I'm afraid my sister is trying to steal all of my mom’s money by being on joint accounts with her. What can I do to protect my mom?

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Mom's accounts is ALL she has excepf for personal clothing/belongings. Mom's accounts need to last as long as possible.

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Hi NoVoice...

I hope you don't mind that I answer the question you posited on my wall here so that it may be of benefit of others.

I will try to answer your question given what you stated.

A Will is only applicable to probate assets. Probate assets are those that are not governed by some other mechanism. So, for instance, if a life insurance policy has a named beneficiary other than "the estate of", then the proceeds will pass directly to the beneficiary and by-pass probate and the Will.

Similarly, if an IRA has a named beneficiary other than "the estate" it will pass directly to the beneficiary and by-pass probate and the Will.

There are methods to have virtually all assets by-pass probate if that is the intention. Most commonly used are the designation of beneficiaries as noted above, revocable living trusts, and joint tenancy.

When it comes to bank accounts, those held jointly will pass directly to the joint holder and thereby by-pass probate and NOT be subject to the terms of the Will.

If mom's intention is for assets at her death be subject to her Will then the proper way to establish bank accounts (or any other asset) where Power of Attorney is to be exercised is to have al accounts in Mom's name ONLY with the POA submitted to the bank or other institution so the POA can handle those accounts.

If the accounts are in Mom's name only and there is no "Payable on Death" or "Transfer on Death" beneficiary or if the account is NOT "In Trust For" then the proceeds will be subject to probate, and therefore, mom's will.

Hope this helps.

Expert Answer
26 helpful answers
farishta,

This is a difficult situation, and unfortunately, having an attorney’s advice and representation is critical. You should involve the local police department or sheriffs department where your mom lives if: You are sure your sister’s actions are fraudulent or unlawful, you are sure your mother agrees, and you are convinced there is no other way to resolve things. See if they have an elder abuse or elder crimes division and contact them. Have specifics and concrete evidence if possible- such as if your sister went directly against wishes expressed by your mom, or if things she purchased with your mom’s money are obviously for her own purposes.
Cowgirl - right on. I am in a similar postiion. Neither of me siblings does anything to help my aging parents. I stopped communciating with them because one really didn't give a sh@t and the other only wants to know how much money is left. So I said, if you need to know anything, call them yourself; I'm not a reporting agency. I do it all -- the doctors, church, the meds, the grociereis....why should report them? Screw that. So I know my sister is consumed with the fact that I know how much money they have (which is hardly nothing -- that's the joke of it!) and she doesn't. If she really cared about them, money wouldn't be her priority. MY PARENTS HEALTH AND WELL-BEING would be her priority, but it is not. The only priority my sister has is herself.

So NoVoice - If you're really concerned about your Mother, then go see her and get involved in the day to day. Even if you live further away, there is a way to help, if even emotionally.

luv to all.

-SS
Taking care of an elderly parent is a thankless job that requires alot of physical and mental strength. Anyone taking care of a parent should be paid out of the inheritance for this chore. Usually,..only one person gets stuck with all the work,..and the other siblings are clueless and do not thank the sibling that does all the work for little or no pay. When a sibling that contributes so little,..and has the nerve to worry about their inheritance chimes in,..it can be unnerving to the community of caregivers out there. Anyone reading this,...that is not contributing,..remember to thank your brother or sister for all the hard, tedious hours that they are spending in maintaining your parents livlihood. Stop thinking about yourself for once.
I have to comment on this one as it is a very familiar senerio in my life. I am the youngest of 3 siblings and my name got put on my moms account as a beneficiary and as someone who can also pay my moms bills when she is not able to. I can grocery shop for her, pick up her pills, and other things. She needed this after my dad passed on as a security measure we felt, and the bank suggested it to be me, since I am the closest living sibiling. As time passed by however, I was accused off and on by another in my family of stealing moms money. This is so off in left field, and made it very upsetting that my siblings did not trust me. It made me so upset that I called my sister who lives further away and told her that she needed to be the POA for mom so I was not in charge. I still am moms POM (power of medical), because no one is here to handle that job and it has always been me. My mom has a Will and a Quit Claim deeds on her 2 homes. So that is taken care of. What makes me sad is that I have spent all my enitire savings on taking care of mom , running her to doctors, shopping, and on and on as most caregivers understand those expenses. I even lost my job over moms health. I have Now been unemployed for 2 years, no health insurance, and all my savings is gone. I have had long talks with my siblings about the expense and burden that this has been on my life. There is still some aggravation and mistrust I feel with them, but they are rarely here. Well , I take that back that one of them is here off and on. But If your gonna have mis-trust with your sibliing, you need to get your self more involved. If your sister is the caregiver to your mom, you should make sure that she is being taken care of also for what she is doing. The cost of care is not cheap and nobody can do this for free. I got an early inheritance of money 2 years ago that everyone cried about. But mom offered that help to them also if they wanted it and no body wanted it. Now they keep throwing it in my face. As far as I am concerned, I have plenty of reciepts in life here to show how much I have spent out on this other home of hers that I am living in,. and the upkeep, that she did not pay for, even though I am not paying rent here. I have sacraficed a lot. If you don't trust your sister, you need to get help with that quickly , so as to not ruin your relationship with her if it hasn't already. I really don't know your situation, but before you accuse your sister, you just need to get more involved and ask questions. Having a designated POA helps and I am happy to have handed that responsibility over to my sister. It took a lot of mistrust off my shoulders. Now everything I spend is being documented. But I can prove by her bank account and mine, that nothing has gone on that they all thought was happening. Hope it all works out for you, I just feel its so sad when money is the issue or the the mistrust of your siblings.
I had to become my mother's legal Conservator (this goes through Probate court, call the Public Administrator). Although it also incurs legal fees (you have to have an attorney), it will keep anyone else from using your mother's funds. Another option is a Durable Power of Attorney. This will not keep anyone else from using funds but WILL give you the authority to prosecute if you choose. It sucks, but not many choices.
No voice, thanks. The one submission I read, it sounded just like the rest of my 4 siblings, now reading this, thank you for clarifying the whole picture. Just keep in mind - IF your sister is doing it all because she thinks she can handle it- one day, she will wake up tired, and need help. NEVER give up asking if you can help. That when my siblings do ask me, even if there is nothing to do- I feel supported. It is when I have to ask them to at LEAST call her, and they don't - I feel doomed. Yes, I too have done all of the above you meantioned, just days like this - when she kept me up most of the night, I do have a short fuse. And no tolerance for ignorance. You are doing all you can do, just don't stop. I do understand gas prices, try calling more often then, With dementia or dementia/altz. I find they remember the past more than the immediate past. Keep her memory remembering you and your family. My mom just thinks her sons are 'wonderful' and her daughter is 'amazing', yet I am the ugly one. Do you have any idea of just how bad that hurts? Yes, I cry, then consider where it came from, then pray for the strength to always feel god's love and guide me. Somehow, I do get through the bad moments, the minute one of my siblings say something so stupid, I do loose it though. I asked for help so I can take a much needed break, 2-3 days. My ONLY break in 12 years now - seems they all have a life to live, plans of their own, and not one even considered how run down I am. I could take her money and hire someone, but I do remember the last time - I know I'd rather stay home then do that again. NoVoice, my best advice to you - continue doing and trying to offer help. Remember that your mom will not be here much longer, enjoy every minute you can. I do know, without wishing bad upon anyone, those who do wrong - it will someday, come back to haunt them. IF your sister is stealing your mom's money, let it go. for now. JUST YOU DO THE RIGHT thing, give love, offer and give support. Most of all - love and respect your mom. I found my siblings to be selfish and self centered, they only think of themself and 'their vacation time'. I can not tell you the last time i had a 3 day vacation. Your mom being in an assisted living is good, just you try to figure out where the $$ is going and exactly how much of it is being spent for your mom. Maybe if you can come up with those figures, then have a pow wow with the other siblings, you can find a gentle approach to ask. As you can see by MY personal mode now - it is all in the way you present it. and I am sorry, I meant no bully. I hope your mother knows how lucky she is to have you for a daughter.
madge1, I've been on the receiving end of someone else's attempts to impune my character by their speculation on my handling of my mother's finances. They do it from a distance because they wouldn't dare get their hands dirty by actually being responsible for our mother. It's easier to sit back and believe that the finances are really there to do all this without her help if I'd only just be more careful than it is to believe that prices are up and pension income is stagnant. Funny how the non-caregivers never seem to understand that giving up my job in order to care for my mother full-time DECREASED what we had to work with. They all seem to believe that she's rolling in it, but that's the furtherest thing from the truth.

She sounds a whole lot like the whiners in my family, the ones who look for reasons not to be there but who want to take it all when our mother is gone, the very ones who expect me to roll over and play dead when that time comes. Um, no, I won't. I don't have to.
Hey Novoice - what gives you reason to believe your sister is stealing the money?
This is the same issue I have with my Mom. She put my brother on her checking account, she had a one time 80K in it. I explained to her that now this was his money. She just told me he would divide it with me. Of course I am the ass for not trusting him but she doesn't want me on her checking account.. This hurt but over time I just don't give a *%$#. Because he will take care of her at this point and I will visit, smille, say the right things and leave. They have paved the way to their own misery.

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