A salary was never specified in the documents my mom prepared before her stroke. My mom was organized, and had prepared these documents in case. They proved necessary, as she had a stroke almost 6 years ago. She named my oldest sister the POA. I'll call her "S". There are 4 of us girls. That just made sense since "S" was the oldest and lived closest. Although my mom is in a 24 hour/7 day a week nursing facility, the POA ("S") asked my 2nd oldest sister, ("D"), if she could receive a salary for her time. We were all distraught and of course "D" was happy that "S" was close in distance to be able to help my mom, and so of course said yes. The third oldest sister, ("L"), and me ("B"), were never consulted, so now "S" has been taking a salary for almost 6 years. "S" claims that maybe she hasn't been taking it the whole time, or maybe she just takes it when she needs it, but we have NO visibility and are left frustrated. My mom has a sizable estate, and we have NO idea what "S" has been doing. "D" and "B" (me) have been asking for copies of the financial records for months, maybe years. We know for a fact that my mom has listed all 4 of us as equal beneficiaries in her will, but we're afraid that "S" is decimating the estate, and using the funds however she sees fit, rather than discussing them with us. "S" is angry that we are even discussing money since my mom is still alive. She feels that we care more about the money than about my mom which is ludicrous. "S" is probably being responsible, but don't we have a right to know what is going on since we are beneficiaries of the estate? Since "S" won't share any of the financials, it gives us the impression that she is hiding something. What do we do?

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I wanted to add to my comments what freqflyer brought up. My mother is also in a NH with 24/7 care, she also has a very healthy chuck of change to look after. When I first started in this role I was shocked to see how far my dad had let the "paperwork" slide. It took the good part of a year to find accounts, purge old stuff, and don't even get me started on doing their taxes that year! Like ffs dad my parents had stuff spread over several banks and brokers - over a dozen! After a lot of work I have things running smoothly - for the most part as it seems something is always coming up. Tax season is always a pain even with an accountant doing the heavy lifting. Then there is dealing with the doctor appointments, crisis' of either the medical or behavioral variety - hospital and rehab stays, meetings with NH administration. Doing moms shopping for things the NH doesn't provide. Tasks helping mom - addressing Christmas cards come to mind along with the Christmas present shopping - birthday gifts for family members "from mom". Regular 3x weekly visits that usually run 2 - 3 hours. The never ending phone calls and calling - I already have four to make first thing on Monday. Calls to update brothers, to Visa co. to find out about the mystery charge, more doctors and PT, moms well meaning friends who want updates but won't visit. Then of course moms calls to me that come anytime of the day or night - sometimes the call is a raging rant other times she wants to know if it's 3:00 am or pm. The last weekend of the month requires 4 -6 hours to reconcile accounts, balance checkbook(s) and file paperwork. I also spend time each week reading and researching for ways to help and better deal with mom. Did I mention the phone calls, lol?!!! I counted once and I went 47 straight days when I had at least one call regarding mom each day. If the emotional toll involved in doing all this for ones own parent could be measured that would certainly count as a "job requirment". im sure I could go on...
But Alarmed - just because your mother does not live with your sister do not assume for one minute that being her POA is easy! I have a saying that each of my brothers have heard: if you don't help, you don't get to critize
Helpful Answer (42)

Alarmed - as the wife of someone with POA I have watched as my husband works tirelessly to undo all the damage his parents did when they became unable to manage their own affairs but pretended like everything was fine and under control.

It was anything but fine or under control! Who had to drop everything and rescue his parents from ruin? My husband. I could go on and on about all the work but I won't because you can ask your sister. And lest you believe that your sister found a tidy, organized filing cabinet with everything she would need to handle your mother's affairs all color-coded and labeled, let me disabuse you of that fantasy right now. Like my husband, your sister probably found a hot mess that she had to organize before being able to prioritize the work. And guess what, Alarmed, problems beget baby problems that spring up all over the place. Like feral cats or bunnies, problems breed.

Forgive me when I say that your post sounded to me like you were interested more in your mother's estate than either her or your sister's well-being. Do you think it's fun to be POA? I suggest you ask your sister what a day for her is like and perhaps then you will empathize with the toll it must be taking on her. Is your sister married? If she is, then it's also taking a toll on her spouse. Does she have kids? Ditto. It's just money, it's not your money, and it's none of your business if your sister takes a small stipend. Your sister's time and energy are worth more than money so I suggest you tread lightly on what is a very sensitive and emotionally-charged subject.
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"She feels that we care more about the money than about my mom which is ludicrous."

It does seem that way, from your post. The focus is on finding out what S is doing, not on your mother's welfare.

"S" is probably being responsible, but don't we have a right to know what is going on since we are beneficiaries of the estate?"

If she "probably" is, why are you concerned? What evidence do you have that she's not being responsible?

As beneficiaries of your mother's estate, you don't have any rights on that level until your mother dies. At this point it's really none of your business.

As to the two sisters not having been consulted as to the salary, why should you have been? It's your mother's money, not yours. S is responsible to your mother, not to you and your siblings.

But if you're really interested in not only what you'll be getting but how your mother's health is, why don't the 3 of you contact S and ask what you can do to help her care for your mother? Has that ever been done? Try a conciliatory approach and offer to help.

Frankly, if I were in S's situation, I would resent someone who's not helping wanting to know how I was handling mother's funds and assets.
Helpful Answer (28)

S has no obligation to report on the finances to any of you. In fact, she has a responsibility to respect Mother's right to confidentiality. Many POA do share at least the general outlines of what is going on with their siblings, but they are not required to.

Do you have any evidence at all that something is amiss. besides S not revealing what is happening with the finances? Is she living way beyond her means, for example? Is the salary she is taking way out of proportion to the tasks being performed?

S could easily put your minds at rest by providing some high-level overview of the finances, unless Mother is telling her not to. That she chooses not to may mean she is a control freak or loves the feeling of being in charge. Those attitudes don't win friends and influence family, but they are not illegal.

Using the funds however S sees fit is exactly what her appointment as POA entitles her to do AS LONG AS IT IS IN YOUR MOTHER'S BEST INTEREST. She does not need to consult with the beneficiaries of the will. She only has to do her best to act reasonably and on Mother's behalf. It is NOT your inheritance until your mother dies, remember.

Not your money. You have no legal say in how it is being managed, EXCEPT if it is being deliberately mismanaged and in effect stolen. Then it is a legal, criminal matter. But you'd better have better evidence than you've presented here before going to the authorities.
Helpful Answer (19)

Alarmed, you mentioned your Mom has a sizable estate, that in itself can quickly create a part-time job or full-time job at the start trying to gather all the finance paperwork and putting it all in order.

Dealing with the payments for the nursing home... making sure the secondary health insurance payments are up-to-date, paying co-pays, yada, yada, yada.... size estate could also mean a lot of portfolio dealings with an accountant and stock broker. Reconciling the check book(s) and money markets. Or it could be like my Dad who has his stocks scattered all over instead of with one broker, and bank accounts with about 3 different banks. I hate balancing a checkbook, imagine dealing with 3 :P

Even putting together a finance report can be very time consuming, maybe your Mom's accountant can put something together for you and your sister, but there will be a cost for that service.
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Sorry, but no - you don't have a legal right to know what your sister has been doing unless that is a provision spelled out in the original POA agreement. From what my mothers attorney told me - I am DPOA and executor of her will - upon your mothers death and the executor takes over (is that your oldest sister as well) upon the closing of the estate and when you receive your inheritance, you will then receive a statement of assests - where the money came from and how your portion was determined, in accordance to the will. How are you approaching your sister when asking about current financial matters? She is bound to feel defensive if approached in an accusatory fashion. Are you and your sisters helping out with looking after your mom? It is also natural for her to feel aggravated if she's been doing the majority of the work and then you and your sister question the manner in which she's been doing it. While I don't agree with taking a salary perhaps that was something agreed upon between her and your mom? Personally I try to be as transparent as possible and keep a paper trail when spending my mothers money - and all my brothers have to do is ask if they'd like to know/see something. BUT they sure as he•l better ask in a civil manner.
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I'm one (#5), of six kid's, and we lost both our parents 11 & 12 years ago. We Never had any of the problems that you seem to be having, None! Perhaps it is because you seem to be only thinking about the money that you may come into some day, and I've heard nothing to the contrary. Never once have I heard either ALARMED1 OR ALARMED2, even mention anything about their Mothers well being, except for the one "offer" to move their obviously frail Mother, across the country to another Elder Facility, in my eyes, as a further means to gather control of Mother and her Monies. I mean, what possibly, could Mother gain, from such a move, being uprooted from everything she is accustomed and everyone she knows? It doesn't sound like that would be in Mother's Best Interest! And squabbling about an old car, yes, it must be at least 7 years old by now, if not older, that the POA, likely uses to care for, vist, run endless errands for Mother, is plain silly. The OP, in her original post, stated, that Mother has a SIZEABLE ESTATE, so what difference, really, does an old car make, in the scheme of things? When our Father had passed, and Mom remained, each of us 6 siblings fell naturally into our roles as help mates to our Eldest sister, who had our Mom living in her home, and on Hospice. Obviously the biggest burden fell to her as primary caregiver, but each and every one of us assumed roles that would be most beneficial to her and to helping our Mom, live out the end of her life, as comfortable as possible. Our two brothers, assumed the roles of carpenters, building ramps, installing an air conditioning unit in our Mom's room, running cable for TV, entertainment for our Mom, Sister 2, cooked and cleaned for the endless people coming through the ever revolving door, for Mom, my eldest sisters family other family, Hospice and health care, and also visiting with Mom, Sister 3, and I took turns with healthcare needs, bathing, hair washing, toileting, hair and nails, stool evacuation ( yea, that was Fun!), errands, medication dosing, visiting with Mom, food preparation, All the while, my eldest sister was running her husbands carpet installation business out of their home, YES, it takes a village, and it doesn't seem like your Sister with POA, is getting any assistance from either of you, and yet, all you seem to be cocerned with is your Mom's money, and an old car, and that your Sister is "better off financially than you". Well isn't that poor planning on your part! And still you won't say just how HUGE, your sister's wages are (that you agreed to ) in caring for your Mom, and all of her personal and financial needs. In the end, after our Mom died, the third of September 11 years ago, it was our Mom's wish, that my brother's together try their best to finalize all of her and our Dad's estate by Christmas, to give us all our inheritance monies, and it wasn't large, but there is a lot to do, with banks, investments, life insurance, burial expenses, closing accounts, notifying SS, pensions, here and in the UK, but they managed to get it all done, except for the years taxes, where as we all got a bit more, and put that money to great use, taking a mini cruise, all together with our spouses, to celebrate our Job Well Done, in caring collectively and cohesively for our parents. In the week before Christmas, our Brothers put together a beautiful letter, thanking us all for sticking together, in caring for our folks, and how proud we all should feel, for the way in which we handled everything, and that our parents would have been proud olso. They also gave each of us an itemized accounting of how it all broke down financially, clear concise and simple. So I say to you 2 sisters, try to quit squabbling over the use of your Moms old car, how financially stable your sister is, and unless you have very Large concerns, over the way in which your sister is handling Mom's finances, try looking at the big picture, she is there, day in and day out, looking out for not only Mom's finances, but her wellbeing first and foremost! Perhaps you could go there for a time, and offer her some assistance, you're gonna catch more bee's with honey! She is probably chronically Stressed Out, dealing with your Mom, and there you are, oblivious halfway across the country! Think about it!
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Frankly, even with a "sizable estate" paying the nursing home will probably use up all the money. You say she has been ill for almost 6 years and it doesn't sound as though she is close to dying any time soon... just do the math.
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It's good that you, your sisters and the POA have got their attorneys/mediators involved. Maybe they can clarify issues and eliminate emotions from the discussion.

That being said, I want to make a couple of observations:

You and your other non-POA sisters are not "paying her a salary." Your mother is paying the salary. You can't stop your sister's salary just because she doesn't share financials with you, which is her right as POA, or because she uses your mother's car.

The amount of her agreed-upon salary is totally relevant. Forget about whether papers were signed, etc. The amount IS the issue. If you all agreed on, say, $2,000 or $3,000 a month, I'd say your objection to her use of the car, and your desire to see financials, are understandable. After all, all of you want to make sure your mother's assets provide for her care for her lifetime.

But if you agreed on, say, $300 or $500 or even more a month five years ago, I would say that your mother is getting off very inexpensively, even if you think that the use of the car is worth a couple of hundred bucks a month. So the original amount is entirely relevant.

What ISN'T relevant is that three of you have car payments and the POA sister doesn't. It boggles my mind that you see that as her taking advantage of you. Maybe the use of the car is a fair way to pay part of her salary and maybe it isn't --- we can't know, without knowing what her salary is --- but it isn't taking anything away from the rest of you. If it had been sold, the money would have gone into your mother's bank account for her care; it would not have been divided among you sisters.

I said I shouldn't make assumptions, but now I'm doing it, I guess. I really haven't read anything in your posts that shows you're worried about your mother's financial position and her ability to afford long-term care. It's all about whether one of the four of you is getting something the others are not getting.

Sorry if I'm being unfair. I realize that we don't always express ourselves clearly when we're very unhappy. But ... darn it, when I read this thread it seems to me as if your mother is the forgotten woman in all this.
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cwillie absolutely spot on there are none so blind as those who will not see and none so deaf as those who will not hear, I would like to think they will learn and understand but I wouldn't pin my hopes on it.

Rainmom is right too; if they go the legal route and the court appoints they will find out who the big boys/girls are and what a huge salary really is, because with that level of mistrust the courts will appoint a legal eagle not a family member for sure.

As for the car - words still fail me - did they expect the sibling to get on the bus or hitchhike when there was a perfectly good usable car sat in the garage? Perhaps they expected her to sell it and split the money 4 ways? never gonna happen - the money would have to have gone into the estate it was not theirs to have.

I understand the frustrations of financial difficulty I really really do trust me but to take that out on a sibling who is doing the lions share of the work as she is visiting and is nearest just adds to her stress - Perhaps she should sue them for harassment?
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