have been to h*** and back in my situation and nothing would have been resolved without the APS. And it was my siblings that called to have me investigated! They thought I was taking money, when APS was here I couldn't believe it and wonder what they had conjured up related to emotional or physical abuse. I never even dreamed it was financial. And everything they reported were lies! So, I have been there and back, now siblings are being investigated.

There is no way that your brother would have found it necessary to deposit mom's money to his personal account. Absolutely no reason for it, and if it is found, then he will answer to charges of some type whether it be through APS or when you mother has to go on Medicaid to fund her care. Medicaid will implement a penalty period equal to the amount that was taken from her accounts and it will either need to be repaid to her in the form of paying for her care in a facility or each sibling pay an equal portion. This is covering up for your brother, whether you look at it that way or not.

Have a good vacation, enjoy yourself.
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File a police report and have the bum arrested. Better yet talk to the District Attorney (US) or Crown Prosecutor (UK). There are proper legal channels for guardianship in both countries and neither allows a POA to grab all assets and put them in his name. A felony has been committed and must be reported to authorities. Failure to do so is complicity with the crime.
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Well I don't want to make my brother hate me forever (although I fear this will be the case) as we have been close in the past. Last year (at the time my mother had the stroke) he was on vacation with my husband. My mother is definitely brain damaged and that has been proven by extensive testing and neurology reviews. I want to approach with an empathy plea first and then remind him of our agreement and how we need to protect my mother, yet he would say he is protecting her by maintaining her old age pension by hiding her money in his care. I cannot believe the Government would not discover this anyway. Unfortunately I am about to go on a two week vacation - long planned before this happened - so I can't really take action till my return. He seems to think it's okay what he has done and I actually asked him what happens to the money if something happens to my brother and he shrugged. Sorry but that doesn't cut it with me. I need to calm down though and approach it in a Dr Phil way - logic and cut to the chase but without being offensive or aggressive. I thought I had been through hell and back with my mother's stroke and then disappearance on the streets for 36 hours (this brother was away) - yes police, dogs and helicopters were involved in this. A television plea helped find her and apart from pneumonia that nearly killed her, we were lucky she survived. After a whole day had passed we were hoping she had died of a heart attack (rather than murdered), although it sounds dramatic, Mum was 84 and had just had the stroke so we were expecting the worst. Every week brought drama. My brother's wife has a "vitamins and love will cure all" approach and actually took it on herself to cancel a security rehabilitation centre (for her own good from the wandering tendencies) without informing anyone. I reinstated it and my sister in law and her kids hate me for it. Said I had given up on my mother - well I took what the experts said, along with love and knowledge of my mother to heart and believed in what I did for her own good. I don't believe love and vitamins can cure a major global stroke in my mother along with her vascular dementia. I wish it was possible but I am a realist. My mother was my best friend and I see so many differences now it's heartbreaking. My brother could easily get my mother to sign anything and she would trust him. I don't but I trust his wife less (she is high maintenance big spending, elitist narcissist) and my brother may well seem to justify taking it all as he is retired now and doing quite well but is taking mum around to nursing homes and appointments. Would justify it by saying what have my other brother and I (who work full time and probably could never afford to retire) done. Oh this is a fine mess and I really hate this situation and my limited resources to financially fight it.
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You might think this heavy handed, but I would call APS. How can brother appoint himself? Mom would have had to sign something. Did he use undue influence to have her sign something? Have you seen it. If there is something funny going on an APS investigation will stop it. Money will have to be returned to your mom. But it may take a court order to be able to access mom's bank records.
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