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I am one of three children and I was the caregiver to my father and was able to give of my time so that he could have his wish to die at home. Now I am taking care of my mother. My mother was living in her home and my brother was living there with her because she could not live at home. I remarried and moved away thinking things were in good hands. Almost two years ago my brother asked me to come and get Mom because he could not handle it any longer. To make a long story short, I have found out that he had her put his name on the house and that she gave him POA over her finances. My mother suffers from dementia and does not remember doing any of this. Now my other sibling and myself have no idea of mom's financial status while he lives in her house that is paid for, using her pension to pay the bills, and we don't know what to do. We are both barely making ends meet and do not have the money to hire a lawyer. Any suggestions or advice would be deeply appreciated.

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Sounds like your brother read the same book as my husband's brother. We tried to help my in-laws for years - offering to buy a bigger home to have them move in with us or find an assisted living facility for them near us so we could help. My mother-in-law was adamant she did not want to leave Chicago. Then one day her the other two children just up and moved them to a rental home the brother owned down in Florida and did not even tell my husband. My mother-in-law tried telling my husband but he was told Mom was confused and only going for a visit. When we went down to visit, we received nasty emails after the first day and told we were not to return or the police would be called. In retrospect, we should have called the police ourselves but did not want to upset Mom and Dad at the time so relented and kept in touch by phone. There is a LOT more to the story and don't want to hog space but agree with Danna 24, it just has to be said. We often think we are alone in these situations and then find out that there are other HORRIBLE families out there who truly only care about money. It is a shame that my in-laws saved for years and now Mom should be able to afford a nice Alzheimer's facility when the time comes (which unfortunately is very soon due to the progression of her disease), but literally has no money left at all. I wish we could find just one legislator who is willing to step up and help prosecute these thieves. I am telling you all the publicity from our "leaders" about not standing for elder abuse is all for show. When you try to do something about it, you are told it is a civil matter - hire an attorney. Does anyone remember this even happened to Mickey Rooney?
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My oldest brother and sister hold the POA for my mother. Our father passed away almost four years ago. Just before my Father died his wishes were that their house and contents be sold and that the money be used to ensure that our Mother was cared for. They already had a substantial amount in their savings account. So the house and contents were sold and the amount added to the savings account. My oldest sister then took my Mother to live with her. At first my sister and her husband said they didn't want any money or anything for taking care of our mother, they would do it out of love. Mom suffers from degenerative arthritis and is limited to being on one floor and cannot climb stairs, so they had to find a house that her bedroom was on the main level. Just before my Father died my sister and her husband went through a financial bankruptcy and things were very hard for them financially, but they insisted they were the ones to take care of Mom because Mom was so depended on my oldest sister for her needs.
After about a year my sister and brother and law started complaining that they shouldn't have to bear the financial burden of mom without financial assistance. They then started collecting monthly rent. To make a very long story short, both my brother and sister gave the four siblings, themselves included, over the last two years, two "gifts" from our mothers estate. I have one problem with this after the fact having learned more about what was behind it. My brother and sister hired an attorney after doing this because they found out that they were faced with having to replace the money back into our mothers estate under what is called the look back law. Also during the three years that my sister has watched our mother she has passed her care to my oldest brother and he has taken her to live with him for months at a time also. By way of this attorney, they found out that they are possibly due retroactive reimbursement from the VA for the daily care she was given to her while she lived with them. Here's their delemia, because of the look back law they have to keep our mothers accounts to a specific level for her to qualify for state Medicaid. Our Mother receives from SS from my father, his pension, Veterans, and also previous widow veteran prior to my father. The two of them are NOW pocketing and splitting between the two of them what comes in for our mother monthly to make sure she doesn't accumulate any money that will keep her from being placed in the nursing home! What's my point in telling all of this? Well the "gifts" were given to the other two siblings, there are seven of us, three are apprently written out of the Will, knowing full well if it had to be retuned to our mother's estate it would be a financial hardship for us and we wouldn't rock the boat about Mom being placed in a nursing home and asking for an inquiry of her finances being overseen by the other two. Our Mom is in a nursing home after falling and breaking her hip and our sister is collecting room and board from our mother who isn't even there! Our oldest brother has purchased four classic cars, a large storage shed, installed heat in his garage, had orthopedic stairs installed in his home for his wife who has bad knees, had a handicapped bath done, purchased a new RV,and had a new roof put on his house. This has all been done just in the three years he has had the POA for our mother.! Now we're being told Mom has no more money and has to apply for Medicaid to be accepted into a nursing home. We're told there's nothing we can do about it and asked where we've been over the last few years that help was needed with Mom? What do you say to two people who totally shut you out and wouldn't allow you access to your mothers finances or her care? According to everyone I've talked to this is legal! Seriously! How do they get away with this??
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All I can tell you is GOOD LUCK. We are in a similar situation with my mother-in-law, but there was no property - just cash - to the tune of over $600K! My father-in-law died over 2 1/2 years ago and Mom came to live with us at the agreement of her daughter, but the other son was very much against it. We found out it was due to the fact that he "converted" over $600K into his own name right after Dad died. My husband has guardianship and conservatorship of my MIL now, but it has cost us almost $50K of our own money in attorney's fees and we are still not done. We are trying to have his brother prosecuted, but he told the ASA that it was his money to begin with (a total lie). Thankfully she has seen through his lies. Since there are three states involved, every state points their finger to the other. We have contacted senators, congressmen, and DA's in all states with very little results until recently. We finally have a DA in the brother's state that is moving forward, but in the meantime Mom does not even qualify for any kind of assistance due to the 5 year look back. Her other son had even gone as far as putting her on hospice with a prognosis of 6 months to live back when she lived by him. That is going on 3 years ago! She just had caregiver fatigue at the time from caring for Dad with severe Alzheimer's. She is now in moderate stage Alzheimer's herself and trying to get someone to help recover her life savings has been a nightmare. Please be sure to document everything you do as you go through this. Not sure what state you live in but it appears the people in California seem to have the only legislators willing to try to help, but unfortunately is not where we live. We have contacted the DHS in the state where it occurred and were blown off because she does not live there. When we found out about the theft, the other siblings tried to report US for abuse which was totally unfounded and basically back fired on them as our DHS supports us now (but took over a year to convince them of the truth since the brother is a professional con man). The best advice I can offer from our experience is document everything, be truthful and be persistent. Like my mother always said - the truth never changes. Our stories have always been consistent because they are the truth unlike the stories told by the other siblings which change day to day. I literally have 3 tubs of paperwork right now but knowing Mom has been able to enjoy the last few years enjoying time with us and her grandson and his family has made it worth it. Thankfullly, it sounds like your mother now has an advocate in you to look out for her well-being. Something we did find out in the Guardianship proceedings in our state if you do have to go that route that a POA has to have been signed in the last 5 years in order for it to be effective for an appointment as Guardian. If it was longer than 5 years ago, make sure your attorney investigates that aspect. Everyone is correct that someone should not do this as a POA or can be held liable for mismanagement of funds as a POA, but trying to get someone to prosecute a person for it is a whole other story. I have even written to Washington where I was also directed back to our home state. In plain and simple English - the laws on the books are a JOKE if no one is willing to enforce them.
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Oh, and don't get bogged down in squabbles between your brothers. Not your problem. Love your nice brother, but if he doesn't know why his brother is behaving like this then what are your chances of getting to the bottom of it? And as far as you can, read them both the Riot Act about upsetting your mother. Friends' quarrels are the bitterest, it's all the sadder. xxx
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A person with Power of Attorney is legally required to keep comprehensive records of how the donor's (in this case, your mother's) money and assets are being managed; and all money spent must be demonstrably used for her benefit. Your brother can and will be held to account over this by the various legal authorities, and you should be able to start the ball rolling if nobody is keeping tabs. Since your mother is now living with you, and assuming you are content for that to become a permanent arrangement, the obvious next step would appear to be to sell her house and devote the capital to her care. You and your mother cannot by yourselves remove POA from your brother but the authorities most certainly can if they agree that he is failing in his duty to your mother. Get advice from them, best of luck x
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The POA gives your brother the authority to act as an agent for your mother, but money spent have to be on her. If he is using the money for himself, he is violating the POA and is breaking the law. If you know that he is doing this, notify your state officials at your local DHS office so that they can investigate. Is your mother's name also still on the house? Does your brother expect that she will come back home one day? Using her money for house maintenance could be legally justified if that is the case, but not using her money for his own food. Is your brother employed?
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For help from an attorney if you can't afford a private one, contact your local legal aid agency:

Blessings to you in this challenge.
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My brother was living in the house for over ten years rent free. I do not have a problem with this. I do have a problem with him using her pension funds to pay for his use of the electricity, gas, water, and food for his belly while my mother lives with me. It is wrong and is not something that my mother wants him doing. She is so hurt by his actions and due to the dementia, is unable to do anything about it. This is where I come in for I know what she wants and I know what she and my father wanted. He will not give me any information on the accounts. If he had been a decent son he would have added all of the children's name to the house if it was done only in order to protect the state from selling it. She has long term insurance and this is not even an issue, but this was the lie that was told to her. My brother hates my brother and I and it has been this way all of my life. He has taken advantage of the fact that my other brother and I were not living nearby and therefore was able to hide these actions. We found out about the house by looking on the county's tax record web site. He has even threatened to kill his brother if he shows up on the property. My father would be rolling in his grave if he knew about this. I can not begin to tell you how hurt my other brother and I are about all of this because we can not understand why he is doing these things.

Thank you for answering my question. It is very much appreciated!
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How long ago did your mother develop dementia? Was she competent at the time she signed her house over to her son? If so, it is his house and he can live in it.

It would make sense to use her money to pay her bills and some household expenses while she lived with him and he was taking care of her. I can't understand why he would still be using the pension. That is strictly for her care. Is that what the situation is -- he is still using her pension money?

Ask your brother to show you her bank accounts, and to explain withdrawals. Ask the reason for taking the house out of her name. I you are not satisfied with the answers, call the Adult Protective Services folk to report suspected fraud.

You need her money to pay her expenses where she lives now, with you. You should not have to pay for her medicines or services or even her food, if she has money of her own to cover these things. If she needs a new winter jacket, you need access to her money to buy one.
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