I've been accused of stealing money from mum. I didn't keep receipts of items purchased but I'm innocent. What can I do to defend myself? - AgingCare.com

I've been accused of stealing money from mum. I didn't keep receipts of items purchased but I'm innocent. What can I do to defend myself?

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My sister has accused me and has made threats of court action but still hasn't after two years. She has prevented the proceeds being split based purely on her allegations. I have testimonials that I spent the money on my mother and had reasonable reimbursements for my out of pocket expenses but she is not accepting of these reasons. She is claiming all money withdrawn was for 'my benefit' which is not true and I don't seem to be able to do anything to defend myself against her allegations. I sent all of my testimonials and evidence to the OPG but unfortunately my mother died (July 2016) before they had completed their investigation. My mother lived with me from December 2014 until March 2016 and up until her stroke in July 2015 she was compos mentis and still had complete control over her own finances etc but as the POA was registered from January 2015 my sister is insisting I pay back money from then. This has gone on for two years now and I have stated I am prepared to defend myself in court if need be but she simply repeats her allegations and threats. I have answered all her questions but she doesn't accept my answers. The Estate solicitor is not doing anything and has not replied to my requests for information on how much the estate is worth (100 of my mum's shares have been sold but I've no idea how much for) and a breakdown of his costs thus far. He has not replied. I am being treated like a criminal but I have not done anything wrong. It is making me ill. I'm so depressed over it all and don't know what to do. My solicitor doesn't seem to be doing much either.

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Ellabella, I empathize with your situation, but I don't have a lot of advice for you other than maybe the first few lines of the serenity prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." Sounds like you can't change the way your sister thinks, no matter how often you answer her questions and regardless of the good work you did in caring for your mother. I suspect the legal and financial issues will get resolved in due time and all you can do right now is resolve to patiently answer any questions asked while otherwise trying to get some peace of mind by stepping away from the accusations and turmoil. (If it helps at all, if you know what your mother's shares were that have been sold, from stock data available on-line and depending on the volatility of that particular stock, you should be able to guesstimate the value of the 100 sold shares.)

For anyone else providing full-time care for a parent or thinking about doing so, Ellabella's situation provides a cautionary lesson. Providing such care is obviously time-consuming, usually difficult and tiring, and often life-changing for both you and your family. Sometimes, perhaps more often than not, siblings who provide little or no hands-on help, seem to have more interest in your parents' finances than in their physical/mental conditions (let alone in the sibling-caregiver's physical and mental conditions). So, in hindsight, my general advice before embarking on a caregiving journey with a parent is to put a care plan in writing and update it as frequently as conditions change. Such care plans should include what services will be provided (personal care, bookkeeping, etc.) and what expenses will be paid from the parent's income or assets. (Depending on circumstances, there is nothing inherently wrong if such parental expenses include payments to the caregiver for rent, food, utilities, time, etc.) Care plans should be developed with opportunity for input from all siblings and parents who are willing and able to provide input. Having and following a caregiver plan, along with keeping all receipts and financial and medical records, may help alleviate future sibling concerns, as well as become invaluable should your parent eventually need government financial assistance for long-term care. If your siblings begin to cause problems in spite of your best efforts, either before or after you decide to become the primary caregiver, then you may need a professional family mediator's help. Ultimately, if sibling problems persist, it may be advisable to petition the court to become your parent's guardian and/or conservator.

As a final thought, living revocable trusts, as valuable as they sometimes can be, are not a necessary or complete solution to your parent's possible future need for a family care-giver. In fact, such trusts, especially those created without prior knowledge by all family members, as in my experience, can create more problems than they prevent and can put at risk the provision of the best care for your parent. Just one example, trust creations may include granting financial and medical durable power of attorney (DPOA) to one or more siblings who do not become the primary caregiver. If the person with DPOA does not work well with the caregiver, the caregiver's stress will likely increase and the parent's care might suffer.
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Reply to bicycler
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You had Mom living with you. Did you charge her rent? Tell sister you saved her a lot of money. You may need a lawyer just to talk to a lawyer. You say Mum so are you in the UK. I am assuming sister is executor. Here the will is taken to probate and then it's public. We r able to call probate and they will give us the executor or Administers name. You can find out if u r a beneficiary. The executor has to carry out the provisions of the will. Your sister has to take into account that " you" gave Mom a place to stay and cared for her. This is worth something.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Was it cash? Was it a visa or debit card used or check, perhaps you can go online and print out the statement to alleviate the issue. We use one of those little receipt spikes one for our reciepts another for my father. (Get in office supply section of many stores). Every day when I come in all receipts go on the correct spindles. Then when the bank statement comes in I put all the receipts in the envelope and give it to my dad. My dads short term memory isn't the best and anytime we do takeout or go to a restaurant he insist on paying. Then a few days later he forgets. We are also on his account and have debit cards to his account. So putting all of his receipts in one place makes it so much easier. Relieving stress on all of us. I hope this helps
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Reply to Creativone1
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