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My sister (an atty) is my mothers DPOA and Trustee. She will not give me any information on my mother's finances. I am afraid she is not being ethical with her funds. My mom was declared incompetent in 2008. She has been placed in a Medicaid facility. What is she obligated to tell me? She says that I will have to take her to court and sue her to get any information. What recourse do I have? I can't afford an attorney.

Unless your mother instructed otherwise when she drew up the relevant documentation, your sister must treat your mother's confidential information as confidential, which means she cannot share it with any person who is not specifically authorised to have it.

Confidential would cover such things as: finances, legal arrangements and medical matters. All of the subjects that you yourself probably wouldn't be too keen on having shared around if it were your information.

You go and visit your mother. That is a kind and filial thing to do. Taking her presents of new clothing is also a nice thing to do. If you have concerns that her needs are not properly taken care of, raise them with the facility. If you have evidence that her funds are being misused, report that to APS in your mother's area.

The thing is. When you go on to ask if her being on Medicaid would mean that her income is diverted to the facility (yes, as I understand it, apart from a small allowance for personal items which your mother retains)... why do you ask? What's it to you? Do you think her social security benefits should be going somewhere else? Do you have concerns that her bills are going unpaid?

And then again. When you say things such as:

"My sister has hated everyone in the family, quite literally, from the day she born."

... It's impossible to avoid the very strong impression that the key fact is that you really, really hate your sister. Whether or not she deserves it, though... well, how are we to know?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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caviecooper8164, kudos to you for visiting your mom almost every day and otherwise taking care of her needs while she lives in a nursing home with late-stage dementia. I know it's hard to be your mom's advocate while your sister is in complete control of everything, yet rarely visits her.

It sounds like your mom's trust is irrevocable and signed more than 5 years prior to her Medicaid application and, if so, that would explain why she is eligible for Medicaid. Her houses may or may not be in the trust, but if your mom relies on the rental income, then they probably wouldn't have to be sold for her to be eligible for Medicaid.

One thing you could do is call Adult Protective Service (APS) to explain the situation -- APS has legal authority to investigate. And a possible partial legal solution for you to better advocate for your mom's care and to find out what's going on in your mom's trust is to become your mom's legal guardian. You said you can't afford an attorney, so you could call Legal Aid in your state to find out if you are eligible for free legal assistance and/or your mom's assets in her trust could be used to pay for a guardianship proceeding. Guardianship supersedes DPOA, so a trustee has to keep a guardian informed of trust assets and activities. The trust likely contains language saying that if guardianship is sought then the trustee will become the guardian, but in reality it will be the guardianship judge who determines who to appoint as guardian. Based on what you've said, it seems likely to me that a judge would appoint you as your mom's guardian, but the proceeding will be contentious, given that your sister is the trust attorney who put your mom in this situation. Good luck caviecooper8164.
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Reply to bicycler
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Much of what my mom had is in a Trust. My sister has hated everyone in the family, quite literally, from the day she born. She is a very angry (bipolar?), bitter, violent and aggressive person. If I had a week, I couldn't tell you all the horrible things that she has done. Not only to family, but to neighbors and her coworkers.
I have long since put her behind me, but I am concerned for my mothers finances. I see now that I WILL have to wait until I either win the lotto or have to wait until my mom passes, to find out where all that money went.
Also, if my mom is on Medicaid, does her ss $ go directly to the nursing facility?
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Reply to caviecooper8164
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If you think the POA is being dishonest go to court with whatever proof you have. I started suspecting my brother of stealing from my mom. Went to court and got POA. However, he had already stolen a large sum of money from my Mom.
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Jada824 Oct 29, 2018
Was it very expensive to go to court? I'm retired so I can't afford too much, but brother who just had mom sign new DPOA & amended trust has removed myself & my family as beneficiaries & named himself 100% with his kids as heirs. The old trust named us both 50/50 & I used to be secondary POA but his daughter is now.
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You can't make your sister love your mother. She and your mom must have a very different relationship than you and mom do. Treasure and enjoy your relationship with your mom.  Pity your sister that she doesn't have it.

If you buy your mother clothing, send your sister the receipts. That expense should be reimbursed from your mother's personal care allowance.

How do you know that sister bullied your mom?  Is that what mom says?  Does mom want to change her trust?  Is mom a "pot stirrer"?  Did you and your sister have a good relationship before mom became frail and in need of care? 

If you suspect Medicaid fraud, report your sister to the appropriate authorities.
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Cavie, I need to stand up for FF; she is not a judgmental person. To the contrary, she is a very compassionate personate person who spends a great deal of time sharing experience and knowledge, as do many others here.

As to the various issues, you wrote that your sister manages your mother's 2 houses, collects "stocks, bonds, everything." Yet your mother is getting Medicaid assistance. Something about that doesn't make sense to me; Medicaid is a needs and income limitation based benefit.

I agree with Byathread. A directive such as "just answer the question" might be appropriate in a courtroom, but not here. Posters give their time willingly; they deserve respect, even if you disagree with someone.
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I’m not sure I understand, if your mom is on Medicaid then she has only 2000. In assets. If her car is still being driven I’m sure your sister bought it, if the houses are rented then that goes toward her care. If she has been in a Facility since 2008 she has likely paid between 5000-12000 a month, easily exhausting her resources. Also, as a family member sister can not receive a salary for being POA when your mom went on Medicaid. She may have previous to that, I assure you, what ever she paid herself it was reviewed and approved before your mom went on Medicaid(Your sister has to fill out paperwork yearly showing to the penny where all the money that your mother receives and spent goes) As far as jewelry goes, it’s possible your mom gave it to her, regardless it’s just stuff and not worth the resentment.  It’s also possible that your role of visiting mom and caring for her clothing needs, your sister sees herself taking care of the finances as the same kind of care without going to visit, but It’s a huge assumption that you’re the only one visiting your mother. We all do the best we can for our loved one Who has dementia those that have the weight of POA it is not a get rich quick scheme I assure you.
Enjoy your mom continue to dress and visit her if you so please, if you can find a way to let the resentment go when your mom is gone all you will have left is your sister. For many of us who have lost our sisters we would give anything to have the opportunity to restore the relationship and work toward healthy family dynamics. Your mom has had dementia for over 10 years the amount of money for her care If she’s been in a facility this whole time is astronomical, So unless your mom had a million dollars tidied away your sister is not sitting on any wealth. As was stated earlier as a lawyer she would not risk the weight of Medicaid coming after her.  To answer your question yes when your mom dies you can look at all the paperwork you want to and thank your sister for taking the time to deal with her finances and get yourself a nice counselor to help you work through this petty bitterness, been there and it’s easy to recognize.
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Your mom has 2 houses? Are they or have they been in your sisters name for 5 years...those houses would have to b in someone other than your moms name or Medicaid would consider them your mothers property and she can have no more than $2,000 in assets to obtain Medicaid and my mom only gets to keep $40 monthly out of her check for personal expenses..she pays the Resthome the rest of her check so if your sister is getting moms SS check then she is paying the nursing home and if stocks/bonds were in your moms name she would b required to cash them in for Medicaid coverage your mom is allowed by Medicaid law to have one vehicle..as far as your sister not letting you help sounds like you’re helping by visiting mom and entertaining her in place of sis who can’t/won’t visit..I was my moms DPOA and would gladly accepted help if my sister would have offered..especially when I had to get her Medicaid..believe me it was a lot more work than most people would want to do..I’ve learned more about Medicaid than I ever thought possible...Not judging you for anything you do/don’t do...just stating what I’ve learned about DPOA/Medicaid...just sounds like a case of sibling rivalry and and you’re perhaps of losing what you would think will b yours when mom passes..so there I’ve answered your question and please don’t b rude to people by saying “just answer the question” 😊
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Jada824 Sep 5, 2018
Some DPOA's are all about control! I think your answer was rude!
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And yes, freqflyer, I have been her caregiver AND have been purchasing her clothes from Salvation Army OUT OF MY OWN POCKET, because her clothes, the 3 outfits my sister took with her, are completely worn out. Like I said before, my mom has been in nursing care, with ALZ since 2008. My poor attorney sister hasn't done squat for her. But you can bet your boots that she is writing herself a monthly check for all the WORK she does.
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Reply to caviecooper8164
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Wow, freqflyer, if you only knew.... My sister won't let me "help". She has all my moms jewelry, her car, she's renting out her houses (2), collecting her ss, stocks bonds, everything. And you wonder why I'm suspicious? My sister has hated my mom since she was 15 yrs old. She bullied my mom into this DPOA and Trust. She specializes in Wills and Trusts. She had my mom declared incompetent the year after she signed the papers. She hasn't visited my mom more than 5 times since she put her into assisted living and now a nursing home. She's just waiting for her to kick the bucket. I am the one who sits with her in the hospital, brings her flowers and photo books to cheer her up, almost every day. So don't judge me, just answer the question.
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Coop, sis is actually required to keep mom's information financial and health private. Doing otherwise would be very risky for an attorney to do. She could potentially lose her license to practice law.
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Caviecooper, to be someone's dual Power of Attorney is like having a part-time-job on top of the full time job the person already has.

I remember having to pay all of my parent's bills from their checking account, but first make copies of said bills and copies of the checks prior to mailing out. Then filling those bills into a notebook. Everything had to be accounted for down to the last dime. Then if someone needs to throw in Medicaid, it can become crazy and mentally exhausting.

For Medicaid, your Mom had to use up savings accounts for her own personal care prior to Medicaid starting to help with the cost of her care. Medicaid checks back 5 years to see how she had used her money. So in reality, there is very little left in regard to Mom's assets. If Mom owned a house, your sister still would need to pay the mortgage, real estate tax, homeowner's insurance, utilities out of her very own pocket. Then Medicaid later will place a lien on the house so that Medicaid can be reimbursed for taxpayer funds that were used for your Mom's care.

Thus, what is it you expect to see with the financials? The funds are very limited, otherwise your Mom wouldn't have been able to be approved for Medicaid. Getting older and needed skilled help is very expensive. Did Mom have paid caregivers at her house? I remember back when my Dad was paying $20k per month, yes per month, for caregivers, believe me that ate away at his savings.

Were you helping your Mom with caregiving, or offering to do certain things to help make it easier for your sister to cope with being a dual power of attorney? More information would be helpful.
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A DPOA is not obligated to disclose financial information to family. In fact, she may be obligated to preserve the confidentiality of the data.

Do you have any evidence that Sister is not acting in your mother's best interest? If mom is in a Medicaid facility she has only a very small personal allowance (~ $50 - $110/month) and assets valued at less than $2,000. What, exactly, do you think your sister might be doing with these small sums? Would she risk her license to cheat mom or cheat Medicaid?

If Mom has qualified for Medicaid, you can be assured there will be no funds to disperse upon her death.

I am sorry that there is apparently a conflict between you and your sister. That can be painful.
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