My mother has dementia. Her late husband's daughter took over finances and won't give us any account information or details. She is not POA, just a signer on the checking account. How can we get details about all of her accounts and make sure they are being managed appropriately?

Why aren't you taking care of your own mom instead questioning this caregiver.
You want her to do it for free?
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Reply to cetude
jd6122 Jun 11, 2021
how do you know if the daughter cares for her Mom or not and what makes you say the stepdaughter is her caregiver? NOTHING in the post says either one. You are way rude to assume more than she posted and think you read her mind and want her stepdaughter to be a caregiver for free.
Given the lack of "documentation" that she does not have, and not willing to provide information, give me the chills. I would immediately consult with an eldercare attorney (possible free one hour consultation) and ask how this should be handled. This could be a slippery situation in which you may most likely need some outside help. You could also in confidence talk to the bank and ask them what they think about the situation and how to get help. Good luck. I don't think you can do this one alone.
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Reply to Riley2166

I believe if none of you are moms POA, your hands are tied at the moment. The fact that your mom now has dementia, means she won't be able to request someone to be her POA either, so you may have to look into getting guardianship of your mom, as that will allow you to take over everything for her. It can be costly to do so, but if you believe moms accounts are being abused in any way, it might be worth it. Best wishes.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

How do you know for a fact that she didn't at some point become your mom's PoA? But if she isn't PoA, then funkygrandma59 is correct about guardianship by either the family or the county. You must pursue it through the courts and it can be costly and time-consuming and if the step-daughter contests it, the judge may decide to minimize the chaos for your mom's benefit and assign a different guardian. You can try to contact her county's social services to see if temporary emergency guardianship is a possibility, otherwise you should contact an elder law attorney who does guardianship. If the county gets guardianship then there is no transparency at all into her affairs and the guardian makes all decisions moving forward, including what facility she lives in.
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Reply to Geaton777

If she is not POA then she isn't legally a fiduciary with the burden of keeping meticulous records. If she was she would not be beholden to you to discuss anything whatsoever, and in fact SHOULD NOT do so as this is private information of your Mother.
If you suspect Fraud it is time to take your evidence to APS and ask they open a case. If you have no evidence you should consider getting guardianship of your demented Mom if you wish to have it. If you do not wish to have it (YOU would then be the Fiduciary with all the burdens of that task in meticulous record keeping. You could also consider becoming the representative payee for your Mom's social security. Look on their site to see what all is involved; it's a lot.
You Mom apparently put her DIL on her accounts, or her name is there since the passing of her husband.
I think ultimately, if she is not open with you and you are worried, you are stuck with seeking guardianship.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

Is your mom being cared for appropriately? Does she go without necessities because of her stepdaughter?

If yes and no, and you are not POA for your mom, then it is none of your business what is happening with the money.

Your step sister owns the account, there is no such thing as signatory rights with any bank that I have ever done business with. You are a joint account holder and you have as much right to the money in the account as the other joint account holder.

Obviously, her dad trusted her to take care of his wife after his death or he wouldn't have put her in control of the finances.

What is it that makes you question the situation now?
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Consult an elder care attorney, but it doesn't sound like you can do anything. Someone gave the stepdaughter authority to access those finances and the bank recognized it as legal.
There are a lot of harsh comments here that seem unnecessary about what your prior relationship may or may not have been with your mom. None of us has any information that qualifies us to judge that. I hope going forward you can share some quality moments with your mom. In the end those memories are what will mean the most.
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Reply to jd6122

If could be possible that she was listed as joint owner on the account. If that’s the case, she can do whatever she wants even close out the account & open a new one.

Before anyone comments this happened to me. My mom had my sibling & myself on her accounts with her as joint owners. My sibling went in & closed the account & opened a new one without my name on it.

I contacted the bank & they told me it was perfectly legal even though it was my mom’s SS & pension checks that were going in there. They told me that any one of us could have done that.
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Reply to Jada824
Isthisrealyreal Jun 11, 2021
I would contact the banking commission Jada, my understanding is that everyone on the account has to give permission to close the account. An owner can legally clean the account out but, I don't know about closing it. I couldn't close my dads 2nd account without him their and I was a joint owner. I had to take myself off of the account so he could do whatever he wanted without me.

It is worth calling and asking.
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Heartaches, I'm troubled by one of your comments.   This is not a criticism, but it is a commentary and caution on  inaccurate advice.

You wrote:

"Sense (sic) that person is an official signer on the account she can spend the money how ever she sees fit unless it’s proven she knew your mother was not of sound mind . "

This is not true.   DPOAs and POAs, if properly prepared, specify the range of assets covered, the actions that can be taken, and from what I've seen, in enough detail to provide limitations with a given range.  

The fiduciary is not given free range outside of the needs of the primary individual.    No one can spend however he or she sees fit, regardless of mental status.   And certainly no one can lawfully spend funds on herself.
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Reply to GardenArtist
disgustedtoo Jun 11, 2021
She didn't mention POA, just "official signer" on the account. IF one is on another person's account, then by all means, they can do ANYTHING with the funds. It isn't right to take it, but legally the secondary owner has just as much right to it as the primary owner. At TOD, anyone else on the account is now a full owner of the funds. I don't have to add accounting for my mother's primary account, nor add it to the estate account.

This is why it is so important to understand POAs and how adding someone to your account might impact you. If it's a trustworthy person, ok. Otherwise, beware.

I have bigger issue with her assumptions that we can "allow" someone to do this or that we can take steps to stop it without legal intervention first (she does mention legal, but AFTER stating it shouldn't have been allowed by OP and/or they should have stopped it - how would they even know?)
Imho, perhaps you should retain an elder law attorney.
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Reply to Llamalover47

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