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My dad needs help with his financial matters. His wife's children talked him into revoking his POA to me.

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A joint account is a joint account and it means that ANYBODY on it is able to withdraw funds. One thing people get confused is that once real property, i.e. a home, a car, 'stuff' is gone then a will means nothing (not that we are talking about a will here). Also, a POA is only good while a person is living. Conceivably, if there is a joint account with another person and not with the spouse on it, the money can be taken out and it will be GONE. After the fact - and after money is spent or diverted - while it may be strictly from a legal sense that it 'should' have gone to the spouse it's like air. Try to get it in your hands. As for who gets what, each state is somewhat different. Without a will it is not possible to keep things out of probate. The only way to do that is to set up accounts properly and have a will if there is anything besides cash. You need a lawyer from a practical standpoint, but sometimes there isn't enough left for a lawyer to care about (get involved in taking a case for) because lawyers want to get paid. There are a lot things that 'could be' when it comes to motivations, feelings, etc. Really, those things don't matter too much in the end. If you want money to not disappear and people to be honest, things need to be set up properly ahead of time. When it's too late, you have to do the best you can. Sometimes you have to move on and consider it a lesson learned. I say this as a person whose ex husband many years ago made himself trustee for me (forged my name I guess; I never signed anything) when we weren't getting along after I had found out what a 'cheat' I was married to and he knew I wanted out. While he 'showed me how much he had changed' - which I wanted to believe since we had three little kids - and while I agonized for almost two years, back and forth about what to do, he systematically moved everything he could, including selling property that by law was subject to 'dower rights', meaning he could supposedly no way sell them since they were legally marital and joint, to an unnumbered foreign bank account. After he failed to show up for our kids' soccer games and one missed theirs, I decided enough was enough. That I still couldn't count on him and this time I was done. It was at the court house that it came out that the lots we owned ... we no longer owned. They'd been sold almost two yeas before. As I said, the horse was out of the barn. Yes, he 'had' to return the money, yes, it was 'still half mine'. But I got a very big wake up call because no matter what is supposed to happen, a dishonest person is just that and can actually do a very good job of screwing you over. He did. It took so long to figure out what he had done actually and you cannot get blood out of a turnip, It costs a lot to get a lawyer to pursue what to them is peanuts. In this case it was the life savings from a 13 year long marriage and about 100K. But the lawyer looks at what they will get out of it, and if the money is gone, it just is. I wish you the best of luck, but I learned way back then a very hard and valuable lesson. It is imperative to set things up the way you want them to come out when you can. Later it can be too late.
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If the money was moved to the account of the persons who are now caring for him, could it be that they are 'hiding' the assets from the NH or from Medicaid/care? Have you been able to talk to them about money? Did they not ask you about the POA arrangements? It seems to me that his wife would want to be his POA and she may be trying to protect which considers joint funds from probate. As his daughter, it could put you in the position of having to sue her for your share of the family funds if he dies. But when a husband dies, doesn't all his money automatically go to his wife, and you would be inheriting only after her death as well? Don't you hate having to talk about dying, but it must be said.
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You should probably check with an attorney, because it depends on what state you live in as to what her rights are, being the wife (whether it's community property state or no? When the POA takes effect, and if it even includes financials, etc.) Sad situation, and definitely sounds like he's being used, but really not sure what you can do about it since he is married.
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The POA was in effect for less than a week. We were "dad" sitting for several days while the wife went with her daughters to the races and casinos. That's when we discovered the missing funds and he agreed to name me POA. They now say half the missing funds are loans to her daughter. There are also many checks to various cousins for $500, $1000, $2000 over the last few years. He pays all household expenses save the cable/internet bill, from his $2000 pension per month. He also receives royalty funds of about $12-16,000 per year. We cannot find where these monies have gone.
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The money was in a joint account, so legally she has every right to do what she wants with it, including moving it out of the joint account and into her name, and to spend whatever she pleases. Does your dad have dementia or ?? "Short-term memory problems" doesn't mean he does.
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There is no criticism here at all but the comment above that "we never cared how he spent his money until now" puzzles me a bit since you were his POA. Is he in a nursing home? Who is providing care for him now? How does he bathe, feed himself, get around? There are a lot of missing details that make it difficult to offer a lot more than sympathy for you in this situation. Why isn't his wife his POA? And it sounds as if you have been removed as POA, is that correct? I know of more situations than not where money has divided families, sometimes a) not that much money and b) forever. Also, what has the relationship been like between your cousins/step siblings and you and your dad and their mother historically? Have they been good to him and cared for him? I can tell you that my husband and I are a 'blended family'. Six kids, three his and three mine. All grown and four married, one of those separated. Of all six of our children, we have decided that my son and his wife are the ones we want to be in charge if we aren't able. It may piss some of them off (well, that's what it is!) but we have it all documented and saw a lawyer in preparation. This stuff is why so many repeat marriages fail. Worrying about trying to make everybody feel good about all of this often prevents people from making the correct call(s). My own parents are married (61 years) and have chosen one of the five of us. Thank GOD is was not me, but I would step up had it been me they wanted. Fairness, good judgement, having the funds that you need to take care of retirement saved so that there is no perception or temptation to siphon some off from one's parents' assets, stability emotionally and being happily married and being on the same page ALL came in to play for us. We have a couple of bossy pants offspring who will probably be mad that they weren't the ones chosen to do what needs to be done for us. OR they may feel we should have picked someone from both sides of the equation. Really, emotions aside, there may not be much you can do or is worth it to do since your dad and his wife have made the choices they have.
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Since he has a wife, she is in control and you are not. There is not much you can do. Did you just see what Casey Kasem's daughter tried to do? The judge sided with the wife of 33 yrs. So if you want to spend money, go ahead and try.
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Explain to your step-mother/aunt that you are concerned that your father's money will run out so, as POA, you are going to place what remains in a trust account for him. As someone else suggested, it's a good time to have a conversation about his care (and about where the $30,000 went).

I obviously don't have any knowledge of your family's dynamics, but I'd guess that his nieces and nephews/stepchildren will consider his care to be your responsibility, not theirs, especially since they've viewed him as being wealthy enough to have given them gifts and/or cash over the years. Do they understand how little money he has? In the case of my own father, he spent his last dime (and then some) on his ladyfriend, but I doubt she had any idea how little he had.

If your cousins know he only had $54,000 in savings then shame on them for leeching from him. But, if they didn't know and, based on his generosity, could have assumed he had many times that...well, that's a different story. Opening up the books to your cousins and aunt is the first step, either way. Keep your cool and keep it as friendly as possible. Creating bad blood in your father's final years (or months) could be more painful than losing that last $24,000.

p.s. – Prepay his funeral NOW, if you haven't already. And, if he owns the house and/or other assets, go see an elder attorney.
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If the account at the bank had been set up as a trust account for his care, it would have been necessary that there be an accounting of where the funds went/go. That being said, at this point, it may be moot. Another cautionary tale about making sure things are put in writing and set up correctly before this stuff happens. Fortunately or not, he is very old. My MIL recently passed away at the same age and she never had dementia but was very in denial and hard headed about the fact that she wanted my husband AND his brother both to be POA's and 'get along'. It caused uncountable clashes between them because they are totally different in so many ways. We checked and the way to avoid having him able to drain the accounts for 'whatever' would have been to close the JTWROS accounts and re open them as a trust account for the benefit of her. Also could have required TWO signatures on anything that would be written or withdrawn. But she wouldn't hear of it. He lived close by and we didn't, so there was also that. Once the horse is out of the barn, so to speak, it can be hard if not impossible to make things right. You could go back to court, have a lawyer, etc. but there isn't that much money left. It's sad. He's your dad and you want the right things for him, but there may not be a whole lot from a really practical standpoint you can do. I guess it's worth a conversation with an elder care attorney anyway. Best of luck with all of this.
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If there is no decent accounting of how the $30K was spent **on your dad** its quite possibly time to call Adult Protective Services and/or hire an eldercare attormey. POA should not be instituted or changed by someone already affected by dementia, and this could be financial abuse and incur Medicaid penalties if it ever comes to needing that.
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Well I guess once his money is gone, they'll have to take care of him right? Maybe that's what you ought to be asking your aunt/step mom, "once dad's money is gone, how are you going to financially take care of him?" Make sure that she doesn't run out the money and then expect to drop him off on your doorstep with no financial help for your take care of him. Foul!
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They have been married 24 years. They are my 1st cousins. When my mother died, he married her sister. We have never had serious problems with the family - dad has spent lots on them over the years. We've never cared how he's spent his funds until recently. He is 93, has short term memory problems and I find his savings have been moved from his joint account to her name only, and there is only 24,000 out of the $54,000 he had a year ago.
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You don't say how long your dad has been married to this woman, and just how far his Alz. is to allow him to be manipulated. I can see him being talked into something if he's been married for decades and thinks highly of his wife's kids, so that's why I ask. You also don't say how your relationship is with your dad's other family.
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