POA abandons house and stops payment for funeral. Now what? - AgingCare.com

POA abandons house and stops payment for funeral. Now what?

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My aunt aged 97 is in a nursing home. She has been amazingly good mentally until the last couple of years. She gave POA to her "friend" who I'll call Cathy. (If you look back, I posted about this a year or so ago).

Despite best efforts of family and friends, the POA has taken advantage of my aunt (Social services and the police investigated and found no problems. My aunt "Hilda" had told me that POA had taken all her money and would not even give her a key to her own house. I found bank records from a joint account showing that Cathy had been paying her own bills from this account. And that she had cancelled a check that would have pre-paid Hilda's funeral.

But that's a whole other story. I've visited my aunt and just try not to think about the finances, to be supportive although I live 1.5 hours away. Since Hilda is on Medicare there is nothing left to rip off from her so the POA hasn't been around much.

I got a letter from Cathy's attorney, which was a report on her spending as POA. It included $300 for boarding up the house. The house is in the now infamous city of Flint, MI so not worth much- less than $10K.

I went by the house the other day, found it was not boarded up and it has been broken into. There is a busted window and then I discovered that the DOOR TO THE HOUSE IS WIDE OPEN!! Needless to say I got the heck out of there; there could be squatters or drug users, the house has no doubt been vandalized and trashed.

So, obviously Cathy has not been doing her job! Then I learned by calling the funeral home that the funeral is only partially paid for. So my aunt is feeling secure that the whole thing is arranged for, paid for when in fact there is over $5K left to pay.

At this point I don't have any recourse. The nursing home social worker, the police and the court were totally convinced that the POA was not doing anything wrong. I don't know what to do. Sure, the house is no longer any good to my aunt, but finding out even the funeral money is gone, that's the last straw.

Any suggestions? As much as I'd love to have Cathy tarred and feathered, I just want to know how I can help my aunt just get her funeral funded! She (nor does anyone else) doesn't deserve this!

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Update: I talked to a close friend of my aunt's and there is an insurance policy that is being held at her church that pays for the funeral. Apparently it was put there to cover the costs, fortunately a place where the POA can't get her hands on it.

The friend is supposed to send me a copy; once she does that I'll feel secure that things are going to work out.
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This is why one needs to be very careful who they give POA to. Even family could turn against you, it is very sad. And scary. Good luck dealing with your Aunt.
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Igloo, thanks for raising that point - I had forgotten that the house has nominal value. Chem also indicated the taxes are delinquent, so that would further reduce the value as any purchaser would have to bring those current.

Any potential purchaser would probably look to the land for more value, but that also depends on its location as well as the demolition cost.
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Everbody keep in mind that Aunties house - according to Chem - has a value of 10k. The house was pretty much worthless then and even more now.

About FEMA.....well as one who has gone through the aftermath of hurricane Katrina & Deepwater Horizon, there will be nothing or almost nothing gotten out of a property like this. It has no value. Auntie does & has not even lived in it, so no homelessness or displacement involved. There will be some sort of bioremediation happening but all that is tied into verifiable property values & income of the residents. Her health care is already bring paid for by the Feds as she is on Medicare & the state by her being on Medicaid.
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Lassie, Chemkrd doesn't have legal authority to sell the house; her aunt's friend does, and this 'friend" seems to have abandoned her responsibilities.

At this point, Flint is in the process of remediating the lead damage; any house sales would probably be fire sale disasters, yielding little money to the homeowners. Given that the Feds are now involved, remediation is going to be underway (or may have started already), blame is being assessed liberally and denied equally as liberally, and politicians are jumping on the bandwagon, the Flint housing market is going to be either in a state of flux or ripe for contemporary carpetbaggers looking to snatch up property cheaply.

Even if Chemkrd had authority to sell, she'd have a difficult time or would just as likely have to unload the house to someone who's going to pay for it cheaply just to take it off a homeowner's hands, hold it until the lead remediation is completed, then sell it for a profit.
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Can you at least go into the house and remove some things? I am so sorry, but try to sell it if you can, or just let it go. Things don't work out the way we think they will, we never anticipated mom's dementia and going into a nursing home, using all her money over the last few years to keep her in her home. The house and furnishings, paying the taxes, fixing the heater, were another tremendous burden to worry about. Can you sell your aunt's house? Can it be fixed up and rented? Not sure how that thief Cathy figures into something like that. Maybe if they can prove she was using the funds for herself, they can nail her, I see articles like that in the newspaper every year, someone ripping off the elderly. Good luck, this is a sad situation.
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Wow, lots of comments and suggestions! One note: at the time that my aunt gave POA to this POS, she was being declared incompetent at the nursing home she entered. No, I‘m sure not a coincidence. NH filed in probate court since POA did not file for Medicaid until the bill had gotten huge. I went to court because we were afraid she would end up in some really nasty NH.

But the judge didn’t bother to even listen to family members. In fact, Cathy came out smelling like a rose. I don't see any point in again going to the police or APS.
My sisters and I even hired an attorney who didn't say a word at the hearing.
Pretty sickening and that’s the state of justice in the country if you ask me.

The house is no longer an issue. I think once the POA realized she couldn’t make a buck from it, she just let it go to hell. Since the taxes haven’t been paid for quite a while, it will go to the Land Bank of Genessee County, which tries to reduce blight, rehab homes and sell them to new owners. I did send them a request to board up the house.

My aunt is getting hospice care and really cannot make a decision any longer.
It’s more of an emotional issue for me, seeing the house, which was fully paid for and still filled with some of my aunt’s things, just go to waste. She wanted to donate it to the church.

I may try the Ombudsman or some other agency. To me, making the funeral arrangements is the most important issue. Going directly to the funeral home is a really good idea. She has a grave purchased, but maybe she will have to be cremated and her ashes taken over there to be near my uncle.

I think the lesson here is to be careful who you trust. This woman had been ripping my aunt off for years and her other friends told her repeatedly. The POA accused other friends of my aunt's of stealing from her; you know the best defense is a good offense!
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Keep tooting your horn! Call APS, call the police. This is NOT a CIVIL matter, this is FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE! APS is limited in what they are able to do and the police often don't know how to write the report for these matters so they shrug their shoulders and say it's a civil matter (not my problem). Get them to write a police report that can be taken to the DA. The DA won't take a case without it starting at the PD level. In the mean time--regardless of what PD and APS do, contact an ELDER LAW ATTORNEY who handles CONSERVATORSHIPS. Discuss the idea of having her conserved which will get the court involved. IT's a process, it's frustrating, but you will prevail with the right support.
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David, good suggestions. BTW, I love the cats in your avatar - the black and white one has such unique coloring.
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If the city of Flint is a Federal disaster area, then perhaps you can get your Aunt's home on the FEMA list for some form of reimbursement. Let them know the home was a big part of her total assets available for her care. Who knows, you may be able to get enough to pay off her discounted funeral costs. It can't hurt to check with them. Also, check with any home owner's insurance she may still have---they may cover some damage costs too.
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