I am moving out of my Mom's house. Can my son touch any of her money including VA benefit?

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The VA benefit was assigned to me to help my mother buy medicine, take care of her and other miscellaneous things she needs monthly. Now that I am moving out but still will be taking care of her daily, my son who lives here is going to try and take that small amount of money away from me and my mother and use it to run this house. He and his lazy money hungry wife are trying to take everything from her to add to their comfort while they are here. What can I do to stop them from touching any of her monies. I have POA which he wants me to sign over to her. Can I refuse since that is a legal document. Now I am fighting all of this alone...with no one to advise or help me. I am so depressed because loved ones have turned vengeful and uncaring. What can I do to keep him from taking all of her money when he and his wife together make about 60,000 and I get a very small widows pension from my deceased husband every month. I plan on going back to work and I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive any of them ever again.

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Gloria, just curious, did your Mom obtain an equity loan back when real estate market values were at their highest? If yes, then your Mom probably had a lot of equity in the house.... and since the real estate market had corrected itself, value dropped big time, thus no extra equity in the house.... sounds like the house is now worth the value of the loan.

I always believed if someone cannot maintain their home using whatever retirement funds they are receiving, it is time to downsize to something more manageable, so you don't lose it all.
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I have no idea what you mean when you say that the mortgage company must have mortgaged most of the money. How could she have obtained a reverse mortgage if she had only a little equity?
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She didn't have much equity in the house and like one of the previous commenters suggested, the mortgage company must have mortgaged most of the money. There was very little left and mother went through it trying to make some small repairs on the house leaving 0 dollars equity. What a mess this entire nightmare has become. I have lived with my mother for 25 years and have taken full care of her for the last 10 years. To avoid not having anywhere to go when she does pass, I grabbed at the opportunity to lease an apartment 10 minutes away from her. My son plans to live here until March when he will then move out leaving mom here alone at night. I am trying to find resources in the City of Virginia Beach for CNA's who will stay the night until I can get to her in the morning. I am going to try to do what you suggested CountryMouse and make the holidays good for my grandbaby and mother. Thanks for all the comments.
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No, the VA Aid and Attendance is not assigned to anyone but the recipient, the widow of the veteran. It never was yours, it was always your mother's.
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Things will indeed get better - holidays this year may be difficult, but just wait until next year, when you are out, have some breathing space - a whole different situation. You'll see. The situation as it existed simply cannot continue - it is hopeless and enabling it is just plain wrong for all concerned. So you are doing the best thing, not just for yourself but actually for the rest of the family by bringing it to an end. And you son needs to stop using grandma as his excuse to hide from life. He has responsibilities, not to your mother.
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Your son's anger and hostility make even more sense if he feels - and note, this is in quotation marks because it's what he might feel, not what is true - that "you are walking out and leaving him to look after his grandma and he has his own family to care for and you won't even give him his grandmother's own money to care for her" etc etc etc grumble fume humph.

Well, now. You are leaving that environment because you do indeed aim to break it up. And you're breaking it up because it is good for NOBODY who's living in it. So. What you need to convince your son of is that enabling his grandmother's refusal to accept that she has to change her living arrangements is plain wrong. Bad for her, bad for him, bad for his g/f and child. Not bad for you any more :) - but only because you've had the breakthrough realisation that it cannot continue. So: he must stop indulging his grandmother's clinging to the house, cut out the burning martyr crap, and start organising his own family.

His grandmother may be playing the poor helpless hard-done-by sweet little old lady card with him. He doesn't have to fall for it. You are, as you say, there to make sure no harm comes to her and you have every intention of continuing to do that. Over the next couple of months, do your best to demonstrate that grandma will be fine without his support. Gradually withdraw your input into everything else you get lumbered with. Try to keep your sense of humour, and be patient in the face of bad temper and nasty remarks. Talk openly to him about what you're trying to accomplish. Explain to him as bluntly as you like that he is not responsible for his grandmother's welfare, it is not his job, and nobody made him king.

Is he still entertaining some fond idea that he, girlfriend and child will end up as owner occupiers of the house when (God forbid) his grandmother passes away? How does he imagine he is going to find the necessary capital to pay off the reverse mortgage?

Speaking of which, how old is that debt and what did your mother do with the money? As I understand it, this could have serious implications for funding her continuing care, whether at home or in another setting. What would be your ideal plan for that?

For the holidays, and until you're safely out of the way, remember there is a small child in the house and as far as you possibly can just 'keep calm and carry on.' Maybe celebrations will need to be in a lower key than normal, but do celebrate. Essentially, try to set everyone an example. Deep breaths. This too will pass.
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Those reverse mortgages... a Godsend for some, a nightmare for others.

Gloria, if your Mom didn't have a reverse mortgage, she would have been able to sell her house years ago, and be happily living in a nice retirement community. In a sense, she is forced to live in a home that isn't elder friendly [with all the high drama going on]... plus a toddler underfoot. She will eventually get very jealous of that child.

Reverse mortgages are rarely 100% of the equity. Mortgage companies like to have buffers when it comes to reverse mortgages, so they mortgage around 60% of the equity. You need to check to see if there is some equity that would go to your Mom before you hand over the Deed to HUD.

So many elders refuse to even tour the retirement communities... they are still under the myth that today's assistant living/nursing homes are cruel dark places.
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Glornorth, your mom has dementia, doesn't she? And I seem to recall that she's not very nice to you, yes? No, you can't sign over Mom's poa, but if she's still competent, she can make your son poa. Why would you want to try to continue to do hand's on care for someone who resists your caregiving.

Get yourself out of there, get a job, a life and leave your son and his grandma to deal with each other. Your mother won't go to assisted living willingly and she is clearly killing you with her demands. Let your son have a go at managing this; if he misuses her money, he'll go to jail and she'll become a ward of the state. That's what happens when you don't cooperate. You've done your best.
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CountryMouse, your advice is wise and logical. My son is verbally abusive and angry at me for moving out. Now he feels it is his responsibility to take care of my mother which is not the case. I have told both mom and son that I will be here daily just not at night or on weekends, to provide care for my mother....cooking, bathing, scheduling doc appts., making sure she is safe. Why do they feel I am lying about this. She is my mother and I do love her dearly but I cannot live in this situation where mom is manipulative and son is abusive. He is trying everything he can to get me to sign over mom's money, benefits, etc. to him since he feels he will be doing most of the caring. Also, mom's house is in reverse mortgage and no one will get ownership of it except the bank unless one of us can come up with $268,000 in cash at the time mom passes. We have 90 days to vacate her home and I have already made arrangements to sign the deed to the house over to HUD. This is yet another reason I needed to find an apartment since I don't want to live a life of fear that I will be homeless. This is such a dysfunctional family unit I can't begin to tell you. Mom refuses to leave this home and is making it hell on earth for those close to her. My son won't let up on harassing me and I am in tears everyday about this whole situation. I will be leaving here January 2 and will be living only on my small widows pension I get from Social Security. I am going to update my resume and try to return to work if my age won't be a barrier. Thank you for taking the time to give your support and I really don't think I could stand it if I didn't have you guys in this forum to talk to about all of this. What do I do meanwhile (next month and rest of this month) to keep from being abused and controlled? The holidays are here and I have no warm fuzzy feelings about them at all. I used to be such a loving person but I can't find her anymore. God bless you all.
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Glor, your POA was given to you by your mother. Nobody except your mother can reassign it; and the VA will not reassign her pension to your son. So no, he can't touch the money. Not unless you hand it to him, anyway.

I cannot tell you how relieved I am that you are taking yourself out of this living situation. That is a key move, which you should stick to. Do not get sidetracked.

Meanwhile, the VA money paid to you for your mother's upkeep must be spent wholly and exclusively on her upkeep. You may not use it for any other purpose: not for yourself, and not for your son. Having said that, obviously one of your mother's main expenses is her household. While her grandson and his family reside at her house with her consent, her household expenses will be greater than they otherwise would be. Utilities bills, and simply the maintenance of a property that is larger than she herself needs, will necessarily cost more.

I think you need to split your worries up into their constituent parts.

1. Yourself. You are embarking on a new life, in a new home. Make sure you are making this your priority until you are securely established.

2. Your mother's welfare, for which, having accepted POA, you have agreed to be responsible when she is no longer able to be. I can't remember if your mother has capacity? - if she is able to understand her own situation and make appropriate, reasoned decisions? If she has, and she wants to remain in her own home with her grandson and family staying there, then you will just have to make the best you can of that unsatisfactory situation because you cannot overrule her; but any adverse consequences of it are not your doing and not your fault. Once she loses capacity, with your POA you will have all the authority you need to remove her to a safer place, sell her house, and devote the money to her care. Until then, your hands are tied.

3. Your son and his family. For "vengeful and uncaring", to be charitable, I read "freaking out and self-centred." It isn't that your son wishes you harm, it's that he believes you are harming him: you're not, but that's how he is choosing to see it. There he is, sitting pretty in his grandmother's comfy home, with you carrying all the burdens. That suited him just fine. Now you're changing it, which doesn't suit him, so he's reacting. It's natural he doesn't like it, but TOUGH!!! Time to grow up and take responsibility for the family unit he chose to establish. If you want to help him, do what you can to advise him on important decisions he needs to make: where are they going to live, how are they going to support themselves, how is he going to take care of his family? These questions are NOT your problem, but they do need to be answered. Separate what you are responsible for doing, from what you naturally do care about but are NOT responsible for.

This transitional period is going to be hard going. I wish we could offer practical help - that's the drawback of the virtual world, we get to know about people we care about but can't reach. But take courage! The aim is for you to be enjoying independent life, for your mother to be in a safe environment where her care needs are met, and for your son to be taking care of a thriving young family in a home of their own. Keep your eyes on those, and keep going. We're all behind you xxx
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