Years ago when Dad was starting to have difficulty with finances my sister designated herself as his POA. What he didn't know was that she took all his rights away and allowed her to do anything regarding his estate. I have finally convinced him that she is planning to take anything that is left. However, the VA is paying for his assisted living and prescriptions. She also received all retroactive moneys due from the time he moved into assisted living. She now says he has only $4,000 in his accounts. She is renting his home for cash and not claiming it, made herself the sole beneficiary of his life insurance and has no answer for where Mom's life insurance money went. However she does have a new kitchen! She is VERY mean and I do not know how to handle this situation. I do not have the money to hire a lawyer, she won't show the "latest" will of Dad's... says she's not sure where it is. This tells me she re-wrote it and left anything to herself. He does have land with a mobile home on it worth $50k. I welcome ANY advise asap. Dad's health isn't too good these days. Thank you!

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Since your sister is taking care of him--it is easy for your to sit back and just criticize. Care is neither cheap nor free. In fact, a caregiver pretty much has to give up their life, means of income, and center their life for an old, feeble confused person who easily falls and is dead weight--and it gets even better--manage their bowels which means cleaning up their feces and a routine of administering laxatives and waiting for the next "blow out". Why? If they don't move their bowel in three days they can easily start getting impacted. So try centering your ENTIRE life on their bowels. The cost of diapers and gloves and wipes alone can be over a $100 a month. Diapers are not cheap. In fact, nothing is cheap. Did you know the cost of a CNA is like $40 an hour--you hire someone who does hands-on care it costs a fortune. A sitter (who sits and watches so they won't wander) is $20 an hour; they do NO hands on care. And if you do not hire from an agency you can hire a person and they may CLAIM to fall in your home and the estate can be sued. At least an agency is insured.   Now cost of administration of medications--that's home health nurses. They also cost a fortune. And Medicare does NOT pay for any of this. In fact, you get NO HELP from the government.    Welcome to the life of a caregiver. It's a thankless, dirty, filthy, back breaking job and all family wants is a piece of the money pie.   In fact, if you put him in a nursing home they will take everything anyway. If you worry so much about your dad's money--why don't YOU take care of him, be POA and see how it's like. Sorry, just a reality check. PS: As for that "new kitchen" homes do not repair themselves and cost of maintenance is far from cheap. My question is why are you not helping your sister instead of worrying about inheritance money. Or put your dad in a nursing home accusing your sister of "abusing his money" -- and let the government seize all assets (and after he dies they will also take the house if it's not in another family member's name and there are medicaid "look back" laws of 5 years).
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You need to get a lawyer. She is abusing her POA. POA only gives you the responsibility to help the person who assigned you. Not take the money.
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Sis cannot designate herself as POA, only dad can do that and it does not take his rights away unless he has been found incompetent. VA paying for care requires him to qualify on basis of assets. Did sis care for him in his home for a period of time? Those are other considerations that come into play.
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The answers above are all correct in theory and practice but here is the real skinny. I am in the exact same situation as your sister who is POA, EXCEPT: I am not claiming to not know where any document is, I am not stealing money and I did not designate myself as POA. My mother did. However, the numbers CETUDE is giving you for cost of care by a CNA etc are inflated. The rest of her post talking about what it is like to care for the elderly is correct, regardless of how cold sounding she makes it seem. Yes it is thankless. Yes sometimes it feels like I am all alone in this and my siblings just don't help at all. I have been doing this for my mom for over 8 years and she is almost dead. I have given my siblings financial reports every Christmas, budgets for the following year, updates on mom's health almost weekly, moved mom 5 times between facilities and states. I have overseen EVERYTHING and then some. My mother specifically stated that I should not get a salary for taking care of her. I'll bet you dollars to donuts if she knew exactly how much work and time it has taken me to dedicate my entire life to taking care of her, she would have put a salary into the trust or the POA document. If you think about how much it takes to care for an infant or child, don't equate that, double it. As the child gets older, they are more manageable and can communicate pain, trouble etc and grow more independent. The opposite holds true for the elderly, especially one with dementia.
Anyway, a couple of things. No one can make themselves POA. It has to be agreed upon by the person who designates another to be their POA and that person needs to be deemed of sound mind before it happens. A POA has a fiduciary duty to manage another person's financial situation, accounts, and bills, in a manner that is above reproach. Proper accounting should be taken and as their sibling you have a right to ask for an accounting. If one cannot be given for any reason whatsoever, you can ask a judge to take the POA responsibility away from her. Yes it will cost money for an attorney. So you have to decide what in the long run is going to make the most sense for you and your father. Will it take up more resources than you have both financially, emotionally and mentally or can you find alternate means to fund your endeavor? It is a really sad situation she has put all of you in. She is a mean person for a reason. I don't know what that is, but I can guess it is not being loved or knowing how to love. In either case, do you have the means and strength to fight her? Do you have a support system to help you? Will there be enough time to do all this? Sometimes just a threatening letter from an attorney is all it takes for the opponent to give in and give up. Try to arrange for an inexpensive attorney to write a letter on your behalf, asking for for a full accounting of your father's money with a deadline attached or you will bring her to court. Every bill paid, every expense, every withdrawal, every deposit. You have that right. It is another thing to compel her to hand over her own bank account details, but that can be implied to happen in the future should anything suspicious be found in your father's accounts. Good luck. It is a tough situation, but it is possible to shed a light on everything she is doing.
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I was the one who filled out the ppwk for my FIL to apply for his VA Aid and Attendance Pension benifits, and it was a huge undertaking! He is yet to receive it however, and now that he is Dying and on Hospice in my home, he may Never recieve it, and there are So Many other things that the POA and his wife or family do, to keep the LO happy and healthy, wherever they might be living! Forms, forms and more forms, I could paper the earth in the amount of forms I've filled out, acting as POA to my FIL!

It's Easy to sit back and accuse someone who is doing all the Caring and work for the Dad, Mother or LO, while you do nothing to assist them in the care of your LO! That is exactly the situation my husband (POA) and I are in, with Zero help from his 2 siblings.

People don't realize how much goes into caring for a disabled Senior, and they are All disabled to some degree in their 70's, 80's and beyond, especially when you yourself who is doing the job, may very well be a senior citizen yourself, and possibly in poor health or disabled at that!

Most of the caregivers on this forum are in their 50's, 60's and even in their 80's, as our LO'S are living longer, thanks to modern medicine!

People need to have a Clear picture, before accusing other of misappropriation of funds, as they have No idea how much it costs to care for their LO's these days!

You will find out much more information, if you step up and help, Assisted, share in the load snd participate in your LO's care, take part in your families life! There isn't a harder job in the world, than taking care of your elderly parents, it's time consuming, stressful, thankless, and exhausting, and the NEED your Help!

And I don't believe that there are any rules that say you must account for every penny to those who do not assist in the care of their parents, unless it is specifically expressed somewhere in the POA ppwk. If there is a clear and obvious example that the POA is Robbing their parent blind, then by all means contact APS, to have them investigate, but just having her kitchen remodeled isn't sufficient information to convict her of any wrong doing, as perhaps she's been saving up for years to have it done. Many people remodel their kitchen for goodness sakes! I hope to here, after my FIL passes away, we've cared for him for greater than 13 years with how help from his other 2 children, and he has expressly made sure that in his Will, that the one Son who has given up So much to care for him all these years, be credited for that, while the others get much less of what is left of his estate. It's his right to disburse his estate in whatever way he chooses, and without duress or pressure from anyone else!

Thankfully my FIL sees and appreciates what we have given up, to give him great care and quality of life, whereas the others have done Nothing! Will they expect a 3 way split?, probably, but I have knowledge of his intentions, and that is just not going to happen, if he has any money left before he leaves this earthly world.

It's Expensive to live out your days on your retirement monies, many people have exhausted all their saving when they reach their 80's and 90's, and knowing this now, we should all be planning accordingly!

Don'taskforahandout, if you Don't Assign a POA, who is going to see to all of your needs, should you become Incapacitated at some point in your life? It isn't just you bills being paid on time, that needs to be accomplished! There's So much more than just that! You just need to assign someone whom you Trust, and I realize that this isn't an easy decision, so choose wisely!
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Whoa and Wait a minute! There is no proof that the sister is Taking or Robbing all of Dad's money! Not Yet anyways!

Why ever couldn't sister be using her Own money to fund the remodeling of her kitchen? There simply isn't enough information from the OP, to prove such a thing, and as others have pointed out, one Cannot appoint themselves POA, and Cannot just walk into a Lawyers office and change someone's Will!

Further questions, even if the Dad is in an Assisted living facility, the duties of the POA do not end there! The POA is still managing their LO's money, paying their bills, doing their shopping, assisting them with ADL'S, taking them out and to their Dr's appointments! It's not an easy job, and generally not a Paying job at that! It can use up many hours a week, and we haven't added in time for visiting and any socialization yet! Dad and POA/Daughter may just have an arrangement,  where she does get paid a small salary to help care for him!

I beg to differ, that unless she can prove that sister is taking advantage of Dad's money, then one shouldn't jump to all sorts of conclusions! There is much more to this story than meets the eye, and the OP is yet to come back to share more valid information, before judging her sister of such a crime! At least the sister is there doing some sort of care for him! What is the OP doing for Dad? 
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I would also try reporting the situation to Adult Protective Services regarding the possible financial abuse. Once they get a notification, they have to investigate, and your sister doesn't have to know who instigated that. Elder financial abuse is becoming more well-known these days. I like to try to use the free services before getting attorneys involved in order to save money. I am POA for a friend of mine who had no children or close relatives to help when his memory began to fail, and though I do not have to be accountable to anyone, I act as though I am. All cash and checks go to his bank account, every bill is paid by check on that account so there is a paper trail in case anyone would like to know. No money comes to me unless it is to reimburse for something I purchased for my friend to use. We haven't gotten to the stage where his VA benefits will kick in because his assets are too great, but I am getting ready for that time. His memory care apartment is expensive--some $8,000 a month--but there should be enough money for another couple of years before we go to public financing. His care there is good and he is happy there with his new friends that he has meals with. The facility agreed to accept public financing after he was there 18 months at the higher fees and he is already past that. They told me he would never have to leave and that they would see to his needs until he passes, so I don't have to move him to a nursing home or anything. His wife was there with him for the first 5 months after the move from their townhouse and her care was excellent, too. She had frontal temporal dementia that was pretty advanced. They advised me when hospice should begin and when it did, the care was impressive. It can work out well.
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The amounts of money it costs for care vary quite a bit from state to state. So hard to make a true judgement without knowing that. For instance, here in good ol' California, a professional caregiver (not nurse) is billed out at 30 an hour with a 3 hour minimum. I worked as one so I could professionally know how to handle my mother as her dementia progresses. The cost of assisted living is about 7 to 8K a month here. If I weren't taking care of Mom, she would be nearly broke now and is not on death's doorstep! Also, I do not believe any sibling can make herself POA without the parent consenting. Like SDbike, I did NOT ask for this responsibility, it was my Mother's wish that I be the one out of my my other two siblings to care for her. Had she wanted to be with them, my life would be a whole lot easier and I would actually still have a life!!!!
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It boils down to proof, not accusations, proof. So before assuming, accusing, and getting ready for an all out assault on the sibling, try to obtain facts and proof of misuse of parents money for their own benefit. Maybe start with talking to the sibling first? Ask them directly.....and if they become overly irritated, belligerent, or nervous, then you have your beginning (when you consult an attorney or whomever) that you did in fact TRY to speak and ASK your sibling about what is going on with the parents assets and where it has been going and they were totally uncooperative. If there is nothing to hide, she should be willing to share info unless she feels you are accusing her and there is bad blood between you already.
Assuming doesn't hold up in a court of law.
I, Thank God have saved all receipts, bills, taxes, etc. and have all designated files for everything just in case my siblings try and pull this crud on me!
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Response to OP is below, but first...


Your logic defies explanation (in other posts you have made, but even more so in this one!) We are all sorry that your stepfather has been taken advantage of, as well as many others who have been physically and financially abused over the years (this is nothing new), however YOUR solutions are not solutions. Why did you not step in when this started, to prevent the issue from escalating??? Attorneys and/or the courts would likely have sided with you, even though there is no blood relation, versus some gold-digger who just came along. THAT would have been the wise way to deal with the issue. Dealing with it after-the-fact is far more difficult and recovery of anything lost will be very difficult if not impossible! Waiting for God to dispense justice is even more pathetic.

You say don't let others have access to your accounts and NEVER deal in cash... You suggest setting up bill payments to take care of things should you become unable to manage bills. THIS may work short-term, say if you become temporarily hospitalized, but long-term? It does not work. If you become mentally incapable of taking care of yourself or your affairs, is bill payer going to step up? Nope. Bank personnel? Nope. When you need supplies or to pay non-revolving bills, who will take care of that? If no one has access to your accounts, do you have anyone who is willing to shell out their OWN money to take care of you? If you cannot manage finances and have to move to a facility, who is going to schedule payment for a private place or apply for Medicaid for you if you cannot afford a place? The bank? Bill payer? I doubt it, especially given your mistrust of everyone. Best case (which is NOT best) is APS and/or the state will step in, and this is NOT going to be what is best for you. As for using "digital" methods to pay, credit card abuse is at an all time high and in particular using debit cards can wipe out your account and be difficult and time consuming to restore! On top of that, are you aware of how many financial employees (think bank people among others) end up in jail for embezzlement? If you start showing signs of mental incapacity, ANYONE can take advantage of you, even bank employees. Credit cards can be used to purchase items online easily, and in some cases purchases can be shipped to locations other than the card owner's address. If someone wants to take advantage of you when you are unable to understand and stop them, it WILL happen! It does not matter if it is a family member or not, it happens. Without that trusted person to watch out for you, it is likely inevitable that YOU will be taken advantage of. It is easy to say now, when you still have your mental faculties, but if/when those go??? THIS is WHY you choose someone who you trust to handle your affairs when you no longer can.

Needing someone with DPOA is crucial for when the person becomes incapacitated. Waiting for that to happen and then going the court route is costly, time consuming and difficult, and until this is resolved, HOW and WHO is going to care for that individual???

Does abuse happen? Yes, but you should NOT assume that any and all who are joint on your accounts and/or have POA/DPOA are unscrupulous. All three of us have been on mom's account for a long time. NONE of us touched the account at all until it became obvious that she could not handle bill paying/finances. Forgetting to pay, paying the wrong account, unable to locate her credit card. Sure. Leave THAT woman to her own devices! Bill payer does NOT take care of the situation. Having someone trusted to handle your affairs does. If someone suspects abuse, physical, mental and/or financial, they should step up and have it looked into. Having a digital record is great, but if you don't have the capacity to understand someone is taking you for a ride, what good are those records? Debit cards can be used to withdraw cash. A person can take someone who isn't really capable of understanding what they are doing to the bank and withdraw cash, WITHOUT being DPOA and WITHOUT being on their account. Unless the bank employee notices something is up, there is no way to stop this unless someone is watching out for that person. TRUST is the name of the game. Trusting any bank or credit card employee to protect you is NOT in your best interest. Trusting attorneys or court-appointed guardians is no better - unless YOU trust the person, ANYONE can take advantage of the situation. Courts do require periodic reporting by guardians, however it probably isn't hard to provide justification for some untoward "expenses". When some credit cards started "monitoring" and watching for out-of-ordinary purchases, I have several very tiny local purchases questioned, yet a large non-local purchase was ignored! They were all legit, but CC companies cannot know what is and isn't legit. Consider the billions of transactions that occur every day. Your culprit's sneaky little purchases and withdrawals will go unnoticed. With someone who can watch over everything when you are not capable of doing it WILL catch these things. I hope you never go down the mental incapacity road, because you are in for a world of hurt.

Many years ago, when I was in hospital for 3+ weeks, my daughter brought a laptop and my bills, and I made all my payments via bill payer. I do NOT have automatic payment setup for anything other than my insurance. Digital is great, it saves me time and money, but it is NOT the best method of protection. Once setup, it will continue even after the service is no longer needed until *SOMEONE* turns it off - say you have TV/phone/internet service... if you are no longer there to use these services, the payments *will* continue. Mistakes in auto-payments can withdraw too much or too little. Not all charges are the same every month, which is another reason I do not use autopayment. I want to *KNOW* what I am paying, not just trust some computer system to know better!

From what little the OP provided, we, as others have said, have no real clue as to what sister has done or not done. You ASSUME this OP knows everything. What is the OPs primary concern - getting something when dad passes or his care? Sister gets a new kitchen? How does she or we know who paid for that? How do we know that she "stole" anything? Should sister have things looked into? Possibly. Should she and we assume the worst? Until facts are proven, NO.

Call SS to report fraud? What proof is there? You say she has "all the info on that person". Not from what I read in the OP post. Hiring a lawyer who "works on contingency"? That is usually only for lawsuits alleging medical or serious criminal (murder, shooting by police, etc) issues where big money is being sought in reparation. A lawyer for this kind of investigation is NOT going to work on contingency (well, possibly if the client was someone like Bill Gates, where the recovery might be substantial - in this case, if all dad has was some acreage with a mobile home on it, I would suspect there aren't really a lot of assets.)

As to your comments about Hurricane Harvey - WHAT???? You know for a fact that God sent this to punish people, in particular those who financially abuse people??? What a ludicrous idea!!!! If God is so all-knowing and all-powerful, wouldn't it be MUCH easier to stop the abuse and punish the person who is causing the abuse? Oh yeah, it is soooo much easier to send a storm to wipe out everyones' life and/or homes and livelihood... hundreds of thousands of people punished and businesses destroyed because maybe a few have taken advantage of someone? You really need to get a life, preferably away from religion. I certainly would not put ANY trust in a god who behaves like a petulant three year old....

You say: "If the laws of the land won't protect vulnerable people and stop some of the situations out there, then God will intervene." The laws of the land will not protect someone if the situation is unknown. Having someone trusted who watches out for you and your belongings/accounts would be the only way the laws of the land would be brought into the picture. WHY would man's laws take precedence over your God's laws? Why does this God not protect his beloved people? Jeez Louise!

To OP lynnisshining:

As others have said, your sister *cannot* appoint herself as POA. That must be done via an attorney. Also, POA is a temporary limited appointment. Only DPOA is enduring and can only be invoked if the person is no longer capable of making decisions about their life and affairs. Could she have taken dad to an attorney and had this done? Absolutely. Unless the attorney is unscrupulous, then he would have ensured this is what your dad wanted. The individual must WANT this and AGREE
to it by signing paperwork that specifies what the DPOA can do. Also, getting POA or DPOA does NOT take away all your rights or allow you to do anything regarding one's estate. Could she have done whatever, believing that she was impervious? Sure. But until you have PROOF, it is all he said/she said.

You go on to say that you have convinced your dad that she "is planning to take anything that is left." Okay, what proof do you have? If you have no proof, how is what you are doing any better? Your claim implies she convinced him that this needed to be done. Now you are trying to convince him that she is/has been taking him for a ride. Who is playing mind games? One of you? Both of you? What is a stake here? Is dad being cared for properly at the VA facility and are all his needs, both personal and financial, being met? If so, what is the REAL issue here? Inheritance? If so, then I feel sorry for you if you feel your sister is cheating you out of anything. If she is, shame on her. That does not make things better for you, BUT, where were you YEARS AGO when this started? What have you done to assist dad? All you provide here is finger-pointing at your sister. We are not privy to the scene nor do we see any proof, just suppositions.

You also say the VA is paying for his assisted living and prescriptions and then go on to say she also received all retroactive moneys due from the time he moved into assisted living. We are currently in the process of applying for VA benefits for our mother. Because we submitted an "intent to file", once we get all the paperwork in and it is approved (hopefully), she will get retroactive payments as well. In our case, this back payment and monthly payments thereafter will go into the trust to be used for future payments. IF dad did not have enough to pay for the facility, then your sister would either have to use his existing funds or pay out of pocket for his care until the benefits were approved. If she paid, then she absolutely should receive/take the retroactive money. If dad's account paid, then as POA she should receive it and put it back into his account.

You say "She now says he has only $4,000 in his accounts." Have you ANY idea how much he had to begin with? Stating what he has now means nothing. When setting up POA, did she have a trust created, if he had any substantial monies? When getting benefits, a personal account and property can only have or be so much or the provider can deny (for instance Medicaid and VA).

You say "She is renting his home for cash and not claiming it" - is the money being used for dad or is she keeping it? You don't clarify. If it is used for dad, HIS taxes must claim this, not hers. How do you know any of this? Do you file her taxes or his? Proof is what you need, not guesswork.

For life insurance - do you know what company these policies were with? Have you checked with them? Did your sister take care of mom when she was still alive? Did she get any compensation? Who paid for the burial/cremation? You really need to get (and provide to us if you want advice here) more information and details. Just surmising and guessing does not do it.

"However she does have a new kitchen!" - and you know all about HER finances? How do you know whether or not she could afford to do this? I'm currently renovating the house I purchased, major renovating, but have not used one dime of mom's money to do it. Although one brother is also DPOA, I handle all of mom's finances, and so far no one has questioned my actions. If they did, I can show everything. Did you politely request that information? If you demand and/or accuse, I can understand why she is not willing to share with you. If you have not asked and just play the guessing game or worse the assumption game, then shame on you. My other brother (non-DPOA) is always encouraging me to take money for the services I provide, I have always declined as being DPOA does not imply automatic payment for services (although I do not physically care for her, the paperwork, bills, and handling any crisis or new issue that arises does take a lot of time and effort.)

"She is VERY mean..." Is THIS the real issue? Do you not trust her because you do not get along with her? My younger brother, who is the other DPOA, is sometimes very stubborn about making decisions, helping, etc and has been outright "mean" to me, but that doesn't mean anything.

As for what to do - have you any idea what lawyer was used by your sister for the POA/will? If not, does dad know? I would start with THAT attorney, as he/she would have all that information. You should be able to get the highlights if not the details from this attorney. Find out what insurance companies were used and make inquiries. At some point you may need legal intervention, however you can start investigating on your own. Stop assuming and GET the information and PROOF you need to make decisions about moving forward. You just might find that there is nothing to this. If there is, you will need an attorney to take care of it all. There might be services available out there who can handle elder abuse pro-bono or at reduced cost, but until you *really* know that something nefarious is going on, hiring an attorney could be a huge waste of time and money!
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