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My MIL Sally, keeps telling me that she wants to take care of her own money. This turns into arguments. Sally lives with me and my husband. She has $180 in her tiny little purse that she keeps on her body inside her bra so no one will steal it. She keeps putting it somewhere, losing it, then accusing me of stealing her money. That leads to I want my checkbook, I want my debit card, I want all my money, you’re stealing from me.


Every month her SSI check goes into her account, I simply transferred into my account and paid bills with it. Sally is incapable of handling money. If I show her her bank statement, she will see that all her money is going in and then automatically going out on that same day and then of course the “you’re stealing all my money” argument started over again. The money is basically used to pay mortgage insurance, taxes, food, etc. I tried to explain to her that I’m not buying diamonds, we’re not taking trips to Vegas, we’re not flagrantly spending all your money.


My husband and I had to buy a house to accommodate Sally, so she and her other son Billy, who is mentally disabled come live with us. We emptied our 401k accts to get a down payment for this home. We NEED her $ to help pay for this home. She is belligerent and nasty when the subject of $ comes up. I simply just leave the room when I know that she is going to start another conversation about money. BTW: I am durable POA, so I’m good there.
Any other suggestions?

Not to stir the pot, but Sally is your MIL, not YOUR mother.

In my situation, that is a non-starter. My DH would have to be the one handling ALL of this, b/c as an inlaw, you have fewer 'rights' so to speak. I do ALL the banking for our family, DH helps his mother. I would no more have my name on a single acct of hers than fly to the moon.

I'm a big fan of a good eldercare atty. I was shocked by how much we DIDN'T know about our estate when we saw ours to set up our trust.

My mother does her own 'banking' under the watchful eye of my YB who has Financial POA.
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Reply to Midkid58
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I agree with everyone, you should not be transferring Moms funds to your account. As said, this will effect any Medicaid you try and get her. Her statements should be showing money going in and coming out by paying her bills. If you want Mom to contribute to paying household bills, then a contract should have been drawn up. But then she would need to be competent to sign it.

Are you Moms payee for SS benefits? This is what I found:

"If you have a rep-payee, they MUST keep your funds separate from their own at all times. In other words, a separate bank account should be maintained specifically for your social security funds. Your funds may never be deposited and held in another person’s bank account."

I also read that as payee records need to be kept and presented to the SSA when requested.

I understand how you are looking at things. You gave up a lot to provide for Mom and BIL but you need to do things correctly or it will come back on you. The SS check is Moms to pay Moms bills and to be used on Mom. Its her money.

This will be the same for your BIL. Does he get Medicaid for medical? If so, you fill out a report for him every year. You keep his money separate, correct? You need to provide bank statements? Do you transfer his money to your acct to pay bills? If you do, I would be surprised that Medicaid allows it without documentation showing where the money goes. I have to do this every year for my nephew.

I guess Mom sold a house to contribute to the one you have now thats why her name is on the new one? Again, this may cause u problems if she ever needs medicaid for LTC. By putting Mom on the deed, she owns part of the house. If she ever needs Medicaid, her portion can have a lean placed on it at her death. Does not matter that her part goes to the other 2, a lean will be put on her 3rd.

I know...OVERWHELMING. We feel we are doing things right, only to find out we haven't been. TG for this forum or I would have made a lot of mistakes concerning Medicaid for LTC.

So now, you need to find a elder lawyer very well versed in Medicaid law. Take the info we have given you and ask questions. There maybe a way to get around things.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Linda - My Alz. mother used to accuse me of stealing her money. She trusts her son, my brother, with her money, so I had him handle it, Whenever she brought up money question, I just tell her to call her son. At that point, she forgot how to use the phone, so she couldn't call. But at least, that helped sidetrack a fight. This lasted about maybe 6 month-9 months, then she eventually forgot about money and stopped asking.

Maybe when your MIL starts accusing you of stealing, you can tell her to call _____ (her banker, her CPA, her trusted son/daughter) because that person handles her money and not you. You know nothing about her money.

Hopefully, she will move past this stage soon. In the mean time, it is stressful. I know. You leaving the room is wise when money topic comes up.
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Reply to polarbear
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How can you be so certain that you will not need Medicaid? No one can predict the future and know for certain what will happen regarding money.

Years ago my husband lost his job. He was laid off and it took eight months before he was able to find a suitable job. We had to dip into our savings. It was tough for awhile.

Who knows what could happen in your future? I don’t think I would want to jeopardize anything that would be questioned by Medicaid, especially since your attorney said that could happen.

Hope it all works out for you.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I just pay the bills mom is responisible for from her checking account, signing my name and POA. Sine they are the same every month it not a flag should she ever need to go through a lookback. It is clearly for the same accounts ( electric and TV, her CCs) and her mad money amount is the same every month. She pays us for some gas and groceries, etc.. out of that. But since that amount has been unchanged for 10 years we're good. Plus then you could show her,, you paid the xxx bill.. Or show anyone else who "needs to know"
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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You posted this in August:

Aug 25, 2020
I feel your pain! I have my MIL to deal with. She is on Medicare and I thought that she wouldn't be able to get Medicaid because she 'makes too much on SS". I was wrong! Call an Elder Lawyer. As it was explained to me: you can get Medicaid by 'going thru the back door' when applying. This Medicaid is to be used ONLY for AL, MC, NH and not for food stamps or cash monthly. I live in Florida and I just got my MIL's Medicaid card in the mail yesterday. Very worth it to look into this. An elder Care Lawyer may be free depending on your financial situation. Also, get a Power Of Attorney, Elder law charged me $150.00 an SOOOO worth it. Good Luck to you.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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AlvaDeer Nov 6, 2020
Color me confused. In an answer to my post below Linda MIL not on Medicaid and will never need it?
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Tothill is correct: co-mingling funds may disqualify her from receiving Medicaid, and if there are siblings, they may become concerned/suspicious of the transfers, no matter the reason. Sorry, but the love of money can turn family against each other. Please invest in a 2-hr consult with an experienced elder law attorney that does estate planning and knows Medicaid for your state. This person can provide critical financial info so that your current arrangement doesn't come back to bite you in the end. FYI even if you think MIL has "enough funds" most elderly burn through all of their savings in the last 18 months of their lives -- and no one knows when that begins. Perhaps you've chosen to provide the in-home, hands-on care for her. Many on this forum have attempted to do so and burned out. No one can imagine the intensity (physical, emotional and financial) of caring for 1 aged parent themselves. You need to have the financial "out" in the case you wish to transition her into a facility. FYI once MIL needs 24/7 care this will exceed the cost of a facility. Hiring aids privately makes you an employer, responsible for withholding taxes and reporting to the govt. Also, what will happen to Billy once his mom has passed? Talk to a professional who can map out a legal and appropriate plan with you.
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Reply to Geaton777
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I can see that it’s much easier to transfer the money to your own account and then pay the bills for the household joint expenses, including expenses for MIL and your BIL with mental disabilities. I can also see that it simply does look like you are ‘taking all her money’.

It would be possible to resolve this by leaving mother’s money in her own account and then transfering money for a proportion of each bill, or a monthly ‘living expenses’ amount. Or you could could tot up the household bills each month and transfer a percentage which you have agreed with her – that might be easier to do. Any method is more trouble, unfortunately. What is easiest depends on how much MIL’s concerns are being a problem to her and to you, and also how many bills are paid a month. At a minimum, you could leave something in her own account, and show her ‘spending money’ being deducted from it. Think about how you could keep a spreadsheet, so that you have at least some record of what is going on.

As Tothill says, your method could be a real problem if MIL eventually needs Medicaid, or if anyone else in the family gets difficult. It’s worth some thought. Regarding her purse, could you get her one with an easy ring clasp to go around her bra strap? It might help her avoid losing it.

If we were in the same room, I could help you set this up. My guess is that you can do bill proportions for mortgage and utilities, which won't change much anyway, and an estimated monthly figure for food and groceries. It's worth putting a bit of thought into it.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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I seem to recall that you posted previously that Sally has Medicaid and that you got that done by going to an Eldercare attorney. Did you consult him about how you are handling her money?

I think leaving the room when she starts to get nasty is about the best you can do. Eventually she will move into the next phase and will forget about the money issues.

I would not show her statements as they will confuse her. You MIGHT consider giving her a simplr accounting each month, printed on the computer, of where her funds go:

Mortgage, prescriptions, food, insurance, Billy's care and the like.

"We are spending your money the way you told us to, on your and Billy's care, mom."
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I agree with Tothill. You are going seriously wrong with the way the money thing is being handled and it could come down to your being accused of elder fraud. Let's say your Mom has to go into care and needs medicaid? They will want to do a lookback 2 to 5 years depending on the state you live in. The money going from her account to yours will look like "gifting". You cannot handle your Mom's money this way, thought you COULD be her POA for financial in order to pay her bills, and to get room, board and food costs from her accounts. At this point, were your mother to call the police, and were APS to show up, with the way you are handling Mom's money, DESPITE your BEST INTENTION, you could be accused of Elder abuse. Please see a Lawyer at once and take Mom with you; they will help you set up accounts. It will be WELL WORTH WHATEVER THE COST is. I am pretty worried about the way this is going. I hope you are keeping careful records of expenditures and costs. Again, as you describe this, with your mother saying "you are stealing from me", she could make a case were APS called in, I worry. Where money is concerned it must be done correctly. Please see someone to help.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Lindajc2 Nov 6, 2020
I was completely unaware of all of this. Her name is on the home along with me & hubby I honestly don’t think she’ll ever go to a facility. Her insurance now is paying for aides. If she becomes bedridden, we’ll get a hospital bed and more aides. Hubby & I have talked about this. We have seen an elder lawyer when setting up POA & explained how we are using her $. He did say Medicaid will have issues with that but we don’t have Medicaid.
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You have your hands full. Sounds like a difficult situation. So sorry that you are dealing with this. Can her son help in this matter? Is it only you that she doesn’t trust?

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Lindajc2 Nov 6, 2020
I have always handled the household $ for our entire marriage. I don’t think it’ll matter who handles it.... SHE wants to do it and that ain’t gonna happen.
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You really need to get professional advice from an Elder Planning Attorney and Financial Planner on how to handle Mum's money.

You are commingling funds which is a major no no. It does not matter if you are durable POA, her money should not be transferred into your account.

Do you have a caregiver or tenant agreement in place? Who's name is on the property title?
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Reply to Tothill
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Lindajc2 Nov 6, 2020
Deed has me hubby and sally on it as a survivorship lease. If one dies, it automatically goes to remaining 2.
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