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I have had financial POA for a few years for my 83 year old mother who now lives with me.

She has very mild dementia.... more confusion than anything else.

My older brother, age 52, has never had a job and lives in a house that she bought for him and she pays all his utilities. Actually, I write the checks but it is her money and her wishes.

In addition to the above, she is contantly wanting to give him money. She has given him her credit card number so he can order grocery delivery and I just overheard her on the phone saying that if he comes to visit her, she will give him money and her physical credit card.

Here is question. As long as she is technically able to make her own decisions...even stupid ones, how much can I, or should I, use my POA powers to stop her from giving her money away?

I want to make sure that there will be enough money to meet her needs all the way to the end.

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You only need to put a minimum amount of money in the special needs trust when you open it. At least the one my mothers lawyer wrote up works that way.
You can get guardianship of your mother when she can no longer reason. Then you can make the decisions.
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Investigating 'Special Needs Trusts', weren't there issues with having to fund the trust-all at once? I am confused.
Also, was reading the trust can be funded with a life insurance policy?

Just wish this was easier to understand, when no attorney will help if one does not have $250 k in assets?
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thank you, hadnuff; I've seen it both ways; some with mental illness that truly could hardly do anything for themselves and others who, I was told, both by them and others who knew what had happened, though I understand where Jeanne's coming from, that I don't know how, but they did full the system, laughed about how they were able to start getting a check, so though I don't dismiss mental illness I don't assume automatically that just because someone is getting a disability check they are truly mentally ill. Having said that, I understand where you're coming from re your mom and brother; my mom - and also this hub's aunt - both had grandsons they would say were mentally ill, aunt's grandson did get a check as a child, which is a whole other issue, mom's didn't and I've heard him make the same statement, because of others he's known of that have done it, that if he were to go to the office and "act crazy" he could get one but he refuses to do it, now not that there haven't been times when maybe he should have been take, like by the police that were called the time he tried to run over his girlfriend, so there's the other side of it, but to the point, mom would baby him, to the point of buttering his toast, funny, he can take care of himself now that she's gone. Now, not that smart equates not having a mental illness, either; just met a topnotch mechanic - oh, wait, his is not a mental illness, but sometimes I wonder about some of these genetic physical illnesses too. But I don't understand about the trust; I was going to mention that being done but I thought money had to be put in when they were set up; does it not? also, without going back and looking, does he get both houses?
And, not that I'm a lawyer, but not sure I understand what he's saying about putting money in trust is she goes in nursing home - what about the 5 yr. lookback for Medicaid? assuming that's what he's talking about. And, for Jeanne, I wasn't talking about subsidized housing; the mentally ill people I knew were too mentally ill for that; they started out in special housing administered by the mental health dept.; I was wondering if he was bad enough for something like that but maybe not? or maybe so and it just hasn't been done; one was under the supervision of a social worker from the dept. first, the other one was basically homeless; well, living somewhere she not only didn't really want to be - why? hm...the drugs, or the drinking? - but was already under the auspices of the mental health dept. - maybe that's what I'm wondering
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I do respect mental illness. I have mental illness. OCD, GAD, and the mental illness that is for shyness. Cant remember the name for it. I dont mind mom sending leftovers. Its just that she goes over. board in taking care of him. Like he was still a child. He is perfectly capable of taking his own chicken out of freezer to defrost and use can opener to open then dump vegetables into pot. Mom is 89 and up until her injury she was doing this for him. He is smarter than me. He fixed the dishwasher. Put in a new bathroom sink and handles when it was leaking. There is a Special Needs Trust set up. I get to administer it. Cause mom had no one else that would do it. Im not resentful that he gets the house and all the money left when mom dies. Im resentful that she has always babied him all his life. That she contributed to brothers resentment towards me. I was her favorite and she showed it in some ways. I tried to tell mom to stop showing it. Because it was making brother mad at me and messing up what little relationship we had. She refused. She has always been rigid and not listened to anyone. Not even Dad.
Im afraid to put much money in the trust. Dont know what mom and brother will need two live on now and in future.. Lawyer said if mom goes into nursing home. Then immediately go to bank and put a lot of money in the trust. Brother was in subsidized housing for a bunch of years. Mom would go over before inspection and clean apartment and stove and frig. But last few years she couldnt do it. Brother did fair job. This last time he didn't. He got kicked out. Years long waiting list to get another place. So he moved back home.
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SO - what I am saying is if there is a slightly sneaky way of limiting the credit card - eg. report that it is being misused so you need a new number that maybe you can make sure brother will NOT get, switch to a reloadable debit card with a lower limit for spending that you have online control of - go for it. Tell mom you found someone has been making large expenditures using her card - it would be true and you would not have to say it was your brother. You would know best how brother would react and what to say or not say to him about it. Be "wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove."
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I have a little different perspective and answer.

Before I had the two physician letters documenting my mom's incapacity - which given the way our POA was written, was necessary before I could make the big decisions, like selling her house, I was actually doing quite a few things that she would not necessarily have approved of. For example, she wanted to buy gifts for staff and was using her QVC card to buy multiple, multiple little trinkets from this company that she liked a lot, but no one else really did :-) and we could not afford it. Plus she was ordering chocolates from Dan's "for the staff" and mostly eating them herself and her sugars were through the roof. Well, she was not able to understand or remember why she was not to keep doing those things, and I just started buying her the sugarfree chocolates instead, and said I could take care of buying gifts and making sure we did not already have some to give, and quietly collected the card. And I was true to my word - when there were occasions we were allowed to make gifts, I got the things we already had from her closet or drawer and wrapped and presented them as she wished. I never did have to get a guardianship, because in a sad way, I was fortunate that as my mom's judgement became worse, so did her ability to even make phone calls independently. And as she lost the ability to read and do math, we just as a matter of course stopped doing the bills together; she would ask about things she was concerned about and I would take care of them and show her the checks and/or the pictures (e.g. lawn care for the house, paying for the car inspection, etc.) Don't know how this will play out for you, Mom2Mom, but don't bend over so far backwards respecting her expressed wishes that you neglect the real need - and really, the wish too, else she would have never written a POA - to have care and guidance in these years of losing skills and judgement. You really are in a Mom to Mom-like role now and part of that is respectfully steering her away from danger and preventing the problems that she can no longer see coming, as best you can. Guardianship can be a step you can or even have to take if dementia progresses to the point of legal incompetence while the person can still do enough to wreak havoc - and even then it can get very sticky, the system is biased, and rightfully so to a degree - towards preserving autonomy. Some people really have been thwarted an unable to avert disaster though no fault of there own. But hopefully there is a lot you can begin to do before things are at that point, and maybe they never will be.
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debdaughter I understand where hadnuff's coming from. I see it in my own family. I have two family members who are on SSI for mental illness. You don't just waltz in and ask for it and next month you start getting checks. You don't get it for being lazy or selfish. You don't get it without a lot of evidence that you have serious mental health issues that prevent you from supporting yourself. This includes evidence from mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists.

So the fact that Barbaba's Brother (BB) is receiving SSI is enough to convince me that he has a genuine disability. He may also be lazy and selfish, or he may appear that way to someone who doesn't understand his disability, but nonetheless he has a genuine disability.

People can live on SSI, if they are prudent in how they use it, if they seek out other benefits available to them (such as subsidized housing) and especially if their family can help them a little. But often people with mental handicaps are not prudent and good at researching what is available and managing their lives. Maybe BB would have been better off if his parents had provided more guidance on how to manage on his own, and less on handouts. But I have a hard time sitting in judgement of his mother. Having a disabled child is a huge challenge.

"Shouldn't such people be placed somewhere?" Such as? There are various services open to such people (if they live in the right places.) These include organized recreation, various kinds of therapy (one of my relatives seems to benefit from art therapy sessions a few times a week.), and support groups. To my knowledge there are no residential programs.

In my family I see how the two handicapped persons are treated by their siblings. Some are accepting, supportive, and non-judgemental. They try to help with tasks the person finds challenging and/or anxiety-producing, such as taxes or filling out government applications. They don't get sucked into the negative spiral, but they act in love. And other siblings simply treat the mentally ill person as if he were "normal" and they expect normal behavior. They are judgemental. They think the afflicted persons are lazy or boring or not worth bothering with. They resent any help the mentally ill person gets, especially from other family members. Maybe that is their defense against admitting there are defective genes in their dna pool. I don't know, but it saddens me to see two brothers totally estranged because one is mentally ill.

"Is there nothing that can be done?" Well, maybe, sometimes. But in general I think we have less knowledge about treating mental illness than physical illnesses, and we certainly can't cure every physical illness. Both my family members receive ongoing treatment. One is on medications. One spent a couple of weeks in a mental health ward. I can see improvements in both of them, but neither is anywhere close to "well." I don't know if BB is or has received treatment. That is another thing his parents should have encouraged, in my mind. Maybe they did. Maybe he got treatment. We don't know the decades-long history here.

Barbara and debdaughter, I'm not attacking you personally. But these posts that show total disregard for someone's mental illness really push my hot buttons!

Mental illness is REAL. An autopsy will reveal anomalies in the brain. Just because we can't see physical symptoms doesn't mean they are not there.

The treatments we have for mental illness today are sometimes highly effective and sometimes next to useless.

No one chooses to be mentally ill.

If the social security folks determine a person to be too mentally ill to earn a living, they are most likely correct. Maybe, rarely, someone fools them to get a free ride, but the chances of that a pretty small.

Should parents treat all their children equally when it comes to finances? Or is a parent justified in providing more resources for a child who is unable to support himself (whether from physical or mental disability)? That is a complex question and many factors are involved in answering it.

If a parent decides to provide more resources for a disabled child, such as unequal inheritances, I can understand some resentment from the other children. Being disgruntled that BB is promised the house and savings I can understand. Being resentful that he takes leftovers home with him is way beyond reasonable, in my book.

And that's the end of this lecture on treating the mentally ill with compassion.
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Jeanne, I understand where hadnuff's coming from; how is a personality disorder diagnosed anyway and is there nothing that can be done? do you have to just support them; shouldn't he possibly be placed somewhere? I do wonder if mom has thought about her own self; have friend with sister had been in that situation; when mom had to go in nh, she wound up being placed in a group home
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wow, $2400/mo. in rent? must be some kind of house or you're in a really expensive area; don't believe any way I'd get that kind, but not really interested in renting anyway, but of course mine are both already gone, so not an issue for me of needing it for their care; but, again, so thankful, dad was a vet or don't know what I would have done or needed to do. But at least there were no threats? not sure now how valid they were but of course don't know that till they might would be again and have basically the same situation had to begin with, except, of course, they're gone, but some strange stuff happened today that I don't know the outcome of yet.
But at least he has done some things to the house, such as put in a new HVAC unit, though, since he did, would he leave it? good question; remodeled bathroom with new vanity, but, again, would he leave it? new subfloor and bought new hardwood for whole house, but, again, his house not really at that level, so guess no biggie if he not wanting to put it down now, almost had it sold today but wouldn't over $100 so...but not for anything like what was paid for it, tried to return it, but since didn't pay cash or buy it in his name....but maybe some things worked out....
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Barbara, she has the legal right to make her own choices. Even if they are stupid.

You cannot get guardianship over a person who has not been declared by a court to be legally incompetent. Doesn't sound that applies to your mother.

Your brother is mentally ill. Your mom feels he needs extra help and attention. This may or may not be a wise choice on her part, but it is understandable.

You begrudge him the leftovers your mother sends home with him? Wow. That is pitiful.

Mom is saving money to leave him. Yet there may not be any left if she needs expensive care as she ages. Has she arranged some kind of trust for him?

Anyway, no, there is no way you can control your mother if logic and persuasion don't work.
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I have a simular problem. Brother is middle age and lives with mom. He had subsidized apartment. But got kicked out when he didnt pass inspection of apartment. He has personality disorder and gets SSI. Mom always babyed him. She paid for his gas, car insurance, clothes, etc. And packed lots of leftovers when he went home after staying at the house for a few days. Which he did every week. He is lazy and selfish. And mom deeded the house to him when she dies. And trys to spend as little as possible for her own expenses, so brother can have money to live on when she dies. He gets all the money. I get the silver and my piano. That is at moms house. She doesn't have even a little dementia, but is and has always made poor choices. Mostly concerning my brother. If somebody can tell me how to get guardianship over mom, I'd be very happy. Every social worker I talk to says she has the legal right to make her own choices. Even if they are stupid.
Barbara
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When I took Mom in, my brother was living in her house, even though he had the other house that she had bought him. That house is in such disrepair and a huge mess due to his hoarding ways that he didn't want to move back. I asked him to leave, I told him to leave, I begged him to leave and then, I took him to court and had him evicted.

I worked my hiney off getting the house back into shape but I am happy to say that it brings in $2400 a month rent to go towards her care and building her savings up. I am ordering her a lift sets van. Soon now that we have that money coming in. But when I think of the ten month delay we had due to his refusal to leave, along with the huge expense I had fixing the disaster he left the house in.... You realize that just the delay alone cost her $24,000 in lost rent.
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interesting, not sure I knew a primary would run, or have run, memory tests.

to actually have her declared incompetent would take a judge; I'm just not sure what they go by

hope things are going well with your house, if you're still renting it; that arrangement seems to be working well with my aunt; my mom would have liked that; dad just wanted us to get him, or them, their own place

I'm having a similar situation with the grandson my dad had had move in with him to "take care of him", when he passed away I took the money but not sure how much difference it would have made, just like any lump sum without ongoing support is just going to be gone and then you're right back where you were and that seems to be what has happened, though he at least did finally get a job, not much of one, but still....

a hard situation - they did him the same way your mom's doing - dad was a veteran, but what if he hadn't been...
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That sounds familiar, M2M, the fading into the past of whose brilliant idea all this was in the first place.

You are in a frustrating position. (Can I claim my Understatement of the Year Prize now?)

You can't do nothing. How about, going to see the attorney who dealt with your POAs and getting some advice?

Going back a bit, do you know what worries prompted her to come up with her proposal? Just a vague who will take care of me in my old age kind of thing, or was there anything more specific?
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My mother, in the past, has been seen by a neurologist who calls it mild dementia. Her primary care physician has run memory tests in the office. I wasn't there for that but I think he has someone in the office to do it.

I don't know what it would take to declare her incomptant.

As to how she came to move in with me... Several years ago, she approached me and asked me if she paid for it, would I build an addition to my house for her to live in. That was not feasible because of the slope and shape of my lot. So, after asking her several times if she was sure, I put my house on the market and bought a larger house with a MIL apartment. My other house didn't sell so we rented it out.

My brother had been living with her at t g e time of all this and panicked when he realized that her money was going with her.

Of course, she has forgotten that it was her idea that started all this in motion.
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sounds like my mil; mom2mom, how did she come to move in with you; where we are with her now, granddaughterinlaw is the one who's talked about quitting her job for her to move in with her and grandson; other granddaughter has POA at this point.
at what kind of doctor performs these tests, just a regular one or a neuro? and does that have to be done, either for a regular doctor to declare they have dementia - or else how has your mother been deemed to have it if she's passed the tests?
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Just to clarify the initial intent of the POA. Dad used to do e erything dealing with money. After he oassed, Mom tried to do it but mostly couldn't be bothered and found it to be a struggle so she gave me a very limited POA to cover writing her checks to pay her bills.

At the time, she was still working full time, so she was clearly comptent.

After she moved in with me, I had her sign a new POA which gave me control of everything financial, including her real estate (she has three houses...two rentals and the one the brother is in)

She has passed memory and cognitive tests in the doctors office.

I think she is far from being declared incompetent so I think I will just have to deal with this through other means (persuasion, hiding credit cards, etc)
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Ah my bad sorry Jeanne xx
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Jude I'm not sure, but I don't think there is quite the same clear-cut registration process for POA in the States - plus no doubt whatever the equivalent process is, and of course there must be one, it will vary from state to state.

To explain to anyone who wants to know what I'm whittering about: in the UK, POAs (called Lasting Powers of Attorney and falling into two categories, viz Finance and Health & Welfare) are drawn up, just as in the States, while the person giving them is still in full possession of his mental faculties. What is slightly different over here is that, once it is considered that a person has crossed a line (a blurry line, but hypothetically there is one), the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to come into force. The OPG is a department of the state responsible for ensuring that all LPAs are compliant with the law: valid in their creation, notified to any interested parties nominated by the person giving them prior to registration (so that, for example, if you don't agree that the person has lost it and you suspect that the LPA is just after control of the money, you have a chance to object to registration), and exercised properly thereafter.

Getting the OPG to involve itself in a problem, however…

Still, they are a useful source of guidance when you're uncertain about anything, and it's nice to know they're there. But then again, this is a small country with a long-ingrained, if often grumpy, acceptance of governmental meddling in family matters. Can't see that happening in the States any time soon.
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The POA has already been enacted Jeanne so it would seem incapacity has been agreed as daughter is writing cheques for her Mum. Im not so sure Mum is making decisions it sounds more like wanting to please to me, given that she says one thing to one person and one to another depending on their issues at the time. That she doesn't seem to realise the issue of bank card pin numbers is more worrying. Giving him her credit card number is one thing - giving him her credit card in the physical sense means she is willing to give up control of her finances (and is fraudulent should he actually use it) which she has already done due to the POA being enacted. Moreover the POA couldn't be expected to do her job because she would have no track of his spending so there are two issues.

Mom2Mom either has to give up being POA and watch as the money spirals down leaving her Mum at risk of claw back from medicaid and possibly being accused of witnessing financial abuse and doing nothing.or take the reins and seek guardianship You can't possibly fight a two armed opponent with both arms tied behind your back and your legs hobbled together and thats what it could potentially end up being like.

While this Mum clearly knows what she wants she also clearly doesnt understand the implications of what she wants and that, certainly in the UK, would be deemed incapacity
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I don't know how a couple of you are so sure the Mother would be declared incompetent. So far her dementia is "mild." The decisions she has been making about her money are not new and not due to dementia. Should she have been declared incompetent 20 years ago?

Do her doctors think she needs a guardian?
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Firstly your Mum will almost certainly be in breach of her credit card contract so you need to find some way to cancel that straight away, and while I am not sure how it works in the USA, my Mums credit card now has my name on one card and hers on the other - Hers has been destroyed (I simply cut it up then burned it for good measure!) If she wants anything I get it for her I keep receipts etc.

The Medicaid issue is important but and this does depend on how much money your Mum gives away and when. It could well be seen as a spend down.

Tips to handle it?

Pretty much what everyone else has said.

Get her declared as incapable of handling her financial affairs and apply for guardianship - Pamstegma is right you will be able to control the finances that way but watch for the fallout from your brother. It will impact on your Mum and her well being if he turns and in all probability he will.

To avoid the repercussions or at least give reason for taking away his bankroll you do need to get her to understand the implications of giving money away, if that means reading her the riot act as per country mouse re the credit card rules or using the guardianship and reiterating the medicaid issue then so be it.

Things I would do. First get the guardianship in place - you have to do that she is incapable of handling her financial affairs.

Then I would call brother over and have a full and frank meeting with the two of them. Tell them as POA YOU are legally responsible for your mothers money being handled legally and responsibly, in her best interests and, regardless of what she thinks, she cannot just 'do' with her money as she wishes if it will impact on her future position.

That being so all future transactions need to be authorised by you, mum will not have a bank card or a credit card, Here is a document dear brother that I want you to sign to say that you have understood what I am telling you (Keep that one you may need it in the future) If he is reluctant I would use the I need to cover your backside. Mum has given you money in the past which was her choice but now, as she has been declared legally incapable of making sound financial decisions to take money would be seen as elder abuse. I have to account for everything she spends because if I don't she will not be eligible for Medicaid in the future should she need it.

And then put in place a contract for room and board - you should not be funding that totally and care contracts if you are going ton need them.

Its going to be a royal pain to get the ball rolling but once going it will be fine (still a pain but more of an ache!)
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This is all kind of beside the point, but thanks for the information on your brother. You can be a merit scholar, you know, and still be mentally ill. Brilliance in academics is not protection against cognitive impairments. Being transgender has been a true handicap -- let us hope that won't be so with the next generation. And having a circadian rhythm out of sync with where you are in the world can be totally miserable. (I know. I have been diagnosed with that disorder and it is No Fun.)

I don't blame you for thinking that your brother should have used his brilliance and made something of himself. At least to be self-supporting. And some parents would have worked very hard at encouraging that to happen.

But I also understand a parent wanting to protect the "different" child, the odd-man-out, the underdog, the handicapped. And I understand a mother's perception is different from a sister's, for example.

Your mother (and apparently your father?) has chosen to protect or help or coddle the child she sees as handicapped. We could have long discussions about whether that was wise and appropriate, but the fact is it was her money and her choice.

It is still her money and her choice. She may suffer some consequences from her choices, But the choices are clearly not a result of dementia -- she has been making them for decades. I think that how she treats your brother is outside the scope of your POA role.

She should, however, definitely be paying her own way -- not only in the future, but right now. Whether she is supporting her son or not, she should be supporting herself. A room and board and perhaps care agreement should be put in place immediately. Otherwise not only is she supporting her son (which is her choice) but you are subsidizing that support, and it does not sound like that is your choice! Anywhere Mom was living right now would expect to be paid for rent, board, and if appropriate, care. Independent living, assisted living, nursing homes all would cost her. She should be paying you. I hope that would make her responsibility to have enough money to pay her own way more clear to her. But even if it does not, you should not be expected to subsidize your brother by giving mom a free ride.

I think you and Mom should consult an Elder Law specialist to discuss the future and how current behavior impacts Medicaid eligibility. Did you have an attorney you liked draw up the POA documents?

If Brother had a specific diagnosis such as schizophrenia, then I don't think Mother's financial help to him would be considered a "gift" that would warrant a penalty. Especially since this has been going on for decades and is obviously not a last-minute effort to get around Medicaid requirements. If he has no clear diagnosis I'm not sure how this looks to Medicaid. But an Elder Law specialist should be able to advise you and perhaps suggest ways mother can continue to support her "handicapped" son without jeopardizing her eligibility. And if there is no legal way to do that, the lawyer should be able to explain that, so the burden is not solely on your shoulders.

I have confidence that you will get this into a manageable set up. Please keep us informed. We learn from each other.
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Mom2Mom, you are in that uncomfortable hinterland where you have responsibilities but not yet clear authority. That's the trouble with dementia - that there isn't a nice clear on/off switch. If only, hm?

But since it is a sliding scale, what about looking at your mother's decisions in a similar way - sort of "grading" them according to importance, consequences, complexity and so on.

So that, for example:

Funding your (eye roll) brother's - well, life. For as long as you are confident that she is unlikely to be significantly impoverished by them, then you should continue established spending patterns. These should change only when you believe for demonstrable reasons that they risk her wellbeing - and since Medicaid does come into it, their guidelines might be a useful measure to base your judgement on. At that point, if your mother seems unable to grasp those guidelines or to project her future funds, that would be a good definition of loss of that degree of capacity. But to add a caveat - say, for the sake of the point, that your mother were Wilhelmina Gates or something and would never run out of money however hard she tried: in that case, even if she'd completely left the planet mentally, you should still carry out her well-proven wishes and continue her spending pattern as normal. No matter how daft you think it is. Think of your brother as an abused donkey in Morocco or a snow leopard or some other equally hopeless, but cuter, cause.

The credit card is easier - she is probably in breach of contract, sharing her details as she does with an unauthorised third party. Especially if she doesn't really need a credit card, I'd be tempted to get the card issuer to close the account. If you need it, for spending on her behalf, then drag out the issuer's terms and conditions, read her the Riot Act, and if you have to take the card off her.

To help you err on the side of caution, remind yourself that you are legally responsible for protecting her best interests. Ironically, you're also responsible for protecting her autonomy of course (gee thanks!) - but if you have to put one ahead of the other, safety first.

I'm not going to comment on your brother's behaviour. Tum ti tum ti tum tap tap tap whistle - it's actually quite hard not to, but I'm not.
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I typed a pretty detailed answer to the above question and then, my phone ate it.

Basically, my brother has never held meaning full employment for several reasons. First, I will say that he does not have any mental impairment. In fact, he was considered brilliant by my parents and sent to a very expensive, exclusive private school and was a merit semi finalist.

To the best of my knowledge, he suffers from no mental illness, save, for maybe narcissism.

My brother's clock is different from the rest of the world. He likes to sleep all day and stay up and be brilliant all night (sarcasm). Sadly, he could never find anyone to pay him to sit around and be brilliant. My brother had a job for a short time in his early 20's (he is 52 now) but he could not keep it because his boss got tired of calling the house looking for him.

My brother identifies himself as transgendered but, although this is becoming much more accepted now, in the early eighties through to the last few years, no one wanted to hire a man in a dress (with a full beard, mind you) so, rather than conforming during the work day, he just never worked.

Brother claims fibromyalgia but that was well into decades of not working anyway. His level of disability tends to go up and down depending on what he wants to do.

He is not on any type of disability or any other government aid except for recently acquiring Obamacare. He has always depended on what paltry money he makes playing in a Celtic band occasionally and what money he can get by begging (he recently had a gofundme page and raised enough to purchase a washer and dryer).

My mother bought him a row house, pays his utilities and occasionally buys him groceries. I have brought up that if he is not disabled, he should support himself and if he is truly disabled, he should be on SSDI. He, to the best of my knowledge, has never applied for any kind of assistance or SSDI. This falls on deaf ears.

As to my financial arrangement, no, I don't have a written agreement, and yes, I should. I do transfer money from Mom to myself to offset some of her living expenses.
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Why has brother never had a job? You imply it is laziness and selfishness, and that certainly may be the case. But these situations are more usually associated with some kind of impairment. Even in that case it has not been a true kindness for your father and mother to continue to support him without making some long-term plans for him. This situation is very sad. Is your brother on any kind of program for financial help? I understand that your brother is nothing to you, but more information about him might bring up some other ideas. He is definitely a part of problem here, after all.

If your mother is living with you I hope she is paying room and board. You should have a written agreement about this, so it is clear this money is not a gift. Even if you don't want to take this money yourself you can save it for future use for her. At least it will be money not available for her to give your brother.

To answer your original question, your mother has the authority to make her own financial decisions, even very dumb ones, until and unless she is declared incompetent. And I'm afraid doing something she has been doing for decades, will not be evidence of incompetence.
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Have her declared incompetent via a petition for Guardianship. She is making very bad decisions and he is exerting undue influence.
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Thank you Rainmom. That is, unfortunately what I was thinking the answer would be. I will continue to use my powers of persuasion to try to get her to stop the cash flow.

One thing that drives me crazy is that she will tell my brother one thing and me another. I hear her offer him money and then when I talk to her she agrees with me and tells me to cancel the credit card (she keeps giving him the number). So, he is getting the impression that I am not honoring her wishes when in actuality, her wishes just keep changing depending on who she is talking to.
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Until your mother is declared legally incompetent your POA does not allow you to over-ride her wishes - no matter how unreasonable they seem or are. It's certainly a tough situation to be in, as freqflyer points out she has likely disqualified herself from medicaid. Hopefully her money will hold out. You can try to become her guardian/ have her declared incompetent but that requires a medical diagnosis - largely based on if she is deemed capable of making sound finanical and medical decisions. You might have half that battle won if she can't understand how she is jeopardizing her financial future. However - you may very likely still be dealing with the five year look back as far as medicaid goes.
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Freqflyer

My brother is nothing to me. I fully expect never to see him again or even think of him again once Mom is gone. I don't know, nor do I care what he will do to survive.

I have tried to explain to Mom that she has done him a huge disservice by never teaching him to stand on his own two feet.

Mom thinks that I am just being a B. but my issues go back to when Dad was hospitalized in the same city that he was living. He was living in the house they bought him, driving the car they gave him, etc. and brother only visited him once (and that was to get money). In the mean time, I never missed a day visiting Dad in that year even though I lived 30 minutes away and worked full time. That was when I decided selfish people didn't deserve my compassion.
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