My friend has a sister-in-law who came into her home and gathered all her financial documents while she was in the hospital recovering from a stroke. This sister-in-law has had control of her bank accounts since then (over 3 years now). Whenever Dotty says something about taking over the finances again the sister-in-law says she will quit helping her and then she'll be home all alone with no one there to help her. Frequently uses fear and intimidation to bully Dotty into agreeing with her. Will not show Dotty bank statements, cancelled checks or any receipts to show where money is going. Hires in "caregivers", who are just random people off the street, who goes through her belongings and take what they want. Dotty wants to get sister-in-law out of the picture. Said they've never been close, never had much if anything to do with one another. Dotty also has some rental properties that sister-in-law is collecting rent, but never see any deposits or the money she collects.

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That is a wonderful thing that you want to help your friend Dotty.

I am here to issue a warning to be careful with any intervention.
Have you heard that "no good deed goes unpunished?"
You might be in a precarious position to be the one to help her,
depending on your relationship. Without any authority, you could find yourself being accused. You could call APS for Dotty.

Using fear and intimidation to bully Dotty is an indication that the Sil is a narcissist. Sil is not showing accountability to Dotty, and that must be some sort of illegal.

Whenever I was part of helping an elder regain control of their own life, the most important part was assisting in gathering documentation, and facts.
Organizing in a file, protected. Making copies. Sharing with attorneys and doctors, etc. when the time came. Go to the county recorder's office or tax collector to discover Dotty's rentals ownership. Who is this Sil?

Dotty is right to be scared. A narcissist on their way out can go scorch the earth! Leaving destruction in their path.
Helpful Answer (1)

PoA papers can be downloaded from or for a small fee. Download 2 sets (to create 2 originals, one for each of you). Take Dotty and yourself and 2 non-family witnesses to the bank and sign them in front of the notary. Done.

That being said, this is only valid if Dotty is mentally competent. Seniors with some dementia can tell stories that they sincerely believe are true but which are not. It is totally possible that the SIL is not the bad guy. There are many posts on this forum of senior LOs calling the cops on their caregivers because they were imagining they were being abused in some way. Good luck and bless you for your concern for Dotty.
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Time to take Dotty to see an elder law attorney.
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Even if the POA went in to affect immediately, it doesn’t mean the SIL can take over and override Dotties wishes. If Dottie is competent, SIL really has no authority here IF there is in fact a POA.
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Yes, the first thing is if SIL was given DPOA.

Second, does the POA give her authorization to handle ur friends financials when she is still competent. It reads "immediate" then SIL can take over as soon as the POA is signed. Otherwise it probably says when principle is incompetent.

Third, if there is a DPOA then ur friend can have it revoked and assign someone else.

If there is no DPOA then this SIL is taking advantage and probably spending SILs money. This is abuse and APS needs to be brought in. SIL could be asked for an accounting.

You say that friend has aides. If so, then she must need some type of care. Once u find out how her finances stand, then u will be in a place to determine how much she can afford. If low income, maybe able to get Medicaid homecare. Office of Aging maybe able to help.
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Think i would be seeing an attorney or at least a call to law enforcement or APS to come out to make a report on this. Is your friend cognitively and physically able to take care of herself?? How did the SIL get in to her home while your friend was in the hospital?and how does she “have control” of her finances without your friend authorizing it in the first place? Is she forging your friends signature on everything?? Just questions to ask to find out what is really going on in this situation....,either Dotty gave her prior authorization or she didnt. Are there any legal documents (POA) etc giving the SIL authorization to handle her finances? Does she have children that you could let them know whats going on? Hope she can get it all figured out....
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Benjilewis Feb 2020
Thanks so much for your response. Dotty is of sound mind, but requires some assistance with bathing, getting dressed and meal prep. SIL does not have POA, but has tried to get it several times.
Is Dotty of sound mind? If so she can go to a lawyer and revoke the SIL's POA.

If Dotty has dementia and is not of sound mind then the SIL better have a durable POA because that is what is needed to be POA once someone is mentally incapacitated.

Your post sounds like Dotty is of sound mind. Can you take her to a lawyer to revoke the POA? Also, ANYONE who is a POA is supposed to be acting in the person best interest at all times, and following their wishes. This SIL seems abusive and like she is taking advantage. Elder abuse is a serious charge and looks like it's time to get SIL out of the picture.

You can help her by taking her to a lawyer to revoke the POA and if that's not possible then SIL needs to be reported for elder abuse and be removed by the court.
Helpful Answer (1)
cherokeegrrl54 Feb 2020
Did i miss the part about SIL having POA? Sure hope they get this figured out...
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