My sister used her POA to steal from my mother. How should I proceed?

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My mother lived with me and my husband last year. During that time I got POA for her and we put her assets into a trust with me as trustee.

My sister convinced mother that I had stolen her money and took her to live with her ... about 2 hours away. She cut off communication- me and other members of the family- and isolated my mother. Apparently she also told mother that my brother was dead and wouldn't let him talk to her either.

Sister shopped for a lawyer who would take her word for everything and not do any investigation (one lawyer did investigate and would not file a lawsuit)... and last April I got papers saying I was being sued. Not just me, but the bank where the trust account was held, the broker and brokerage house, and the lawyer and law firm where the trust was written. All being sued.. out of the blue.. for a half a million dollars each. Believe me, on my best day I am worth no where near a tenth of that!

I didn't know it at the time, but Sister had told mothers doctors that she was allergic to her aricept and namenda and had her taken off those medications. Mother had deteriorated to the point where she could no longer dial a phone (I felt really bad when I discovered this cause I had thought all along that if she wanted to talk to me she could call).. she couldn't make coffee.. nor could she work the remote on her television.

Sister moved mother to a senior apartment (not quite assisted living.. not much assistance) where mother continued to deteriorate. She couldn't order from a menu and lost weight- I'm guessing down to about 90 pounds.

When I called sisters house to tell her our new phone number sister told me mother had moved to assisted living and didn't want to hear from me.
I found mother and went to visit that first weekend. She was pitiful. Had trouble speaking... couldn't get her words out. She was delighted to see me and even happier to hear that my brother was not dead as my sister had told her!

After two weeks of visiting her I asked if she wanted to come back home with us.. she did. We moved her back in with us.
The week we moved her my sister used her POA to empty out her bank accounts and sell her car. She also has some valuable personal property that mother wants returned.

Knowing my sister, the money is gone and the valuables sold. I doubt there is anything left to get back... maybe a little satisfaction. This took place in another county two hours away. We would have to file criminal charges there and go to court there. I'd have to miss work to take care of it. We are talking about $20,000 or so in cash and about $15,000 or so in personal property.

Mother and I went to the lawyer who had drawn up the POA I had from last year today and had a new one drawn up. Mother revoked sisters POA a month ago. The lawyer told mother that sister had made several inquiries into the POA mother had given me, questioning mothers competency to do so and asking whether mothers signature was notarized or could it have been forged~!
Sheesh!

Mother also drew up a new will today. She wants to cut sister completely out of any inheritance. I think what she ended up doing was writing it up that sister inherits the things that she stole and the money she stole and nothing else. I was out of the room when they did the will. The lawyers wanted to make sure I was not influencing her. Unlike the lawyer that filed the suit against me, by the way. Mother says that sister always talked to that lawyer and the lawyer didn't listen to her at all. In fact, the POA that lawyer wrote for sister gave her the authority to testify in court for mother, without mother even taking part!

I called elder abuse hotline, but they have done nothing so far. The county attorney isn't interested in prosecuting because sister had poa when she took the stuff and transferred mothers money out of her accounts and sold her highlander for an unknown amount of cash (or maybe traded it for a new car- the dealership where we found the highlander wouldn't tell us if it was a trade-in)...

So.. how do I proceed. My desire is to be done with lawyers for a while and hopefully never speak to sister again. If we find a way to prosecute her I will have to deal with lawyers and probably be in the same room with her again.. and it will continue to cause mother grief.

From my perspective, dear sister cut off communication with family, isolating mother. Took her off her medications and caused her to mentally deteriorate, then put her in a position where she could not function (a senior apartment where she was expected to care for herself and order food from a menu) which caused her continued physical decline. She got POA, filed suit to get hold of the money in the trust. The lawyer conspired to help her do this by giving her a POA that included being able to testify and give a deposition.

I would love to go after the lawyer, but I hate legal stuff.. court. etc.

Any suggestions

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Many states have protection/advocacy agencies to protect from exploitation such as this. Please look into this at your county Aging Office and explore how you proceed through the Protective Services process.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to monicalouise
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Your local Area on Aging will do an investigation at no cost to you. They will go to your sister and make her account for every dime she spent while she was POA. Even if you choose not to press charges which I don't think families should press charges against family, the Protective Services people will investigate and you will feel better knowing where the money went. Best thing to do is put sister the hell out of your life and take care of your mom first and foremost. Protective services helped me get dad's money back to him but my relationship with my family is destroyed but that's the way it has to be. Good Luck!
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Reply to Anonymous1
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That really is ashame. If the arrangement was reported to your states court under a Guardianship Plan, you report the neglect to the court. However, if this wasn't under the jurisdiction of the courts, contact your local government operated Aging Services Dept and they will assign a Social Worker to investigate-
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Reply to jazzslofton
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What a horrible situation for your mother.....but she is now back under your care so you can proceed from here. I assume Mom still has a monthly income from SS? If I were in your situation, here's what I would do. Chalk it up to a hard and painful lesson learned........you have already said you don't want to go through the legalities and there would be a lot, to say nothing of the dollars it would cost to sue sister. Probably a lot more than you would get back. And why is sister suing everyone? If you have to defend yourself, then that is a different story in hiring an attorney. You have one already since a Will was drawn up, perhaps a return letter stating charges of embezzlement, elderly abuse, fraud, forgery would be filed if sister doesn't drop her suit. I am just happy you have Mom back with you now and are able to take care of her properly......good luck!!!!!
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Reply to Jam
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If your sister had POA and used it other than in the benefit of your mother, this, I believe, is a crime.
If you can find a way to show where your Mom's funds were spent.
I believe any institution that is holding accounts under a POA agreement (as long as the POA signed the checks or documents as POA) needs to report to IRS if anything is out of ordinary or suspects that the POA is abusing the power of attorney.... "Fiduciary Duty".
I
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Reply to wuvsicecream
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from 2003 - 2005 I'd like to know who the attorney general for the state of Florida was. They don't have a damn clue what the hell is happeneing to the seniors! A year and a half after my mom passed I was hauled to court to tell the court why I didn't pay a $14,000 medical bill. Mean while my creep elder abusing x-sister conned mom into so much crap including finding a crook lawyer like herself to defraud the state by only submitting half of moms assets. She goes and buys up tons of real estate with moms money and the state of Florida allowed this????And I'm hauled to court! UNBELIEVABLE - I know what's happening here! The lawyers are making friends (contacts) with agents on the qualifying side of Medicaid and they're giving them kickbacks to let their fraudulent paperwork go through. It has to be otherwise how else would my mom have qualified for free state assistance having $400,000?????? Something is very rotten and stinkin in Florida! PISSED OFF FOREVER TILL I GET JUSTICE FOR MY MOM! PS I WILL GET JUSTICE FOR MY MOM. I"M ON A MISSION FOLKS AND IT'S TO UNDERCOVER THIS CRAP GOING ON!!
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Reply to Alwaysbusy
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I am so sorry for the problems that your sister is causing for you and your mother. Unfortunately it is something that is always happening to someone somewhere. The old saying that "Blood is thicker than water" may or may not be true but I have come up with a saying of my own, "Money is thicker than blood," which I sadly believe is often times very true. A very good friend of mine, a lady in her fifties, has not seen her sons or her grandchildren in three years. Her former husband and father of these adult children, is jealous of his former wife's wonderful husband. Her "ex" is well to do money-wise and real estate wise but bankrupt emotionally. The kids were given an ultimatum of choosing him or their mother. Choosing him would pad their pockets so their choice was an easy one. Sadly, stories like this are all too common and probably always will be. Another woman I know did what your sister did to you. She became POA for both of her parents and took all of their money and put it into a safe deposit box. She then sold all of their valuables and hid that money away as well. She told her out of state sisters that their parents had nothing. Unfortunately people that do these things have no remorse for what they have done or continue to do. I wish you and your mother the best of luck.
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Reply to joyewils
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Wow. I can relate to you on another level. While all of this was going on with my sibling, I also had a child in rehab. It was almost more than a person can take. My siblings (now keep in mind, my siblings are between 13 and 19 yrs my elder) have also brought up the issues with my child. Unbelievable. After a lot of other crap I just don't want to rehash, I have finally decided to have best wishes for all of them without being in their lives AT ALL. The negativity has been overwhelming at times and I will not allow them to do that to me anymore. As the youngest, I definitely feel such disappointment from siblings who should have been my beacons instead of my anchor. I hope you can also find happiness without Dear Sister. You will never move forward with her dragging you down. Just do what you need to for your mom now that she is in a senior living apartment, maybe you will find it easier to keep distance.
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Reply to llcrss
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my nephew was my mom poa for about 4 yrs after ny brother died and i went through same situation he stlod her money and things i own things my mom own aduly protective services was invloved but my nephew got away with this he sold my moms house my sister or me didnt get nothing i tokk my mom outof this situation he abused my mom neglected her all about money this was thats he wanted, Adukt protective services didnt prosecute my nephew my mother was in denial she didnt want to do nothing I took over i moived my mom with me i lost her 2 yrs ago she was 92 yrs old i had her about a2 yrs. I don't feel alone aboutthis i wish mymom would have gone after my nephew he took my inheritance money mom left my sister some money for her and me both i lost the house i grew up in that still breaks myheart
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Reply to paula1258
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Thanks for all the replies! I finally spoke a lady in a new lawyers office today. She was incredulous at just what had been done to my mother...both by my sister and by her own lawyer.

Sister had POA, so she will be difficult to prosecute for theft. However, she still should give a financial accounting of where all the money went. We can demand an accounting in court, if need be.

I am shocked that a POA would give the right to give testimony in court. More and more it seems like a conspiracy to me.

Anyway, I may just end up convincing this attorney to take her case and sue my sister for all the stuff she stole, and the money from her highlander.

we will see. Small progress here, though.
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Reply to inmate21
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