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My husband has been primary caregiver for both his parents for many years. He lives nearby and buys them groceries, brings them to doctor's visits and takes care of any needs they have, including lawnwork, fixing things, etc. His brother lives about a half hour away and visits a few times a month and is not as involved as my husband. For years he never did anything for them, never even showed up for their birthdays, or any special event, while my husband has been to every one. Both his parents are in their nineties and have health problems, but are still fairly sharp, although his mother is getting frailer and has moments of confusion.


His parents have always told my husband that he would be POA when the time came. However, his brother went behind his back and persuaded their mother to give him POA about a year ago. He also got the credit card and the check book, and is in charge of all their financial affairs. My husband was upset at being excluded but said nothing, and respected his mother's wishes.


Not long after my BIL got POA, my MIL started complaining that she had no money for things, and would sometimes get upset. She also started criticizing my husband for things that he hadn't done, and started calling him 'sneaky', out of the blue. My husband got suspicious, sat down and told her how upset he was that she apparently not happy with him. She apologized, told him she didn't know why she had been angry with him and agreed to make him co-POA. She asked him to make arrangements with his brother. She also told him he could have access to all the bank and credit card statements to see where the money was going.


My husband contacted his brother who agreed to do this, but the next time he talked to his mother she had changed her mind, and told him to mind his own business and leave his brother alone. He now knew that his brother has been influencing his mother behind the scenes and working against him. Eventually my mother told my husband to just call the lawyer himself and make the POA arrangements. This was three months AFTER he told his brother to do it. My BIL finally gave him the bank and credit card statements, at their mother's insistence, and my husband was shocked at how much money his brother was spending, up to $2000, sometimes more, a month on himself and his wife. One credit card statement was over $3000. When he told his mother, she was shocked and upset, but the next time she saw him she said that his brother 'needed it'. Of course he doesn't need it, he is comfortably off, has expensive cars and goes on vacation twice a year. Unfortunately, he's playing on his mother's good nature and guilting her into allowing him to spend freely.


At this point, my husband is waiting for the lawyer to prepare the POA paperwork, but has found out that his brother is still trying to talk his mother out of the co-POA arrangement. On top of this, my father-in-law knows nothing about his son spending thousands of dollars every month. My MIL insists that he shouldn't be told because he would be furious, and would put a stop to it immediately. Most of the money comes from my FIL's pension. Isn't this abuse of POA if my BIL is spending his father's money without his consent? Even if my MIL gives consent, is my BIL violating the POA agreement? My husband is still worried that his brother with talk their mother out of the POA, even though the paperwork is almost ready. What can he do, if anything, to protect his parents from his greedy brother and his wife?


My husband has high blood pressure and other ailments, and the stress of this is really getting to him. He genuinely loves and cares for his parents, while his brother is just using them for what he can get.

Thank you everyone for the helpful information. I just want to add some more info to clarify:

To my knowledge, both my in-laws had the POA done by their long-time lawyer in their home with my BIL present. My husband was told about this after the fact, so he has no more info on that process. My BIL pays all the bills, but all the bills go to my in-laws home first, and my husband was recently given permission by his parents to look at them, which is how he first found out about the excessive spending.

The most recent credit card statement shows that my BIL is buying hundreds of dollars worth of groceries per month for himself and his wife from high end supermarkets. He's also paying for his wife's salon appts (two a month) averaging $200 total, plus several pharmacy purchases over different dates. There are also a few magazine subscriptions for magazines neither of my parents read (my MIL has vision issues and can't read now). In previous statements, there was similar purchases, and more. A few months ago, my husband asked my BIL to cut back on the spending, and he said that he would, but he actually got worse. He spent close to $2000 over the Christmas period alone.                                                                                                                               My FIL has never had anything to do with the bills, as my MIL always handled them so he puts them in the 'bill tray' for my BIL to collect. As previously mentioned, my MIL has vision issues so can't read them and had no idea how much her son was spending until my husband told her a few months ago. 

My husband has already talked to the lawyer's office to schedule a meeting for the family to get together for the co-POA. He told them what his brother is doing and they said they would get the paperwork done asap, so that they can move the process forward quickly.

In the meantime my FIL, who is very frugal and collects coupons for food items, has no idea that his son is spending his money on himself, and my MIL wants to keep it from him because he would 'hit the roof' if he knew. My husband wants to tell him, but I told him to wait and not to cause any stress to either of them. I'm hoping that the lawyer can get the paperwork done asap, and the meeting will sort everything out.

My husband and BIL have never been very close, rarely see each other and in the past only talked on the phone regarding their parents affairs. Now my BIL is avoiding my husband, and I fear that things are going to get worse, because my husband is furious with him and, quite frankly, I'm waiting for my BIL to manipulate the situation yet again, and make my husband look like the bad guy.

Edit to add: I forgot to mention that both my in-laws are still pretty sharp, but my mother can get confused when she's tired and/or stressed. She recently told my husband that if my BIL needs the money, then he has her permission to spend it. She won't listen to my husband when he tells her that my BIL doesn't need it...she's in denial.
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Reply to anonymous875851
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You need to contact the lawyer who drew up brothers POA and tell him i
the brother is abusing his authority. The lawyer maybe able to ask for an accounting. If found brother is stealing the lawyer can tell you how to proceed.

Sounds like Mom has some dementia and now may not be able to make informed decisions.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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MMacKy, any time a person becomes financial Power of Attorney, that person is responsible for payment the bills created by your husband's parents. Such as mortgage/rent, water bill, electric bill, gas bill [if that is one of the bills], real estate taxes, personal property taxes, cable TV bill, any credit card use, etc. if the parents do not want to bother with the bill paying chore.

Surprisingly all of the above can add up, and if you see a high monthly bills that probably included the real estate property taxes, unless that bill is part of the monthly mortgage payment. If there is no mortgage payment, then the parents have to pay out of pocket.

And if your husband's parents have stocks with good dividends, no doubt your husband's brother needed to pay quartly estimated IRS taxes.

It is important to audit the bank statements and credit card statements to see what all is being spent, to be sure. When it comes to older parents who maybe starting to have memory issues, you never know if they are giving approval to one grown child while telling the other grown child something else.

One question, who is the financial Power of Attorney for your father-in-law? It would be best if an appointment is set up with the Attorney [hopefully an Elder Law Attorney] where the in-laws can sit face to face with the Attorney. Such matters cannot be done over the phone. The Attorney needs to see the client to make sure the client is able to make their own sound decisions.

Whomever is the financial POA also needs to create new bank accounts where not only the parent is on the account, but so is the POA, that way the POA can write checks. I needed to do that with my Dad, the whole process went smoothly.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Lots of red flags. As POA you are responsible for using the elders funds to pay for the elders needs, not to fund your own lifestyle. You can, if the POA agreement allows it, be paid an hourly wage for performing your duties.

If you are in the USA and nursing home care you have to be very mindful of the 5 year look back period, if the parents do not have enough money to pay privately.

Why on earth would the father not be told about this situation? If he is mentally competent he can have the original POA revoked. By the way, MIL could not give POA over Dad's finances, only her own, at least not without Dad's signing off on it too.
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Reply to Tothill
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