How to get money back from siblings?


My mom lives on about $29,000 per year, in her own home. She "makes" too much money to qualify for any government help. She currently has me coming in 3-5x per week, and another lady 1-2x per week, but both of us think she needs more care, and neither of us can give any more time. And mom can't really afford to pay for another caregiver.

However, about 5-10 years ago, she had "parked" some money with 3 of 5 kids, with the understanding that if she needed it in the future, they would pay it back to her. (I know, this was a REALLY BAD IDEA, but it wasn't me who suggested it to her, it was her former poa, who was one of the recipients of money).

The reason only 3 of 5 got money, was the other 2 had legal troubles going on with divorce and child custody battles. So they got nothing, because it would have complicated Their Issues.

As my mom's poa, she asks me all the time, to get those monies back from me and the 2 siblings that also got funds.

I feel like I want to give her back some of the money, because I can see on a daily basis, how much she needs it...and I have told my mom that I would like to give her the money back, but, the other 2 sibs should give back an equal amount, at the same time. I've told her that she herself should do the asking since she was the one who did the giving. And I've also told her it was a Really Bad idea to have done it, because there was no contract or paperwork.

So, if I were to give back everything mom gave me, but the other 2 didn't, then when mom dies, how do I account for that? (I am the executor, so if I tried to deduct the money from their share of estate, they might file a claim saying I didn't divide everything equally).

And if mom were to need Medical Assistance (after using up all her money) then how would that be handled? My money would be gone, but the other kids who got some, would still have theirs, but myself and 2 siblings would have nothing at all from the estate (assuming she uses up all her savings).

I cannot ask mom's attorney about this, because he is very expensive, and this issue is so complicated--I'm sure it would take more than a 10 minute phone call. It would probably cost several thousand dollars.

So, is this money given away with a mostly verbal agreement, simply gone?

And if it is "gone" then is it totally gone, when I settle her estate? because the other 2 kids didnt' get anything, so my mom always says I have to adjust the estate shares. And the 2 who didn't get any, definitely know that they didn't get any (and they are expecting an adjustment in their share of any inheritance).

Her Will document makes no mention of these gift monies, at all.

Mom is still very much competent, and able to re-write her will, so maybe I need to take her to that expensive attorney and have her will re-written to address these gift monies???

Or would the other 2 siblings contest the will, claiming they never got any gift monies? I have no documentation that they received it, other than mom's word.

The amounts of money given were between $8-13,000, always under the gift giving limit of the IRS.

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jeannegibbs you are a very wise person.
Yes, long-term care is so expensive, if she moved in now, with only $29,000 per year she would have to jack that way up to about $45,000 per year, and her very small nest egg would evaporate quickly. That is when she would need Medicaid I guess, OR, the siblings would have to fork over those monies. It's probably me that would fork it over all by myself, because I'm the one who wouldn't want her to lose her private room....the others don't ever "see" her. So sad!
Helpful Answer (1)

Mom can handle the inequities of money passed out by changing her will. She may use up all of her estate for her own care, however, and no one will get anything. Those who got something in the past lucked out. You guys got something and the other two didn't. Sad. But I doubt that anything legal can be done about it. If the three of you who got money want to do the decent thing and give some to the other two, fine, but there is nothing to make you do it.

I think you should explain to Mom that she needs to contact the others and explain that she needs her money back now. Offer to type it up for her, but it should be her words. If the others have little contact with her now, I doubt they will come through, but they deserve a chance to.

You will have to settle the estate as the will directs, so take Mom to have the will changed. But realize that when it comes down to it, there may be no estate to settle. Long term care is EXPENSIVE.
Helpful Answer (2)

It wouldn't hurt to email the kids who got the money and let them know that now is the time to pay back. This will also give you a paper trail. The things kids happily enjoy with no thought to what their elder may need in the future.
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I am the only one who has any regular contact with my mom. The others hardly call, maybe send a card at Christmas. There is zero chance of family meeting. Probably best to have mom re-write her will and for her to specify these monies that were given. Her bank only has records for past 7 yrs, but mom might have older statements in her basement files. But if she runs out of money, then does that mean that the 3 who got money, are supposed to divide it with the other 2 (write them a check for....I can't do the math in my head, would it be 1/5th ?).
Helpful Answer (1)

Five to ten years is quite a range - are you able to go through your mother's financial history in any detail?

But I totally agree with Rovana: this is for your mother to get her head round and sort out, with your support. Do the other two who were given money come to see her? Can you get everyone together for a proper family conference? Best get it dealt with as soon as you can.
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I appreciate all the speedy replies. I took her to doctor this afternoon, and again in the car ride there, she started asking me how to get those monies back.....sigh. I think she will never understand that the money is gone, but it definitely will make her feel better, if her will is re-written to account for them. And it will make ME feel better to know it is there in black and white.
As far as renting out her home, her neighborhood association prohibits renting. She will have to sell, if she wants to move to AL.
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Mom needs to clear this potential nightmare up by a new will which states clearly what she wants - you as her executor can then follow it exactly and you should be safe from any lawsuits, etc. She needs to take responsibility as SHE created this mess - not you.
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It is gone, it was a gift, not part of the Estate. Mom needs Assisted Living now, and she can well afford it if her income is $29K a year. You can rent out her home and easily make ends meet. That's what we did.
Mom is no longer "staring at the four walls", she is surrounded by people and having a darn good time.
Helpful Answer (6)

I would consider the money gone, it is unrealistic to expect that it will be paid back. As for settling things up after your mom passes, make sure it is in writing! It doesn't matter what your mom intends to happen, if she doesn't change the will it could be a nightmare, not to mention that legally you are required to distribute the estate as written. And it doesn't take an expensive lawyer to write a basic will, I had mine drawn up for around $100.
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