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My mother has battled bipolar depression for years. Her husband had a stroke back in 2005. I was out of state and it was agreed that my step father’s sister would help look after them. She quickly filed for guardianship of my step dad, leaving my mother without support. Shortly after moving back into their home after my step father’s stroke, the home became unlivable and she went to live with my brother. I want my mom back in her home close to her husband, now of over 40 years, and their IRA to pay for home repairs. I’ve had contact with the sister and she claims the IRA can not be touched because the nursing home would get it all and my step father would lose his SSI and Medicaid. This doesn’t seem right. How is it my mother loses assets and her husband? I don’t understand how this can happen to an elderly, disabled woman and I have come home to Texas to help her! Is it too late?

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney.

First, an IRA is an INDIVIDUAL account. It cannot be owned by two people. It cannot even be placed into a trust. Whose name is on the IRA? If it's in his name, only he (or I'm guessing his guardian) can remove money from it. So, it's possible the sister's correct. Side note: depending on which type of IRA, that money removed may be taxable or not taxable (Roth), and of course the timing of the removal.

I can't go any further, but you really do need an elder attorney to advise you as to your mother's rights, including information about that IRA. States have different laws.

While you're at the attorney's, bring up about the step-dad's and your mother's home being unlivable. The sister-guardian is not doing her job to have the home cleaned and maintained.
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Reply to MountainMoose
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You definitely should get independent professional advice on your mother's behalf. If your mother owned these assets jointly with your stepfather, then it needs to be confirmed that her needs and her interests were taken into account while his care was being planned. And even if she didn't own anything outright, she still has rights as his wife - she can't just forgotten all about.

They are still married, are they? How was your mother's SIL able to get guardianship so quickly: because your mother was unwell at the time?

Did the SIL agree that she would look after both of them? Do you think she understood what she was committing to?

But fifteen years ago... it's probably not fair to look back and judge too critically. And besides that doesn't change anything NOW. It sounds possible that your mother's SIL perhaps doesn't want to tinker with a system that she's had set up for years and would rather just leave things be. You can understand why, but then... it's not up to her :)

Is your mother still living with your brother?

Be your mother's advocate, find her good advice, and best of luck to all of you.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You need to see an elder law attorney that can explain Texas law to you.
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Reply to gladimhere
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It is time to lawyer up! Too complicated to try and figure out on your own! Good Luck!
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Reply to anonymous912123
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Mountain is correct about the IRA. Its probably under SFs name. Mom could be a beneficiary but its not hers. Yes, a guardian has certain duties and has to report to the State every year.

Do you mean Social Security or Supplimental Income when you say SSI. If Supplimental income and Medicaid for health maybe effected if its cashed in. Cashing it in now becomes income. But, that is a question for Medicaid.

You need to see a lawyer to protect Mom. She is still married to SF and she has rights.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Get an attorney! Sounds like you need professional advice. Best of luck to you.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Yes, consult with an elder law attorney. It will be worth every penny.
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Reply to Geaton777
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You need to consult with an Elder Care Attorney.
I can only echo what Countrymouse , JoAnn29 and Mountainmose have said as well as a few others.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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The commenters are correct. This is one time you do need to consult a local elder-care attorney, pronto.
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Reply to thepianist
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as everyone here has stated call an attorney. Do it today. Each day you wait is a day this woman has to manipulate the situation.
There most likely is a Sr advocacy group at the county or state level of family services
You need to get a look at the records. IE the will her guardianship document.

get educated as to what the laws are in your state and the federal laws.

Be sure to take VERY good notes in your discussions with her, atorneys anyone. you engage. All these people seem to be good at forgetting.
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Reply to lacyisland
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