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He has power of attorney to a mother in the early (not yet documented) stages of dementia. My father intended for all four children to be named as beneficiaries on all bank accounts. He is Mom's little pet and does most of the care. I am his back-up in the same house. The other day, he let on that he put his name as joint holder on Mom's account ($112,00 in it). He claims he has to because he will need the money to pay for her funeral. (A veteran's graveside. Just the cost of the wake is needed.) My mother is close to 90 and I told him there will be less than 20 people at the wake--which should be small and private. I feel that he is being shady. Is this a legit thing to do? How does this come into play if Mom has to go into a nursing home? Isn't that money viewed as a "gift" to him. Doesn't he have to pay tax on that gift? I don't trust him because he took Dad's car as his own when Dad died and has been in three fender benders in two years with it. He goes through cars like water and I'm thinking that he will buy himself another car (with Mom's cash of course because it's REALLY HERS) in a year or two.

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Thank you. Just wanted to be sure it was legit and that there wouldn't be trouble down the line. I was just a little shocked that I wasn't informed about the transfer. She does favor him and that is why I said what I said. Not all parents treat their children equally and that is why most of the burden falls upon him.
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I had a friend whose father was a veteran and buried in the VA cemetery. He thought the same thing about only having to pay for the wake--wrong! Friend was required to pay for the cremation of his father before he was interred in a niche. That can run into thousands. If your mother is to be buried, the casket must be paid for. The embalming, etc. must be paid for. If you hire a minister to speak, it must be paid for. The VA does NOT pay for the funeral prep etc so there needs to be money available for that besides the wake. An expensive wake up call for my friend, who had to borrow money from me to cover costs as he didn't have access to money in his father's account...
As Power of Attorney, your brother needs to have the ability to pay bills out of your mother's accounts. If he's doing a majority of the care, it sounds like he is not abusing his privilege at this point (think about how much you show your opinion of him with your description of him - mom's little pet). The money is not a gift to him unless he spends it on things not related to your mother's care. Having your name on an account is not a gift until the money leaves the account for something unrelated to your mother's care for Medicaid purposes. Medicaid if it does come into play and your mother requires a nursing home will want to see how all of your mother's expenses were covered and what she paid for. If all 3 of you are living in the house, expenses related to your brother and you will be scrutinized. And if Medicaid is needed, there will be *zero* left of the $112K account or her monthly income to maintain the house that you are both living in. You need to have mother's assets reviewed with an elder care attorney to make sure that you've documented the need for care for any exemptions to avoid a lien being placed on the house for care provided by Medicaid if a nursing home is needed.
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