I recently became DPOA for my mother and got added onto her banking accounts. My sister has been on them for a long time. So there are three of us on the accounts. My sister is bipolar, and can be very aggressive. So I am feeling unsure on how to deal with the finances.

Mother has been saving money to pay her funeral expenses. It was up to $4000. When she got bad with Alzheimers we started looking for nursing homes or assisted living places...they all say that my mother can't have more than $2000 in the bank so we have to spend down the money. We can't spend it on anything that doesn't benefit Mother but funeral expenses are allowed, we just have to have an irrevocable account.

Every month my mother pulls out $450 to live on. She lives with me and gives me $280 a month for rent and utilities and uses the rest for odds and ends she buys like groceries, clothing, etc..

My sister called me last month screaming about us pulling that money out and demanding to know where every dollar went. She accused me of 'making all these plans to deal with the money but nothing happens!'. So I made an appointment to go talk to the funeral home about the funeral. Sis said she'd go with me, thought it was a good idea. Then canceled and won't talk to me about it anymore. So I went alone, because it HAS to be done...and I made the arrangements, very basic, but it's $7500. (My sister was estimating up to $12000 and being VERY nasty about having to be the one to pay for it since the rest of us are all 'deadbeats') So I bought an insurance policy so if she passes before I finish making the monthly payments it'll be paid off. So my sister SHOULD be happy, it's off her plate.

so. I feel GUILTY every time I go to the bank and pull out money for anything. I have to pull out the $120 a month for the funeral for example...and I am paying people to come stay with her...not a lot, just gas money for my nieces and such. I keep records but how do you know what to do? I know I will never satisfy my sister but legally am I ok?

More I morally ok? I haven't discussed this with my mother because she gets so obsessive and doesn't understand money anymore. She can't understand that she can have two accounts for example...she thinks she has accounts at several banks and wants to know why?

I feel so alone and I just don't know if I am going the right ways. Are you feeling lost too?

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If you have paid down her excess cash, your mother would now qualify for Medicaid in a nursing home, I believe. Are there any near you that you and your sister would feel comfortable placing your mother in? That could solve your ongoing financial problems with your mother.
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Snap out of it! You're obviously morally OK! $280 a month isn't "squandering" money by any definition!
Your sister's behavior may be the (obnoxious) way she's dealing with the suppressed guilt of not being the hands-on caregiver for your mom. OK, now I'll stop playing amateur psychologist and encourage you to let your sister's poisonous barbs bounce right off of you. You're the one in the trenches and the amounts of money you are accepting to care for your mother would undoubtedly be considered trivial (and inadequate) by any court in the land.
The key for you is to keep METICULOUS records and, if you want, periodically email them to your sister so she can see the expenses and your mom's minimal contribution to them. Personally, I think that if the money is there, you should be taking an amount that is more in line with the actual costs of supporting your mother.
Helpful Answer (13)

Legally, keep good records. Morally, you're a saint. Your sister sounds like a first class pain in the you know what@ It's her guilt talking.
Helpful Answer (9)

As a retired accountant, and POA for my parents, I suggest you keep impeccable records/receipts of your expenditures. Set up a simple system of file folders to drop your receipts and statements into. Just make sure you can substantiate all purchases, including yours, while your mother is alive. When purchasing items for your mother, ask the cashier to ring them up separately from your own items when possible. Then, encourage your sister to review the documentation if she has any questions or concerns. Once she sees tangible evidence, and that you can support all expenditures, she may back off.
Good luck to you!
Helpful Answer (6)

Sounds like you are doing the best you can and it would cost way more than $280 per month for an assisted living facility. I would suggest you set the payments up on an auto pay out of her bank account, including whatever comes to the $280 per month like electric & cable... Then write checks for her needs, Rx, Depends, ensure... and half the groceries and keep the receipts. You can also spend down on hearing aids, dentures and eye glasses which Medicare will not pay towards. It's a hard job you are taking on, especially without some support. Give yourself a break and don't let your sister get to you. Best Wishes!
Helpful Answer (5)

This is right up my alley. When my dad's second wife died in 2010, my brother, sister and myself started to handle my fathers "everything" He had so much it would have been overwhelming, so my husband started taking care of my fathers 12 rental homes and 14 renters, my brother moved into dads home and helped him with baths, food and as a companion, my sister took over all my dads medical care, doctors appts, home visiting services, medication, and I took over all my dads finances. This includes working with property management companies, rent collection, all bookkeeping to include personal and business. My sister and I share POA, both medical and financial. Then we had his 2nd wife's family accusing us of taking my dads money. I understand completely how you feel, you have to spend money to take care of your mother. If she was taking care of herself, she would spend her money, so let your sister know that.

I had to get a bookkeeping software program, you can get them on line. This helps for you to bring up every penny you spend, you can break it down to money for scripts, clothes, toothpaste. I had to do this, because I had to be accountable to both families.

As for as getting a small salary or stipend for being your parents caregiver, ask a tax professional in your state, I had a lot more money to handle, but that is not the point, the point is, what should you take for job as caregiver. My tax guy told me that we should get paid for our service. Now the money you spend on your mom, for her needs is separate. If you get a bookkeeping program, or even a laptop, this is not for you, it is for your mother. It is amazing to look at everything categorized, it helps with taxes also, your sister can not see all that you do for your mom, so I can suggest using a excel program to do a daily worksheet, this is what I did for all of my siblings, with those two things, you can just show anyone questioning you, facts, and documentation to support your hard work.

It is a fine line, your parent does not understand how much work you do, way more than just being a daughter. Your family will not understand, because, the old saying "out of sight, out of mind" if they do not deal with it every day, how can they have any idea. Yes, you take care of your mom, and you do not expect to get paid for that, but if your mom was taking care of herself, she would have to spend money to do that. Separate the two. You have started, keep all documentation, track your daily work, take your utilities and things like food and divide them in half. Your salary or stipend, is going to be less than if you paid for a caregiver, because it is your parent, but you should get something. The amount of money you are talking about is very small, I would do some research on the cost of a live-in caregiver, the cost to pay someone to do what you do, and the next time that topic comes up with your sister, show her what kind of money you are saving.

One more thing about having a bookkeeping program, all of those receipts are organized, so if you bring up just one category, it will blow you away, it keeps track of a 1.50 item and they add up. You can keep track of the rent, moms part of electric, food etc. YOU WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO JUSTIFY anything again.
Helpful Answer (5)

280.00 dollars a month sounds like a BARGAIN to me, it sounds like your sister in law is like mine. Mine wants to do nothing and I mean nothing to help care for her mother except complain about everything. All she is worried about is the money she thinks she has. I know that 280.00 a month does not cover the costs. costs of the care you give her. My mother in-law has to go out to eat at least 3 times per week and if she don't she is raising all kinds of h*ll that really puts a strain on you budget but what else can you do?
Helpful Answer (4)

If I understand your math, you're going to have spent down your mother's money in the next couple of months. Then you will be able to get her into a nursing home or assisted living.

I don't have the same financial issues as you are dealing with, but my mother did want to know about the bank accounts. So I made an appointment for us to go to her bank and have the manager explain things to her. She liked getting the information from someone other than me. Problems and questions pretty much vanished after that. Would your sister agree to a meeting with the bank manager? Or could the manager write a letter to your sister explaining how the accounts are being used? Getting information in writing is always helpful, at least for me.

Can your sister still remove money from your mother's accounts? If so, is there any way you can get her name off the accounts? To keep my brother, who lives 1500 miles away, informed about the accounts, I send copies of the monthly bank statements to him. Would your sister be satisfied with that?

Taking on the finances is complicated enough. Taking care of her daily needs as well is a lot of weight to carry. It was good to read that you are getting some financial contribution from your mother.

I hope you get some other helpful responses. It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job of keeping all the balls in the air.
Helpful Answer (2)

my own finances just won't stretch anymore. I can't run the house, buy all the food, provide all the transportation, etc on one salary. My utility bill is way way higher with her here running a heater all day, my food bill is way higher because I have to cook a whole meal for her twice a day..where as if I was alone, I would grab a sandwich half the time. I had to have my septic tank pumped because she flushes her pantie liners and TONS of paper down the tank...the first time he came, he told me I wouldn't have to do it again for two's been 8 months!! Not to mention the cost of cleaning up the TWO septic tank backups over two weeks...

When I agreed to $280 for the rent, I assumed she would be buying groceries and cleaning stuff along (which she DID while she could go to the store or if she goes with me) but now that she doesn't go out, I buy everything! My sister doesn't think I deserve more...she says I 'squander' mother's money.
Helpful Answer (1)

Get to an elder care attorney ASAP!!! Mom's been on Medicaid for nursing home care since 2011 & we have a Wonderful Medicaid person who's helped us since Dad's stroke in late 2009 - she's NOT accepting new clients BUT I urge you to see an attorney ASAP!!!
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