Follow
Share

My elderly father is now unable to live alone and hospitalized. Since I have POA, I have been paying his bills and sifting through his finances. I am trying to make his money last as long as possible for him. However, I have found in the past few years multiple times that family members have taken large sums of cash from him. I have even found where a neighbor lady was getting money from him. This makes me so angry! I am one of three children. I have always been financially independent and never needed money from a parent. I understand people might get in a bad situation and need help, but this is just plain robbery. Taking thousands of dollars from an 80+ year old man is theft! The hard part is that now he is hospitalized and is having problems with his mind, I'm afraid they are going to try to take his every last cent. I am considering hiring an attorney, but I'm not sure if there is anything that can be done. I feel so helpless trying to protect my father from his own children. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I am guessing others here will have some very specific ideas. But as POA here are some things I would suggest. First, remove anything of value and all financial statements and related items from his home. If his pension and social security are deposited directly, change the accounts they are deposited to - so only you have access to his accounts and money. Make it a different institution so there is no history that the predators can prey on. (You keep those records in your place under lock and key) If he has credit cards or ATM cards, make them invalid. Assess whether or not he needs these items. If yes, get a new credit card with a VERY low limit. Don't leave anything of value around. If (for some reason) Dad wants an ATM card, Leave a SMALL amount in the previous institution and his card . (like under $100). Keep these changes to yourself. Your Dad chose you to keep over things. Do it with vigilance. AND for goodness sake, keep meticulous records of his finances. If anyone would steal from their Dad, they might also make a fuss over whatever you do.
Helpful Answer (18)
Report

Good and thorough advice from GeeWhiz.

I would add that it wouldn't hurt to add fraud alerts to his credit files. I file the 90 day alerts every 3 months. You are entitled to one free copy of his credit file annually. The acknowledgements which you should get from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies will have code numbers for the alerts.

Get them and go over them well; if there are hands in the till, you never know what else they may have asked for, including co-responsibility for loans. Best to find out now and address it.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

All good advice already given. In addition to protecting your father from friends and relatives you have to consider that dad may need protection from himself. My mom was giving away large sums of money to any and every "charity" that sent her a sob story in the mail. I hate to sound jaded to the plight of others - but for example, one charity was a pig sanctuary! Anyhow - I was only able to do something that really made a difference once my moms dementia went from moderate to pretty sevear. Now as DPOA, my mom has no checks, no credit cards - I have them and mom doesn't even know what bank her checking/savings accounts are at. If mom needs cash for something I give it to her the week of her appointment or outing. I share information with my brothers when they ask but that does not include account numbers. If I thought either one of my brothers would actually try to take my mother to her bank - I wouldn't even tell them where moms accounts are. I know this is extream and a harda$$ approach but as it is enough damage has already been done - including mom making herself ineligible for Medicaid due to the large "gifts". I'm just thankful moms remaining money will carry her through the next five years.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

Misfit, I had a SIL, who lived clear accross the country, and who stole over 68 thousand dollars from her own Mother, without her consent or knowledge, by opening up 4 different credit cards, having had access of her Mom's SS#, from a previous business alliance, where my MIL was the Secretary, but this business was dismantled years before. All of the money went towards booze and living expenses, nothing tangible! The only reason she (MIL) found out, was she tried and failed to open up a credit card at a major department store, to have window dressings made. MIL asked me to help her investigate, and by requesting her credit information through a CC security protection agency, they were discovered. Unfortunately, my MIL did not press charges against her daughter (her choice), as MIL was having severe medical issues relating to her COPD, and she chose to instead, close the accounts, have security measures applied to her credit with same credit protection agency, and wrote letters to these CC companies, who each wrote off a portion of the debt, but she still had to agree to pay a huge amount of money back to them, And the Daughter walked away Scott Free! Its sickening, and it destroyed their relationship which was shaky at best, at the end of my MIL'S life. So sad when family does this to the frail and unsuspecting senior! I agree with all of the above helpful posters, and good luck with your ventures protection your Dad!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

GeeWhiz gave some excellent advice. And doing all the things she suggested will not take that long and once in place it will protect your fathers assets and will make you feel a lot better!!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thanks to all for the great advice. I'm trying to cover all the bases. It just bothers me that I feel like this. I don't like to distrust people, but in this case it's warranted. I thought perhaps if I combed through email communication I could get a better picture of what has been happening. It is worse than I imagined. They have been preying on Dad for years. It is well documented through email what he gave them. One email even instructing him to send a $2,000 money order and not a check because a personal check was traceable. One email where he reluctantly loaned a small amount $900 and kept pleading to be paid back since he was getting old. I really don't want this battle and the money means nothing to me. However, my Dad's medical care and dignity do. I will continue to protect and care for him. How can people be so cruel? He was moved to hospice today.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Your Dad is blessed to have you looking out for him and fending off the vultures. Sorry you had to find out about human nature the hard way among your own family and friends. If he does need more than just your help saying NO, it is not a bad idea to hire a lawyer, and said lawyer could even put his name on a letter requesting repayments.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

One step better, and this according to fraud experts is to go online and place a freeze on your dad's credit reports. It is normally no charge to do this at his age. He has no need for credit inquiries and this prevents people whether family or otherwise from applying for credit in his name or stealing his identity. It is simple and you must do it with all 3 credit reporting agencies. I've done this for my dad and for ours to. You can unfreeze them if you ever need to apply for a loan or credit. I've also created an account for my dad with social security so that no one can file a fraudulent tax return in his name. Trust me, this is the new fraud out there. You have to be one step ahead of the criminals.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Sorry to hear your Dad was placed on hospice today. YOu are dealing with alot all at once. Hospice is wonderful but we know what hospice means. Thankfully they can stay with your Dad while you run to the bank explain the situation and make new accounts in your and his name only. Sadly this is very common I found out when we were dealing with this in our own family. I had to change everything to protect my mother-in-law from her own son.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

When this happened to my then 80yr old dad with his step family, I took him to the bank and changed the account numbers. That took care of them stealing from his bank accounts. Unfortunately he had quite a bit of money stolen from his wardrobe and he was sadly reduced to having to sleep on his money, kept under the mattress, until they were forced to move out of his home.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My step-sister and her daughter took thousands from my Dad. My brother stepped in and called it Elder Abuse and is suing our step-sister, became DPOA, hired a fancy lawyer and now my father cannot see his step family members. This whole thing really wounded Dad but the brother is taking good care of Dad. Dad has some dementia and is in AL. His wife died of Alz last year.

Dad has a will and as far as I know, my sister and I are the main benefactors. I can't help feeling that my brother will cheat us of our share in someway. I feel like there will be a large FU sign for my sister and I at the end of the road some day. I haven't heard what happened with the step family yet. He says his lawyer told him not to talk to anyone. Sound fishy?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Misfit, So glad you caught this activity. You can stop it going forward, can't stop what's already done, I wonder if there is a way to shame them if these are family members? I can understand a loan, but to request a m.o. is so obviously devious this person should be exposed.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Freeze his assets, since you are POA I think you can do this. It isn't right, and it needs to stop.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I think this happens in a lot of families! i had a taste of this in my family too. and yah, you should be mad!! they are taking advantage of a senior, you dad!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Geewiz really does have some very good thoughts that I also had. In your situation, I would be curious so curious I'd really want to know why the neighbor lady is getting money from him. Is she doing some kind of test for him that he's paying her for? I would find out if there something she's doing for him and getting paid for it.

Is it also possible he may have been helping her out with something important enough to warrant legitimate help? I would check with these specific possibilities to see why she's getting money from him. If there's no legit reason, definitely let her know there will be no more money coming to her and explain why. All you have to do is explain that your dad is ill and needs what's left of his money. It may be that she may not even know what's really going on, so let her in on that secret as well. The idea is to give people the benefit of the doubt because if you're not around, you really don't know what's going on if no one tells you. I would find out as much as absolutely possible and I would find out why the family members are also getting money from him. If you find out where that money went and it was not a legitimate cause, I think you should go after each and everyone of them in court to restore the money. If anyone bought a brand-new luxury car, you can see if a lawyer can help you put a lien on the car or even a house if these items were bought on your dad's money. If it turns out they were really just taking advantage of him and they bought some serious valuable such as a home or car, I would definitely use the legal system to my advantage. I don't know if you made a police report, but you probably should. What you also need to do now is to take all proof of records and let the responding officer make copies of all of those records.
Your next step would be the prosecuting attorney's office with those same records. Press charges and give as much information about any homes or cars that were bought on your dad's money. Doesn't it seem funny that's why people get old and it ill that others who were younger and healthier tend to take advantage of an unfortunate situation? I know this for a fact because when I had a wreck in 2000, my shoes came up missing while I was unconscious. Yes, I know firsthand how people can unscrupulously take advantage of situations. If you can get guardianship of your dad, it will give you power over all aspects of his life including finances. You can as a guardian even have control over who spends time around him. I strongly agree that something needs done quickly before it's too late. What if there's someway to extend your dad's life and that money is the very key to what he needs? If he can't get what he needs because someone else talk all that money, they are to blame if he has an earlier death then he supposed to. They can blame themselves for being so selfish to not think of someone else's needs. I mean, someone else's life is at stake here, and getting that money back is what's going to be in his best favor. What I would do when you see the lawyer is find out if your dad has a will. Anyone with a lot of money and valuables should have one. Another thing you can do is see if your dad will liquidate everything and at least recoup some of that money. I don't know if anyone ever explain to him what's going on, but someone should explain to him that someone his own family has been stealing from him. He may try to deny it, but records don't lie as long as you can prove it. I would definitely have a lawyer in this type of case, especially if they can help you track down where all of that money went. If people opened a credit card in his name or even their own, I'm sure there is a way to track it down and put a stop to it. I do strongly encourage you to go after any homes or cars that were bought from your dad's money, especially if he never knew what happened.

seenypa, I'm just wondering about something you mentioned. What the heck was the money doing in the mattress instead of in a protected bank account? I'm very puzzled on this one because these days not many people always sleep with their money in their mattress. I heard of a sad situation on our local news years ago where some lady kept a very large amount of money in her mattress totaling right around at least 1 to 2,000,000. Are all knowing daughter surprised her with a new mattress and send the old one to the landfill, not knowing the money was inside that mattress until later when the mattress had already gone to the landfill. Remembering that is very sad story is exactly why I must ask you what the heck was the money doing in the mattress instead of in the bank? The bank can help you set up a protected account if you simply just explain the situation. The bank can put a stop or a freeze on the account and put selected peoples names into the system that tell them who not to give money to.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Misfit, considering hiring an atty???? Do it and now!!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Focus today on finding out which of your father's accounts had money taken out of them, and close them. Which ones were these? Did Dad send the money himself? You can use the POA to make that impossible now. A motto for the moment is "it has to stop now, from here forward". We may not be able to address all the loss so far, but make sure it stops now. Thats top priority in a cloudy time. Get the credit reports, and redirect any income checks from SS or pension to a new account. If you have a solid financial POA, you can do almost everything without a conservatorship.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

MisFit, all those e-mails you found will contribute to evidence of elder abuse; save them offline to a disk, make a duplicate just to be safe, and print them out. Take them with you when you go to the PD to file elder abuse charges.

This is so trying - your father going into hospice, financial abuse....what a challenging time it must be for you. I hope you do take some time to unwind and help ensure there is some calm to your days.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

That is so sad, seenypa...that your father had to literally sleep on his money to keep his step family from stealing it. Hard to believe what vultures some people can turn into when there is a little money they have the opportunity to get their hands on. Really makes me sick...I have learned more about the evil side of the human race in the past 10 years than I ever knew existed!! Glad there are a few of us decent people left, but I think we are outnumbered!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

All excellent responses. The concern I am faced with, as a daughter, is that I suspect the EPOA, my sister, is the one who has been 'skimming ' from our mothers account. Can't prove it as the second EPOA is possibly enabling this behaviour. Yes, have tried to have all sorts of civil discussions, meetings etc. All my questions have been ignored or I have been shut down. The law is on their side unless I take them to court where they will use, and get this, Mums money not their I own money for court and solicitor expenses. So if I challenge them it will only hurt my Mother. Unfortunately the daughter Mum chose to trust with her affairs was a mistaken chioce. It appears my sister has not been forthcoming and truthful to Mum or her sisters. Please be careful who you trust.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Excellent advice given in all the posts and only to add a small bit, a trip to an elder attorney might be good simply because they can send a letter to all in the emails who "borrowed" money from him and request a repayment plan. Sometimes a well-timed letter in forceful language makes a person start on the right track to repay their loan. They didn't think anyone would find out. It's really sad that drugs/alcohol/gambling takes a toll on some people that lead them to steal from their own family members but you must protect him by following all the advice of getting all the bank accounts in yours/his names so when the time comes you can write a final check for his final expenses. Any of his bills that need to be paid, you will have the money for payment. As for a will, if his estate is sizable, make sure the father prepares a will and those that stole from him will get a $1.00 until their loan is paid and then they may share or maybe not depending on his feelings. Personally, I would consult the police if I could prove a family member "encouraged him to send money" to them over and over. That takes a real kind of "dickhead" (excuse the wording) to steal from him. Since he's now in hospice, the end is fairly close and all options need to be done rather quickly. A trip to the bank should close out all accounts and reopen under different names and account numbers should solved the theft problems, especially with a letter sent that explains under no circumstances will any more money be taken out of the accounts and loans will be due to be repaid starting the next month, and a will should help with the other remaining money. I hope he has enough to pay his final expenses after they looted his accounts. Ask him what he wants done with other items such as furniture, household goods, etc. He may want to let some members come pick out what they want and give the rest to a women's shelter, especially the ones who support the women and children who try to escape from a battered home. They try to create a home once again and will need furniture and items, clothing, etc. Stand firm against the family members who you have emails from and PLEASE save all the emails documenting the removal of monies from his account no matter what the circumstances. You may need the evidence at a later date and let them do the explaining as to why money was taken out. An elder attorney can accomplish many things much faster than you can but whatever you decide to do, please do it quickly. Good luck in your pursuits and I hope you recapture some of the funds already stolen.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

1RareFind sounds a little naive to me. I really don't believe those who have taken advantage of your dad would have bought themselves cars or homes. Drugs? You betcha. Vacations? Probably. And talking with the neighbor to inform her of what the plan was to protect your dad, absolutely not. I'm sure as the neighbor she has watched his decline. If informing her of anything, I would be telling her that she was being reported to the police for elder abuse. Freezing his account, changing banks excellent advise. Choosing to think the predators who have hurt your dad, no. Also, hospice doesn't always mean it's over. They are there giving awesome support. They may help guide you in this matter also. By the way, hospice is good for only 6 months at a time then it needs to be requested again. Let's all pray for the renewals for you.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Does any of the money say "loan". If so, collect. 😊
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dad is in hospice and very weak and confused. I am continuing to do my job as POA advocating for him with healthcare decisions and keeping his household bills paid. I find out today that a friend of one of the "takers" paid dad a visit. I am concerned this friend who dad doesn't even know is visiting for the wrong reasons. He is several states away and I can only visit as my work time allows. I do speak with him and his nurses daily. He pushes the button for a nurse and doesn't even remember why. He is very confused and it bothers me a total stranger is visiting him in this condition. I want him to have caring people around, but this just seems weird. Can I ask the hospice to make sure these visits are supervised by staff?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You can restrict visitors where he is staying. Let the facility know about how he has been taken advantage of and you can give them an approved list of visitors and ask for limits for time also.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

It makes me sick to my stomach how some people are. My brother did this type of thing to my dad, and some of his neighbors too. My brother asked my dad for over 2,000, dad said no, so brother actually vandalized dads property in retaliation, and did it in a way that dad couldn't miss is, a 52 year old man behaves this way. Cash disappeared from dads house while he was in the hospital a few months following the request for said funds. I found out about this because dad told me about it, but I think often our parents are proud, who wants to admit they've been ripped off? It's sad when you see the fear on your dads face over a siblings behavior, my dad is afraid of my brother, he will agree with anything he says just to appease him. Neighbors got dad to pay for part of their fences saying that way he could connect a fence to it, this is bs, and they knew it, he couldn't even maintain his home, fencing his property was the last thing he could do. Others got him to even pay for snow removal on their driveways. He now lives with me, I have DPOA and we are Trustees together of his trust fund, and let me tell you, when you are taking care of a parent, you are protecting them with their health and well being, but you are a guard against criminals, and often the only thing that stands between a vulnerable parent and scum as far as I'm concerned. I've been threatened physically and my brother actually threatened me with lawsuits when I told him I had video security in my home, he has four criminal records, for assault, arson, previous vandalism and the forth is a probably another assault. And I deal with this alone. He even got up in my face, when I didn't back down and got back, it scared him, he didn't expect that. Sick. The fact that you have emails showing their request for funds is evidence to match with record of anything he sent them, there are records of money orders, a receipt somewhere, or the bank can provide a copy of the receipt for that money order on that day or from that month even. I would also call an elder law attorney and press criminal charges, I'd at least look into it, nothing will stop them faster with future behaviors as this than a pending court date.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

As having POA, I am assuming your legal papers include everything involving money. Change all bank accounts, and if he receives social security, you & he will have to go to social security, get the form to have his doctor fill out, which will make you Representative Payee. Social security does not recognize a POA.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks for the great advice. There were several things I was not aware of and I am working on to protect dad better.

MY HOPE:
I hope it takes all of dad's money to provide him with the best care he can get. I hope they take his house along with everything else of value. I hope he has the best doctors and nurses, is comfortable, and goes peacefully in the end. And in the end, I hope there is absolutely nothing left. Because in the end, money does not matter, and it is the root of all evil. The vultures will be so disappointed.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hospice has lawyers part of hospice. Maybe way to go.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hi 1RareFind, His money was always paid and kept in a bank account and still is, but before his progressive dementia, he liked having spending money on him and at night he would put it UNDER the mattress : ). I thought it was sad that he had to resort to something so drastic, but money he kept in his wardrobe, also got stolen. At that age (80) he was still very lucid and no problem with dementia, and he wanted to have money with him, instead of a debit card, being from the old school.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter