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My mother-in-law (MIL) has an account Joint Tenants by the Entirety with her daughter. MIL opened the account and funded the account with her money. She added daughter to the account some years later. Daughter claims the money is hers. MIL is in pretty desperate need of this money; it's approximately $21,000. She called the financial institution which sent her a check (made out to both of them), but her daughter somehow stopped payment on it and also wrote a letter to the financial institution not to release any money without her approval. Daughter has no relationship with my MIL, my husband, or myself. I have called, emailed, and texted her. I even told her she was committing financial elder abuse. I received no response. MIL is 79, has dementia, is bedridden and can't care for herself. Her boyfriends lives with her but he isn't capable of providing adequate care for her. She needs either care in her home or to go to a nursing home. If she goes to a nursing home, Medicaid won't initially pay because of the $21,000 account. This is in Florida. I have called Adult Protective Services, but have not gotten anywhere thus far. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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also the issue with the POA - which I'd forgotten mom had just given noble - could be that if the bank has already gotten, in the letter daughter gave them, word that she has dementia; again, even if it hasn't been legally declared, they either cannot or at least are concerned about honoring a POA that has then been done after the fact - that gets to looking very close to fraud and elder abuse - I could have easily run into the same situation since dad had gotten the doc's statement re his dementia before he gave me his POA had someone - and there is someone who could and possibly would have done so - taken that to the bank - but they were more concerned about the reasoning for the letter re my getting guardianship rather than the bank account, even though they knew I was already on it; they didn't know about the POA anyway and actually it was more for another account he had with that amount in it; he didn't keep it in his checking account, which is something else I'm somewhat concerned about here, anyway; why is that amount in just her checking account anyway?
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Joann, it seems as if the bank won't honor mom's check, possibly because of the dementia, wondering if daughter has taken a statement from mom's doctor into the bank attesting to that, so that even though she hasn't been legally declared incompetent or had a guardian appointed for her, banks are under obligation to protect their elders, at least from fraud, not exactly sure about a situation like this, but, private, if she's bedridden, kinda hard to take her into the bank; just know that maybe a similar thing happened with my dad when he wound up in the hospital and they wanted me to get guardianship of him and had his doc write up a letter saying he had dementia; I took it to his VA clinic, just to keep all his medical records coordinated but since he was already getting the A&A, they somehow got wind of it and ended up deciding he then needed a fiduciary so not sure what exactly's going on here but I know that when my dad put me on his checking account, taking mom's name off after she passed away, ostensibly just to take care of his business, they still told me, even though I was not contributing to his account or to necessities to his household - because he had enough himself to do so - that I was just as much owner of the account as he was and could basically do whatever I wanted; now, if they saw that the bills that had been being paid out of it were no longer being done, that might have been a different story, but I'm not getting the idea here that that's the case - may more later when I go back and review more
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Retain an attorney.
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Again, you'll probably need a lawyer. You'll either need POA or guardianship. You can call the head branch of that bank if necessary and they should be able to lift the block on the account. You may also need the help of APS to get things moving. Give them all of the information as absolutely possible. When I dealt with one specific situation, all of my information was not enough for them to step in, it took two other people with different pieces of information to get them moving. What you really need to do now is to act fast before this other person has a chance to do anything with that money. You really don't want this other person to cause your loved one any more hardship. I can imagine that your loved one probably worked her whole life to save kind of money, unless it came from an inheritance. This is rightfully your mom's money and someone needs to protect her
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Just looked up tenants intirety thing. Everything I read is between married people concerning property. I could find nothing about bank accts but that doesn't mean they don't have them. I got the impression that upon her death the money will be her daughters not before. Not saying I'm right.
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If both names are on account why can't MIL write checks against it?
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The hospital wanted me to get guardianship over my dad for somewhat the same reason
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It sounds to me like you may need a lawyer. Another thing you can do is to take your MIL into the bank to speak in person with a banker. Just explain to the bank or the situation at hand and explain that there is proof of this being her money. See if the bank manager can help you close the account and move the money into a new account with only her name, and if you explain to the banker about the water situation if she happens to live in the city, I'm sure the banker will definitely understand. It may be that the banker may know of some secrets that they can do to help you in this unfortunate situation. As long as there's proof of the money belonging to the rightful owner which is your mil, you should be able to remove the name of the other person on that account, especially if denial of those funds is causing your mil a terrible hardship such as absolute necessities for survival. When it causes this type of hardship, I wouldn't blame your Mil for being extremely anxious because I think we all would be at that point. This is the time when you should gather any proof that you have that she started and funded this particular account with her own money before she ever put anyone on that account. It's one thing to put someone else on your account as a joint owner, but if the other person is causing a survival hardship, the owner should first try to resolve the matter with the co-owner in hopes that the co-owner will change their spending habits, and maybe even start contributing to the account (if they can afford to do so). If the co-owner won't comply and play as a team member while on the account then that person should definitely be removed from that account. If the person is not released willing to help pay bills out of that account and even start bringing in necessities into the household out of that money, then yes they should definitely be removed from the account. You mentioned that your Mil really needs this money pretty bad, which I can definitely understand. I'm with you on this one because I have an outstanding inheritance coming off of my dad's life insurance policy (and I desperately need that money), which is why I can clearly understand where you're coming from. Needing the money and not having it would be enough to make us very upset as each passing day comes and goes with no money at hand to meet our needs. Yes, I understand exactly where you're coming from with having all of this money put away somewhere and having no access to it. In your case, you have options because there are things that you can do to resolve your problem, even if it means getting a lawyer. What I was also thinking is to see if you can gain POA or even guardianship over your mil. Guardianship will give you complete control even over her finances. Guardianship will give you such control what you can even remove this other person from the account. Guardianship is used properly can be such a blessing. You may want to speak with her about this because it may be a last resort. The other person may not even have to know what's going on behind the scenes. If you can get a lawyer by the bank on your behalf, the main branch can probably put a stop on that account that can block that other person from taking any money out. If proper steps are taken, you should be able to block the other person from ever again taking any money. If those steps are taken, the banker who pulls up the account should see whether or not someone has been blocked from withdrawing money from that account. If this happens, the banker cannot and will not release any money to that particular person.
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Good luck. Glad at least you found some answers :)
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Thanks for all of the comments. I spoke with MIL financial advisor today. Both signatures are required to withdraw the funds and signatures must be guaranteed. I have a call into the State's Attorney's office.
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You need a good Aging Care Lawyer. and fast.

My hubby is POA. his brother is a door-nob.
Hubby has to get POA to protect his mom from his doofus brother wanting to spend it.
And my husband KEEPS ALL RECEIPTS.
So yeah. get a POA stat.
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Noble, some banks are finicky about POA. Please call the bank and ask what is required for the POA to come to their bank and do transactions. No need to go into detail (like name and account) because they might feel obligated to tip off 'daughter.' I've read here on this site, that some banks won't honor the POA;s document. They need another form in order to do any transactions with their bank.

Once you get your ducks in a row, if MIL can travel (wheelchair?), I'd bring her to the bank to withdraw her share, open another account with your name on it as POA.

Jude, are you saying that in order for MIL to withdraw cash, that she will need the other signatory? I know that with one of my savings account, my sister and I are named on it. But in order for one of us to withdraw that cash, we need the bankbook (or passbook). No bankbook, no cash.
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As POA you now need to register yourself with the financial institute so they know to deal with you and to keep you in the loop in all matters pertaining to the account
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Ah no you couldn't vis a vis the letter
dammit
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If your MIL has a check book and can write it she could theoretically write herself a check and you could open a bank account in her name with you acting as POA with that check. You might want to make sure that is right first because in the UK she could that - not so sure in the US
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So your MIL has 10500 even if she has 21000 she actually only has 10500
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Joint tenants usually share ownership of land, but the property may instead be money or other items. Four main features mark this type of ownership: (1) The joint tenants own an undivided interest in the property as a whole; each share is equal, and no one joint tenant can ever have a larger share. (2) The estates of the joint tenants are vested (meaning fixed and unalterable by any condition) for exactly the same period of time—in this case, the tenants' lifetime. (3) The joint tenants hold their property under the same title. (4) The joint tenants all enjoy the same rights until one of them dies. Under the right of survivorship, the death of one joint tenant automatically transfers the remainder of the property in equal parts to the survivors. When only one joint tenant is left alive, he or she receives the entire estate.
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I am so incredibly grateful for everyone's help so far. Seeing the condition my MIL is in and what SIL is doing is devastating.
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thats not the same as joint tenancy in entirety hun. let me go find the details for you
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Sorry the above bit about the bills being charge to her would only apply if right of survivorship had been applied. Like I said she doesn't have tenancy in entirety and therefore she might have been (note past tense) POA..... If that is the case your MIL can remove that at any time providing she is competent to so do and that will be the rub.... they may want that proven
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Okay if it's not joint by entirety, then I hope SIL hasn't withdrawn the funds. The account statement says MILname & SILname JT TEN.
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Noble no it won't the bills for her care will charged to her daughter in law AND what is more if she spends it she will be committing an offence I think you will find, but in Florida she cannot be on a bank account as tenancy in entirety she is not her mother in laws spouse. Have a look at the florid bar journal pages - September/October, 2011 Volume 85, No. 8 page 52 it is very clear about what does and s=does not constitute a tenancy in entirety
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Good point on using POA to stop her from withdrawing the funds. I hope she hasn't already! MIL doesn't recall ever promising her the money. My sister-in-law told me years back that she was put on the account in case she needed to get funds for my MIL in the event of an emergency after MIL was in a car accident. Regarding SIL motives, I have a text from her stating that her mother was a "horrible person" so I can only suspect that she doesn't care what happens to her mother and wants the money. Once her mother dies, the money would pass to her. MIL is living in poor conditions. She has a well on property that seems to be failing. To hook up to county water would cost $8000 (long story, but she owes the county over $5000 plus cost to bring the water to the house).
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this might help you it is by becker-polakoff:

Moreover, to create a tenancy by the entireties under Florida law, unities of time, title, possession, marriage, and interest are required.

Thus, both spouses must (i) receive title in the same conveyance, (ii) hold title to the property, (iii) have equal right to use and possess the entire property, (iv) be married to one another, and (v) have an equal interest in the whole of the property.

If any of these unities are not satisfied, there is no tenancy by the entireties.

AND I WILL BET SHE KNOWS THIS
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Medicaid will see the money is in an account with her SS on it and the money will still be considered as hers. I doubt that your sister will be so obstinate trying to hold the money if you have to apply for Medicaid. The money would have to be spent down for your mother's care before she could qualify.

Why does your sister feel it is her money? Has she given an reason that she is reluctant to release it if your mother needs it, beyond saying that it is hers?
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Well if you have POA put a stop on any activity on the account at all until it is sorted. That way the daughter can't 'acquire' said money.

THERE SHOULD BE STATEMENTS SHOWING WHO PAID IN WHAT AND WHO WITHDREW WHAT AND UNLESS YOUR oops sorry caps lock

friends daughter can prove she put all the money in and never drew a penny out then half will go to each I suspect.
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She is competent enough and just gave me POA. I have spoken with her financial advisor who gave me the history.
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Who has her POA's? Is she competent to change them to someone that will figure out whom this money belongs to?
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