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I love and trusted my sister and her husband but found out they have stolen all of my mothers money for the past 16 years, except for a trust account which has me and my sister's name on it. But she has stolen way more than her half. She also has a credit card in my mothers name that is maxed out. Charged vacations. computers, gas, haircuts etc... to the tune of $14,000. and was paying the minimum every month from my mothers checking account.
She is in a home since Aug and I hired her elder care lawyer to get her on medicaid, she just got approved. But from Aug till January the bill is $53, 000. and the home is trying to get me to pay half. Over the course of the 16 years I calculate my sister took over $300,000. dollars and doesn't admit to any of it.
I see this as credit card fraud and elder financial abuse.
I'm out of work and need some legal help here.
One other thing is my mother has no clue what's been done to her.
Do i tell her?

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What is is hard about many of these stewardship decisions is that who is the most stable changes over time. We have thought long and hard to pick our first set of god parents for our children. They were good people at the time and willing to take on the care of our kids. One is down and out by serious alcoholism and another is in jail. So when we wrote our will we put a different family at the top of our list for guardianship. Now the mom is very ill with Rheumatoid arthritis. We need to continually revisit these decisions and make sure they are valid. Especially at a life changing event.
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Great to vent though on here. Has helped out alot.
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My parents made my brother the joint owner on their stock believing that the stock would be governed by their will upon their deaths. Unfortunately, they didn't show the actual certificates to the attorney because the way it was set up gave my brother equal ownership. When my dad died my brother and mother had a falling out and when she asked him to take his name off of the stocks he refused stating that my father put him in charge of the stock in order to take care of her. So when my mother dies my brother will legally own all of the stock and my mother has to trust that he will divide the stock honestly. She has reworked her will to try to cope with the situation because she has three daughters to worry about too. I can tell everyone on here not to involve your children in your financial business by putting their names on private assets. It is a big mistake and sends the wrong message to all of the children. My mother could sue and probably get my brother's name off of the stock because he didn't earn them, but she feels as I do that it would be wrong to sue your own child. It just is such a mess. This all goes back to my parents enabling my siblings who are drinkers and overinvolving them in their finances. Not a good idea!
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There is a lot of grieving to get through.
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I love every leprechaun in my family! (The unicorns are kind of messy, though).

It is natual that dysfunctional families are disproportionately represented on forums such as this one. Functional families are often moving forward under their own power and may not think of reaching out to a community of strangers. But I assure you, their are people from well-functioning families on here, and in our culture.
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Linda I don't see that kind of family dynamic on here that often. When My mother got sick with cancer she was still working & had to pay alot to continue health coverage. The dr. gave her 3 months she lived 3 years. My dad is still alive and healthy and they went through all there savings in that 3 years so I can see how fast it's gone I was her main caregiver. both my sisters work but, they stopped everyday and my moms sisters were there everybody took turns bringing food in & doing anything to help. Now 5 years later have the MIL here since Dec. before we got her checks straightened up for the last year my oldest sister n law was buying her medicine & suppose to be paying all her bills. Well when we went to bank in Dec. there should have been 2 months worth of checks because MIL was in hospital & NH. The acct. was empty she had been giving MIL roomate 300.00 for past 2 years to help with bills and pocketing the rest. SIL is still mad at all of us and acts crazy saying she didnt do anything wrong. Then in March we had a 2009 heart dr. bill that was 900.00 that was going to be turned into collections when I went to call bank someone had deposited 700.00 in her acct. Her daughter let me know it was her mom, Even though she didnt spend any of her moms money. Why would you give 700. back... She is weird anyway after 16 years I can see how Bobs sister used all of Moms money. Its not hard if you are living with them and taking good care of them.
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By the way, Linda, thank so much for sharing what you have experienced and how your family managed it. I'm very impressed and welcome the information.
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Linda: Good for you and your extended family. You and your mom all have a great attitude. Blessings to you. Cattails.
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I currently live with my kids in my mom's home with the understanding that I can live here rent free through my son's graduation in 3 years. This is the agreement with my brothers that I had to have to be willing to move myself in here to take care of mom. She may live one year, she may live eight. I found it important to be clear with my siblings the level of stability I expected to upheave my family to help Mom. I understand that every dollar I save mom, saves me only 33 cents as that dollar in the end will be split 3 ways. I often talk to my brothers before I do something to change our lifestyle such as hiring a care giver so I can go to my sons track meets. Or hiring a care giver to shower mom so I can go back to work. Sometimes we agree that it is an expense that should be mine and we log it as coming out of my third of the trust in later times. Same thing happens when they need help. Sometimes it is for their kids and we decide to all split it and other times we agree it goes on account for our day of reckoning.

Nearly all the discussion and fights that happens to folks on this site come from people who are angry that their parent's nest egg is only enough to take care of the parents and not an inheritance as they had hoped for. Functional families try to figure out how to share the work and care in a way that the resources go as far a possible. My brothers realize that I am losing pension and salary for doing this work. We are depositing money into my retirement even though I am on leave from my job so I do not get too far behind. Luckily for me my kids are getting old enough that they have begun to share some of the babysitting aspect of the care so it is actually currently getting a little better for me. I have negotiated with my brothers that they can get paid the same wage they would have picked up watching the neighbors kids.
The key is we must keep talking and saying what we feel and worry about.
My grandpa remarried for the third time and took his new bride on $100,000 worth of vacations. The nshe did $100,000 worth of remodeling of her home, and finally, she paid for her granddaughter college. I know the bitter feeling of someone spending the money you thought would come to you. It is a bitter pill. But it is their choice. At that time I realized I did not want to travel with grandpa, or wash his clothes or make his dinner, and I certainly did not want him living in our home... so I understood when my mom said, just consider how well Lillian loved and cared for Grandpa and let it go.
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Linda: I think I understand your point. If parents spend all their money having their life and enjoying it, in this case also leaving a trust to two children, and then the taxpayers get to pick up the tab for the rest of their care, is that what it's all about?

I've never been in a position where my parents had anything to leave. I've taken care of them for 7 years this October. My mom has passed away and my dad had a major stroke this past July and now lives under our roof and needs 24/7 care.

It's often a question of normal for each individual. What they have acquired, how they live, how they spend. Having a parent in your home for 16 years has got to be a sacrifice and I can see how two households become one. You see that too.

I think the trust should go to mom's continuing care via taxpayers. Seems fair, but what do I know.
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We pay for social security to keep mom and dad off the streets and in safe housing, once their life's work is done and they have outlived the resources of their lifetime of work.
I like the line in the Descendents "We want to give the kids enough money that they can do something good, not so much that they can do nothing"
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Good summary, Linda.
I want to point out that "we taxpayers" included Mother and probably Father for many, many years. Mother is not benefitting from something she never helped pay for.
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"except for a trust account which has me and my sister's name on it. But she has stolen way more than her half."

Until mom dies-- it is all moms......

You can not divide an unknown by 2 and get a number... you still get an unknown. Who am I? A math teacher.

This is what I see. Mom got a regular check and had some savings. The daughters are fortunate that the family formed a trust to shelter some assets. The trust is untouched. The mother ate and enjoyed life while living in sisters house. The mother and daughter had a life together that was no one but mom's business. Getting old is not cheap. Now the money that was lose in the saving is gone and the regular income is not quite adequete to cover the costs of the higher level of care that mom is getting, so the family has hired a lawyer to help them apply for tax money to pay for mom's care.

They have successfully achieved that goal and mom's bills forever after are not their care, we tax payers will be paying that bill through social security and medicare. The trust is intact so now they have a numerator for their fraction and they can divide by two. They have two outstanding bills. The nursing home and the credit card. They can go to a lawyer or arbitration to settle who pays each of those expenses. Or actually since they are all in mom's name and she has been declared a ward of the state they will be expunged. So roll with it however you want.
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Billmo: This is hush hush. Can't say anymore.
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Billmo: Linda.
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Bob this could be credit card fraud and elder financial abuse. Ask your lawyer what he or she thinks. Also, did your sister take care of your mom for the past 16 years? If so did they have an arrangement for you sister to get gifts? I think everyone would like to know where your mother was the past 16 years.

Sounds as if you have been left in the dark a bit. If your sister was taking care of your mother, that doesn't mean she could just take things unless your mother approved. That is just stealing.

And in most states you are not responsible for your parent's nursing home bill. There is a law called the filial law in some states where they will try to collect. But I am sure it is from those with wealthy children and large estates.

Let us know more, this is interesting. Good luck
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billmo: She's with the FBI.
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Cattails, I think she is talking about the trust. Not many sons and daughters wind up with any kind of inheritence when their parents go on medicaid, so these two are fortunate in that regard.
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Linda: Read the post again.
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A friend' mother had a major stroke about 5 years ago. She now lives with a Granddaughter who provides 24 hour care. All the woman has is her social security, but my friend and her husband made the comment, "Yeah, I'm sure they use her social security." Now, my friend and her husband are retired and have a very nice retirement income, well over $100,000.00 per year. And they are complaining that her mother might spend some of her SS in the household that provides 24 hour care for her. WTF is wrong with some people?

Cattails.
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Boy it really makes me sad when I read all the stories of families being torn apart when it comes to taking care of a loved one!!!! It sounds like from so many stories I read here that the people doing all the care taking are the ones that get "ganged up" on by the people who just sit by & don't do anything to contribute to any of the care that our loved one needs. It seems like people fight over EVERYTHING,from money to just everyday normal things. The ones who seem to care so much about the money are the ones who never stop by just to see how the person is doing,to give them a hug or take them on a little outing even if it's only for a few hours. I sure wish people could get their priorities straight. It could be, & should be,so much easier than all this!!!!!!!
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If someone (besides me) were taking care of my husband as he is now for 16 years, they would have spend $416,000 in drugs alone. (I did that for over a year and then got him qualified for Medicaid.) Bob, you haven't told us anything about your mother's health or her special needs or why she needed to live with someone. I assume that Sis acknowledges that the money has been spent, but is not "admitting" she stole it. Is that the case?

Sis was guilty of poor judgement about not having a care contract, and not separating Mother's accounts from hers. But few of us non-lawyers would think of these things when family is concerned. Bob, truthfully, would you have thought to do those things? If so, why didn't you give your sister some guidance?

But poor judgement and lack of knowledge is not the same as evil intent or fraud.

How much of your mother's money did you think was going to be spent, over 16 years time? Of the $300,000 that was spent, how much do you think did not go directly to her needs? Food, shelter, hair appointments, dentist visits, her vacations, someone to stay with her when your sister was away, incontinent supplies if that is applicable, perhaps some safety upgrades like grab bars, medicines, doctor visits, dinner out and other entertainments, clothes, shoes, makeup, bed linens, towels, laundry, transportation to visit friends, maybe a few lottery tickets and magazines and crossword books and other simple passtimes, and perhaps painting and redecorating a room over that length of time. Estimate what percent of that $16,750 a year were direct costs for your mother. Now consider the amount that was spent over and above what you estimate to have been directly for Mom. Is that amount excessive compensation for your sister devoting a huge chunk of her life to caring for Mom? Is it an amount you are willing to severe ties over? Call in the FBI? Reward all your sister's efforts with legal trouble?

You got a bargain you could not have matched if Mother's care had landed solely on you and you had to either bring in care or place her in a care center.

I can understand your horror and dismay to see that money gone. Like your sister about the legal aspects of setting up accounts, you are probably not familiar with what caregiving entails. But if you like you can quickly educate yourself about what caregivers face by browsing and reading posts on this forum.

And incidentally, if you did manage to get some of that $300,000 back, it would all go to the NH, as Medicaid spenddown.

Do talk to your lawyer. And then decide what your goals and priorities are.

My hope for you is that your family rifts can heal.

(And don't pay the NH unless you agreed in writing to do so!)
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WOW congratulations! You got your mother qualified for medic-aid and left you and your sister close to $300,000.
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Did you expect your sister to carry the load alone for 16 years with no compensation? It is too bad there wasn't a contract for care drawn up at the beginning so that nobody would be surprised. And it is too bad that mother's expenses weren't clearly separated from other expenses. But think carefully through the matter of letting this ruin a formerly loving relationship. You will have your sister in your life longer than you'll have your mother. "Stolen" is a pretty harsh word. The fact that Mom qualified for Medicaid must mean that the review board didn't regard the money your sister used as inappropriate gifts, at least in the last 5 years. Where else could your mother live for $360 a week, all expenses and care included?

As to the NH wanting you and Sis to each be responsible for half the initial costs -- of course they'd like that. But if you have not signed something taking responsibility, you are not responsible. They can try to guilt you into it, but they have no legal basis for it. Next time they contact you ask them to fax or mail you a copy of the contract you signed agreeing to be responsible.

Talk to the lawyer about all of these issues.
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I must ask where you were during these 16 years? It's not easy or cheap to care for a loved one 24/7. If your mom had been in a nursing home all these years it would have been even more expensive. Who put your mom in the nursing home & who has POA? Don't tell your mom anything of this, why upset her? I say let it go. Use your energy to concentrate on your mom's health & happiness.
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Bob: If your sis and her hubby had your mom living with them for 16 years, the first thing that pops into my mind is "Wow, that's a long time". Also, Medicaid has a 5 year look back period and yet your mom was just approved. There would be penalties if Medicaid felt your mom's funds were used to benefit your sister.

I hope your mom was happy and well cared for during the many years she lived with your sister. Maybe there is more you can share regarding the financial situation, but give this some serious thought before you end a relationship with your sister. Ask yourself if your mom was happy and examine what you did to help your mom during those same years.

I'm sorry for your unhappiness at this time. Take care. Cattails.
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I understand why you would think the way you do about the situation. Unfortunately, taking care of a parent isn't about getting a big financial windfall. If that were the case your sister wouldn't have lasted as long as she did which was for the entire time that your mom needed the care. Your sis did you a favor. Parents don't deserve to be in nursing homes unless there is no alternative. They should be used only as a last resort. Your mom was a fortunate soul that she had a child who was able and willing to step in. I think that sometimes it is difficult to put ourselves in someone else's position. My mother lives with my husband and I and we never take any of her money for anything., BUT and it's a big BUT, my husband makes a decent living and if we can do this for her then we want to, but none of my siblings offer any kind of financial help, in fact they act like we are stealing her money when we aren't. They walk around our house and look at our valuables like our mother bought everything we own (she bought none of it by the way), spread gossip that is meant to get back to us, and just generally allow their feelings of sibling rivalry color their opinions. Hour for hour your sister did alot of work. I get no time to myself unless my mother is napping. I have dreams of being a writer which I have had to put on hold for only God knows how long. I get tired and depressed from not having the loving support of my siblings. Try to see the situation as if you were her. She probably saved your mother's estate tons of money and providing for your mother was what you both needed to do. The sis is on her own now though. Don't make it a battle...it's not worth it...and it may not be the right thing to do.
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My sisters accuse me of that and my mother has only been with me 6 years. My mother only had $35,000.00 total, it has cost me every year out of my pocket and my mother lives with me and is very healthy except for her memory. Do some serious looking into what the true cost of taking care of someone for that long. Doctors, dentist, clothing, food,shelter, utilities, diapers, pads, laundry,and sitters just to name a few. I will be honest I would have felt like you because I did not truly understand what was all involved. Don't be upset be thankful she has done things you will never truly understand. Be caring and supportive sister.
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Who has Power of Atty? Also, have you done the math? $300,000 would not last but about 4 years in an assisted living situation. Was your mother happy, safe, comfortable during these years with your sister? Did your mother ever live with you for an extended amount of time? If you are out of work and have no money, you can claim it is a hardship to pay the nursing home. It will work out. I don't know if I consider what your sister did "robbing". I would like to hear her side of the story.
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Have you done the math? Considering the cost of assisted living and nursing homes, your mother's money would not have lasted that long...maybe 4 or 5 years. Was your mother happy during that time? Was she comfortable and safe? How do you expect a care giver to care for someone without spending their money to care for them. Some of this amount could be considered a gift from your mother to
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