My sister, accepted my Mom's car as a gift after "medical incapacity" document filed with attorney and without telling me. Is this legal?


My Mom had her license revoked and soon thereafter my sister's car "died". She was having a lot of financial problems, (but lives in a very affluent area) and did not have any money to buy or credit to finance a new car. My mom is deep into her disease, with her long term memory still intact, but has very little short term memory. She has her POA filed with her Attorney, with both of us being in charge of her financial decisions, and me appointed as medical decisions.

The big problem is she did not trust my sister, and added me to the will to be in charge of her money, and if this had been 5 years ago, would not have made this choice to give her her car. It was almost brance new, as my mother didn't drive very much (She's now 88 and bought the car when she was 78). My sister did not tell me until after she changed the name on the car and put her insurance on it, that she had accepted this car as a gift, after asking my Mom for it. I expressed my concern with this to her, and told her that she knew our mother had Alzheimer's and that anything of value should have been reviewed with me as well. She brushed it off, as it being an issue between my mom and her, and defended her decision saying she told me she was "discussing options" with my mom. But this raised a lot of red flags and now my mom is relying heavily upon her for financial decisions, and she is not receptive to obtaining an attorney to represent us in case the POA needs to be in place. I'm trying to keep the communication friendly, but is accepting this car legal for her to do knowing that my mother had Alzheimer's? (She was part of us frantically getting her lack of medical capacity signed by her physician and filed with my Mom's attorney soon after her diagnosis to protect her Will and assets.) And, should the car value be deducted from her inheritance? My mom has 4 grandkids and 3 daughters, and while she has money, she is using up her savings to pay for her caretaker. So it is not a bottomless well, and I just feel she "pulled one over" on me, and took advantage of my mom...even if she did need the car. My mom was emphatic about her not getting near certain funds, and not giving her any more money as she gave her a lot of money to start a business which went belly up, and she almost lost her very expensive house due to bad business decisions. And, now, of course, my mom doesn't remember that. I am frustrated that because of proximity, I cannot be over there as much as possible, and that she often fields the caretakers questions and concerns without letting me know until afterwards.

How do I protect my Mom from this happening again?

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My spouse and I have both given vehicles to our parents, and also received one back when they could no longer drive. In all cases we wrote it up as a memo and had it notarized ( and transfer title & pay taxes). If one of us signing the memo were not of sound mind the notary would not have notarized the memo.

If the car is titled to your mom (not to her Trust) and she is competent to sign a notarized memo and complete title transfer, there shouldn't be any problem.

In my recent problems with my parents, my Sis is POA and was trying to essentially write me out of the will in exchange for accepting an old motor home.
See my other posts here.

In the end I got an Elder Care lawyer who saw right thru the stunt my Sis was trying to pull.

Keep in mind, having Alzheimers does not mean they cant give gifts anymore! And certainly someone who is doing unpaid work for mom, should be compensated in some fashion. I only mention this as, you sister who it sounds like is care taking for your mom ?? may in fact be the true intended recipient of a gift by your mom. So if they have an agreement about the car, and remember you and your sister are co-POA, it's not your place to be telling you mom what she wants to do with her own property.

As far as "deducting" the car value from any remaining share of the estate, wow that is a Power Grab, trying to get even with your sister about some past troubles.

If your mom specified each kid gets an equal share of estate then that means with no deductions for stuff in the past. If you want a legal opinion go pay an attorney, but for a 10 yr old car it's probably not worth it.

A gift is a gift. Would you be complaining about who got this car, if you yourself were the recipient? The details are sure fuzzy, but a $15k (maybe) gift is not much these days. Especially if your sister has been on call many years for her mom 24/7/365.

When you get to Heaven and you and sister and mom are all reunited, are you gonna care about who got some old car?
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I see that your mother has a caretaker, so I assume she's living with your sister? (Missed that when writing my previous post.)
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"She has her POA filed with her Attorney" and "she is not receptive to obtaining an attorney to represent us in case the POA needs to be in place." Could you clarify?

I'm confused. Has your mother executed a Durable Power of Attorney? You stated you and your sister are named, and hold joint authority to handle your mother's financial decisions, but that only you are in charge of medical decisions. Are you referring to a health care proxy or advanced directive for that medical authority?

I'm also inferring from your post that your mother made this gift voluntarily despite the fact that she has some advanced level of dementia. So it would seem that your sister exploited this and asked for the car, as a gift.

You also wrote that your mother's funds are limited, but you didn't indicate where she lives, other than to infer she's not living with you. If your mother is in a facility and it's possible that she'll need Medicaid, that gift would I think reflect negatively on her ability to get those funds. Igloo is the resident Medicaid expert, so she could address that with more accuracy than I.

But I'm also confused about the car. You wrote that your mother got it when she was 78, she's 88 now so she's had the car for 10 years, right? But car is a 2008 Mercedes, which makes it only 6 years old, not 10. I must be missing something here?

Or maybe I need new glasses?
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Don't depend on your sister for information about your mother.. Call the caretaker daily to see what's going on..
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Did you need the car for Mom? To drive her around in or do you have your own car? I "bought" my parents sweet ride when they moved in with me to make it easier for insurance, inspections, etc. They don;t drive but love the car, so I use it to drive them places in. But I also have my SUV, as I need it where we live. If Sis is also POA I guess this legal, and if Mom said it;s OK you may be out of luck. We did "donate" Dads truck to my youngest cousin because they really needed it, and were glad to do so. Even if Sis lives in a very affluent area, it dose not mean she may not need some help, Would your mother have given the car to Sis if she was not ALZ, and could not drive? I guess I just wonder if this is an issue between you and Sis... and not so much Sis and Mom. It is a gift, keep records and it will come out if you need it to.
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If it really matters, I made a mistake on the
Year, it's a 2008 Mercedes worth $15,000
ISP it's not a drop in the bucket, it's a rather
Generous gift from a patient who had a
Medical lack of capacity on file prior to giving
It as a "gift".
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Good grief....a 10 year old car? Hope your lawyer doesn't charge you more than it's worth if you pursue this.
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A ten year old car is still a ten year old car and has lost a lot of value. Can she gift it? Of course she can, but make note of the book value, because sis will have to pay that back if mom needs Medicaid within five years.
Does it count against inheritance? Not unless mom specifies that in a Will.
Is it legal? Yes. Is it ethical and fair? Not one bit.
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