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My Aunt who is a few weeks from 100 is in the first stages of Dementia - when she gave me POA, the doctors said she was clear and lucid. I have been co-owner on her bank accounts. Over the past year she has directed me to spend a large sum of money ($70,000) - the bank called Adult Protection Services; they had a hearing - the court ordered a temporary Conservator, the state also appointed a Guardian ad litem and an Attorney for her - all of their fees are coming out of her savings ($153,000) plus the court ordered a bond at the hearing which is also coming out of her savings. She told her appointed attorney that she did not want a temporary conservator (who she must also pay for). The court over ruled her attorney- so while the state investigates whether I mis-managed funds, her small savings is being depleted. The psychological exam to test whether she was incapacitated was administered at a time she was not feeling well and since her education is very limited- she did not perform well. I petitioned the court to place her savings in pool special needs trust, if they feared I would touch her funds, plus this would allow her to receive Medicaid- that also was ignored. It is like the state is just taking her money and using the fact that I spent funds as directed as an excuse. What can the family do with limited funds to stop the state from doing this?

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Barb, remember with a conservator, BLee cannnot just hire an attorney for her aunt and get them paid with aunt's funds. The slow wheels of investigation by APS will move forward. If the withdrawals were for CASH or a check to niece, that's what has caused the s*storm. It's common for people to pay PCA's cash, under the table, to avoid the tax liability for them and for the PCA. That's fine as long as you are not using a "vulnerable elder with dementia" money that may have had capacity when appointing POA but may not have it now. As a POA, you are responsible for keeping receipts and/or logs of expenses to prove that monies spent were for their benefit. You are responsible for not being seen as being enriched or gifted by the person you care for (i.e. travel with all expenses paid by the aunt would be seen as gifting and taking advantage of the elder unless you were being paid salary and paying taxes on the money). The elder's benefit means making sure that aunt will eventually qualify for Medicaid (when you need to be able to prove that all expenses were spent for the benefit of the elder). Even if a special needs trust is set up, if aunt has been paying for travel etc. for $70,000 in the last year and niece could not quickly produce receipts/documentation, aunt will be hit with a hefty Medicaid penalty. If the monies to repair house were paid in cash and there are not any receipts for the repairs, APS will want to see a lot of documentation for the house repairs. If the house is NOT in aunt's name but has been deeded to niece or someone else, the repairs were a gift to the family member and not repairing property that aunt owns. $70,000 is not small savings to have spent in a year without being able to provide quick receipts and documentation. $153,000 spent in court fees etc. is absolutely not small savings. If there is STILL money available, then the activity for the bank account is what is suspect. If the $70K plus in withdrawals for the last year since niece POA was appointed is not a usual pattern of spending? that's why the bank alerted APS. Niece would be best served not to fight conservator, but rather to come up with documentation and lists of how ALL the monies were spent with names, dates, places, and how it was for the benefit of aunt, not the rest of family....
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From your answer, it sounds like your purpose in spending the $70k was to work on using up her assets so she would not have any left (she has no children, there was no concern about the heirs). Having the state eat up the money does that as well, though not as you thought it would play out. How much in assets are we talking about, before the state started spending? Is it worth your time to fret about this, or is it better to cut the financial ties and be supportive so when she has a conservator, you are not barred from seeing her? Do you have your own attorney?

Mthr had several large withdrawals from her account that others "borrowed" from her, and only when we showed up and started going through her bank statements did the *bank manager* bring us a check for the whole amount mthr had "loaned" to her "daughter." Your bank was doing what was right by reporting the large withdrawals and protecting all elderly, not just a select few.
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When APS came calling, were you not able to demonstrate that the money was used for her care and maintenance?
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Over the course of the year - she needed work on her house, plus I had to pay for PCA after she had a stroke and needed 24 hours care. I admit that some decisions were not wise - like we traveled to see other relatives a few times - I wanted to provide her with as many experiences as possible- since she had no children, I felt she should enjoy all her money whiled she was living and no leave it for others to enjoy. Now the state will eat it up in fees.
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The obvious answer would seem to be that you hire your aunt an attorney. What did she tell you to spend 70k on? Did that seem wise at the time, given that she has limited means?
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