I am caring for my Mom who has dementia. She has a little money from the sale of her home. Can I use this money?


I am her POA.

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I agree with Lynn that her funds should be used to support HER & to document everything also. However, if you can't work because you have to care for her, what will you do? There are senior daycare places available for her, that you can pay so you could continue to work. They also can help to guide you to a "game plan" now and in the future. They know where to apply for state assistance also & what is available. Also, maybe if you have siblings, they could take on part of the care with you? There are also volunteer sites that may be able to offer you some assistance. Stay out of the "gray area" as Lynn suggests, as the medicaid look-back period is serious stuff & you also don't want her to be disqualified.

All's I was trying to say regarding paying someone for HER care, is NOT to lose your house because you now are no longer able to work, so therefore no longer able to pay the bills/mortgage. I've heard horror stories there too!

Any monies spent here was for my Mom & was approved of by her(clothes, gas for doctor appointments & parking, food, nutritional supplements, medicine, hairdresser, podiatrist, etc).........unfortunately, it sounds like you will have to make these decisions on your own. Documenting thing's is always a good idea, as it protects you, if any questions arise. How is one supposed to remember what went on 6 months or a year ago? The documents will speak for themselves. I also don't do the books, so I just turn this over to a professional & it makes life a lot easier.
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My first answer is: don't as us, see an elder attorney to be absolutely SURE about spending her money. Your ability to use her money just depends. How will you "use" it? There are ethical and practical things to consider here. Do you need help with her portion of expenses? YOUR car payment? Do you have her Power of Attorney? Are you on her bank accounts? Do you want to enlarge your home for her? Who will benefit from the increased equity in YOUR home due to such changes? Will your siblings be bitter over that?

Without a PoA or signature authority on her accounts, then you're in gray legal area and could be endangering yourself especially if you write the checks and she signs them. Someone could easily charge you with abuse of her funds if you are not completely above board. Keep logs of expenses, describe what and why and keep receipts for BOTH her money and your money spent on her care, support, etc. It might be too late to become signature authority on her accounts but with a PoA you can move her funds or change direct deposits to an account under your control.

You, as her care giver, MUST ensure that her money is used for her needs first. Be sure to pay insurance premiums, mortgages, co-pays, etc. Paying yourself now is questionable since she has dementia.

Consider her future need for medicaide or state assistance. When you apply for this help, there is a look back period of 5-7 years depending on your state. If there are expenditures or transfers of money or other assets (cars, art, antiques, land, stocks, bonds, etc) to someone else or even a company, then your mom could be disqualified from that assistance for quite a few months. The idea is that the person who received the asset, should pay for her care or give it back to help support her.

The bottom line is that her money should be used to support HER and ensure her comfort, safety and quality of life FIRST; anyone else comes second. Also consider that if she's in YOUR home and you provide more than 50% of her support (count up electricity, water, food, mortgage) you can claim her on your taxes. To be sure you're doing everything legally, see a tax professional - they can probably help you understand everything to "add up" to calculate how much you're spending on her support.
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Yes, she needs to contribute financially to where she lives, as she would anywhere else. As far as care goes, some argue that one cannot get paid to take care of a family member. This is not true, it just needs to be reasonable for the service's you provide. If she weren't paying you, she would be paying someone else & the fee's would be a lot greater.

I suggest you keep a log of expenses paid. All people want to know, is that the elders aren't being physically or financially abused. I am able to ask my Mom what she wants to pay for & what is fair, as she is still competent. I don't know if you have availability to do this or not. My Mom IS competent for she is able to handle her own affairs by herself & also make decisions for her own life still. Maybe a few "odd thoughts/questions" may arise from time too time, but, they don't control/take over her life.

I hope this helps............hugs!
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