Follow
Share

After a family feud, my parents gave my brother control of their will and financials. I was excluded and told to stay away. My father is in Alzheimer's care unit in TN. I live in Florida. Mom passed away in 2012. Last Sunday 8/2017, my brother passed away suddenly. There are no other siblings. I have had some concerns about my brother and his wife using credit cards of my parents. My brother and dad have same name. And he had access to their accounts. Who would I contact to get an accounting of my dad's financials and what has been spent and get control over his care? I am very worried about dad, now that my brother is gone. Brother's wife has never gotten along with me. Very distant and even left me out of the obituary for my brother. I found out on social media that he had passed. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Until/unless you apply AND are granted full guardianship/stewardship through the courts (this is the route you will have to go as the only person who can grant you DPOA is under care for Alz, so that won't be possible) you have no legal standing.

As for contacting companies, banks, etc that dad was "doing business" with, forget it. Without legal paperwork, about the only thing you can find out is if the payments are not being made - THEY will want their money. However, how would you even know where to start? Credit reporting agencies would certainly have much of that information on file, BUT as for contacting them for the information, you will have even LESS luck with that. Unless you can prove that you are your dad (not likely), you will get NOTHING from them. It is hard enough to try to get (or fix) your OWN information. As for pretending to be the person, forget that as well, as THAT IS FRAUD - perhaps well-intentioned, but fraud nonetheless. People have suggested I do that with the places that give no credence to the DPOA, but I will NOT EVER do this because it is legally and morally WRONG!

My understanding is it will be expensive and time-consuming to go the court route, however dad needs someone who cares to handle his financial affairs and see to his well-being. ASSUMPTION - if there are any funds of his remaining, and the petition is granted, you can likely recoup the costs associated with the petition (court and legal), but that is for an attorney to confirm. Since dad is in TN, you will have to go there and apply with a local attorney (Elder Care Atty would be best). Once all is settled, you *could* potentially have dad moved to a facility closer to you, to make it logistically easier for you to attend to his needs.

The Elder Care Atty should allow a consultation at no cost, so bring ALL questions to the table at that time. Your questions about financial hanky-panky should be on that list, but not as the top priority. As someone else said, a DPOA is not required to provide any reckoning to anyone, as opposed to a guardian/steward (this is a huge undertaking). One assumes that the person chosen for DPOA is trustworthy and upstanding, but we know how that goes sometimes ;-) HOWever, just because they are not required to provide any reckoning does not preclude investigating any financial abuse, which COULD lead to charges and potential recoup of that which was misused. DPOA authority is usually clearly spelled out in the document. DPOA acts as and for the benefit of the person, and generally does not include payment for their "services". Dad "could" have allowed junior to take money, but then again, perhaps it was just taken and/or dad had no real clue what was going on. Charges made to cards while dad was and/or is in the care unit are likely suspect - unless it can be shown to be personal supplies he needs, payments for the facility, etc, actual benefit to dad, then those charges are fraud. Although brother has passed, his wife could be held liable and could be required to reimburse from their remaining assets.

Those are a lot of IFs... Although they should be held accountable financially, of primary concern is WHO is taking care of dad and handling payments NOW?

I would most certainly meet with an Elder Care Atty ASAP and see about getting guardianship and stewardship so that you can see to it that dad is getting the care he needs AND it is being paid for. If you know where dad is, perhaps you could also contact them first and find out what the deal is before seeing the atty. If they balk, you can explain that your brother, who was handling dad's affairs and finances, has passed away and you need to ensure dad gets the care he needs and that they get paid! If no one is handling the payments anymore, they WILL want to assist you so that THEY can get their money!! So it would be good to start with gathering information from them, but meanwhile, try to locate a good Elder Care atty, set up an appointment and book a flight!! The more info you can gather on your own beforehand, the better. Write down any questions you have, and keep adding to that list as you think of issues you need legal advice on!

Families... you can pick you nose, you can pick your seat, but you cannot pick your family... Fortunately for us, two were assigned DPOA (the third was not ONLY because he was not local to sign the paperwork when preparing all this for mom and dad - hindsight was we should have added him when we had to revisit the EC atty for redoing things after dad passed and mom was starting down the yellow brick road). Younger brother is 10 years younger and still working, and a bit scatter-brained (and can be more stubborn than a mule!) I have been handling 99.9% of paperwork, bills, etc. I do share info, keep them updated if I get calls about falls, etc, and request input for any decisions that warrant them. I warned older brother of having to go the court route if something happens to the two of us who are DPOA, but I will have to tell/remind him that if something happens to me he will have to try to keep the other one in-line, mainly because he doesn't pay his own bills on time, loses paperwork (mom IRS refund!), etc. You don't want mom getting tossed into the street because dippy forgets to pay them!!!

So, to summarize:
Check with the facility dad is in (lots of questions!)
Find a local (TN) EC atty
Make question list
Gather any info you can (and have your info handy to prove your relationship)
Get yourself to TN to see dad and meet with the atty.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Another thing you might want to do, although be prepared for fireworks. Contact your SIL and ask for all data relating to your brother's handling of your father's affairs, to be used by the successor (but don't be specific or mention that you'll be applying for guardianship.) I doubt if she'll provide any accountings or data, but that's an issue you can raise when you apply for guardianship, if you do.

You should also be prepared to address the original reason why your brother was named as proxy, and what the family feud was about and why you were out of the information flow. Better that you're prepared to address it up front than be blindsided if SIL finds out about the procedure and challenges it (although I'm not sure an in-law has standing to do that.)
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Perhaps the most broad aspect beyond gaining control is determining what accounts your father has, what obligations, etc. What I would do is contact the three credit reporting agencies, perhaps in writing with something evidencing that he's your father, perhaps a birth certificate or something else. You might call them and ask them what they require to prove he's your father. You WILL need his SS number.

Then either through the voice mail section, or with whomever you speak, ask how to address potential unauthorized charges.

(I put fraud alerts on our accounts every 90 days. I can't put an actual fraud charge on w/o having a copy of a police report, and none was prepared by the police b/c Verizon [which received the funds fraudulently] refused to cooperate and even identify the geographic source of the fraud.)

Your goal would be to block any unauthorized charges, but you'll have to know how the facility where your father is staying is paid, as you don't want to block that charge.

Once you receive a copy of the credit reports, you can then contact the companies, banks, etc. directly, but be prepared for resistance since you don't have legal authority. Explain though that you suspect fraud and are gathering data for review and evaluation. If the companies don't cooperate, you might have to hire legal counsel to handle this for you.

Be sure to advise any creditors that any charges made by your now deceased brother might have been unauthorized, but that there now is no one legally able to make charges for your father. If any future charges are made, they would be improper and would be challenged (you might just be successful on this hint of action).

It wouldn't hurt to address the issue of identical names, as well as the fact that your SIL has no authority to use any of your father's accounts.

Does your father still have a house, and was your brother taking care of it? If so, you can research to determine which utilities served that area and contact them directly. You'd also want to contact the local treasurer to ensure that taxes were paid.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

People who are power of attorney are not usually required to provide accounting (unless it's in the terms of the POA document or trust).

Did your father list a successor agent in the durable POA document? I don't think your brother's wife automatically gets to be your father's agent, although she may well have some access to statements or accounts related to your father's finances.

As others have said, you can contact Adult Protective Services, especially if you think your brother's wife is likely to continue the activities that were previously concerning you.

You can also try contacting the care home where he is, to ask what is their procedure when a resident's agent dies and there is no successor (assuming none was listed in the original document).

If there is no successor agent named, then presumably your father will need a guardian. You may want to look into Tennessee law regarding guardianships, and you will probably need to contact an attorney there, to be properly represented in the proceedings. good luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

It is not well advertized but CCAC is gone - they have been tossed out door by Min of Health - now the LHIN are in charge - maybe that's poetic justice!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Fairy = family. Sorry. Don't like true type. Lol
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I feel your pain. I haven't seen my dad since June 2016. My brother has alienated my father. He is the only one who can see him. No other family are allowed contact. I cry every night. I don't have thousands of dollars to fight back . It's sad only people with money can fight this horrible ordeal. I shall never forget what my older brother has done to this family (he was the 'golden child' who could never do any harm- or so my parents thought) my brother went from being a doctor to becoming a nurse to incorporate his plan. He became a nurse just after my mother died. Then once a nurse he got a job at CCAC. CCAC is a government agency that places the elderly in homes. They also work with elderly over various issues. My brother thought well to developers his plan to alienate my fairy from seeing their father, grandfather, even great grandfather. I can tell you one thing, my brother is not one of those nurses you would ever want to take care of you. With so lack of compassion...
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Elder Attorney
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

If you suspect you're living elderly relative is being abused or neglected, you really need to report it to APS and even contact an elder care lawyer. If you're in a position to be able to handle guardianship without abusing the ward or taking advantage of them, definitely go for guardianship

You mentioned a relative passed. If you suspect elder financial abuse of that relative, you'll definitely need an estate lawyer and you'll definitely need to cough up some money and open an estate for that relative. 
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Go to TN. Hire a local attorney. File in court to get guardianship...either yourself or court appointed....but, quick..get between her and your Dad. I fear this is not going to have a good end if you don't act fast.
Helpful Answer (12)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.