I just became POA over my 86 year old mom. Since I became POA, she's been in the hospital twice, rehab and now in an assisted living facility. My sister literally just dumped all this on me with not much information. I still have teenagers I'm raising and I own a business to run. I don't even know where to begin. I've been running myself into the ground and I'm exhausted. I'm so sick today I just can't get out of bed. I finally got a chance to go through her bank account information and it looks like there's roughly $80k unaccounted for. My siblings won't talk to me anymore and I don't know why. I tried to find out about her life insurance policy yesterday and it appears it's no longer on file. The only statement I have is from 2018. I can't log into her account because I don't know the user name and password. I was on hold for over 2 hours yesterday and finally had to hang up. When my dad passed away in 2010 there was $90k in one annuity and now it's down to $10k. When I asked my sister for my mom's bank statements so I can get her VA benefits she had a lawyer send me a letter saying that if I keep harassing her I'll be sent to jail!! The VA does a 3 year look back and they are asking me where the money went. IDK where it went. There's also $30 missing from one of my mom's bank accounts. My sister switched banks so often and my mom doesn't even know what bank she had before. The bank statements from 2015-2020 is what I really need and that bank is now closed down.
I don't know anything about Medicare or Medicaid at all. I just know I really need some help. I'm located in the Northern KY area close to Cincinnati if anyone can lead me in the right direction. I'm trying to save money and paying someone to give her a bath a few times a week instead of paying the facility $1k a month to do it.
I don't know if I need a criminal attorney for my sister because I know she was forging my mom's name on her checks and obviously taking her money. An Elder attorney because that is elder abuse. I just need someone to help me please.
They will help untangle this mess and if they find anything that seems not right they will dig deeper and will probably send a letter to your sibling(s) requesting the information and possibly filing Financial Abuse charges if they need to.
There are a couple of scenarios here...did sister dump everything because she is burnt out from everything and perhaps there was no "system" in place and she got overwhelmed.
Or, has anyone been legally appointed POA. An Elderly Attorney and Social Worker can assist you. Don't waste your time at pointing the finger at this point, but "from this point on" things need to change.
A few suggestions:
When I first started to notice small gradual changes in my mother and then during the Pandemic they went full blown. Right now, Mom is stable but she is going to be 85. So your going up against old age.
The first thing I did was at the beginning I would "assist" her in bill paying. By that I mean we both sit down together. However, with the Dementia I have had to take over completely. I have a simple system that works--
* Notebook ledger (not the one they give you with the checking account, too small) from the Dollar Store
*A Business Envelope with January 2023 and the person's name on it and the front reads "all debit and checking account entries". You do this for each month.
*Keep all receipts of any transaction even if you take out cash at the ATM and note what it is for and again receipts. You want a "paper trail".
*Each morning you go online and you check off what checks/debits have cleared. This way here if there are any errors you catch it right away and you simply refer to the envelope with receipts in it.
*Never mix your money with Mother's--never the (2) shall meet.
*Keep the ledger and envelopes in a desk so if siblings show up everything is there in black and white--you have nothing to hide.
You have to have authorization (the right form) to discuss everything today--health, dental, everything.
Also, what is the next step if mother outgrows the existing facility. Also, someone in your family needs to know your system, in case anything happens to you. You have to cover yourself. You need a back-up should an emergency turn up at either end.
It sounds like someone "you" need to take the reigns and have a system.
Next, go on the portal and make friends with your mother's primary care physician or the doc at the facility.
The VA also has an Aid & Attendance program. It is NOT a given but if dad was in the military during time of War there could be some assistance. Lots of paperwork.
You need to spend your time in the immediate, putting a band-aid on the finances and plugging up the hole in the dike and not spending time on siblings because Mother's care in the present moment is the priority. An Elderly Attorney could advise you and a Social Worker.
Keep good records and put the gas mask on yourself first. You will grow into the role and check out Teepa Snow videos on YouTube and Dr. Natali on YouTube.
This forum is excellent. You will learn the jargon and don't waste time fighting with siblings instead get your affairs in order. Amen!
Cut and pasted:
I just took over POA over my Mom last month. It was literally dumped on me because my sister was done with her. She moved in with my mom in 2010, never paid a dime for anything, sold my dad's car and kept the money. My mom is 86 years old and has Autism. My sister didn't tell anyone that she was buying my mom's house in which she lived in for 63 years. In 2010 the house appraised for $120K. My sister put new siding on the house, a new garage door, a giant shed in the back yard, the entire house painted, a huge patio and deck added, a new roof, had at least 4 trees removed. She used my moms money for all these things. In 2020, she bought the house from my mom for$120K. How exactly does that work? Now my mom doesn't qualify for VA Aid and Attendance and other VA benefits because she has too much money. The house would have been deeded directly to her from what I understand because she took care of her for 10 years. She even had my mom sign a contract that my mom would pay for a new sewer line to be installed 1 1/2 years after she bought it. So, she basically got the house for free and screwed my mom out of her VA benefits. What can I do? What kind of an attorney do I need? Criminal? Elder? VA? There's 5 of us and I'm the youngest who is still raising kids. 2 of my brothers are retired and their kids are in there 40's the others have kids in there 30's. And I'm the only one doing anything. Oh, and she dropped her off at an assisted living facility a week before Christmas last year. I really need some help. I live in Florence, KY, BTW if anyone knows of someone who can help me." - end quote -
Not to be harsh, but don't waste any time in getting professidonal help...your journey has only just begun-good luck!
I am sorry you're dealing with this. It's hard. I also still have a teenager at home, and been taking care of my dad for 8 years and for 18 months of that also my mom. Lucky or unlucky, I am an only child. Makes things harder because it's all on me but also don't have to deal with the sibling BS.
Also we get VA benefits. Who is signed as your mom's fiduciary with VA? Call them directly and try to see if they will talk to you. If sis messed with VA $ it is a crime. My FIL pocketed MIL's VA money that was for her nursing home care and we got them involved and they do not mess around - fiduciary was immmediately changed to my BIL, and FIL couldn't touch that money ever again. VA will take this very seriously. I get audited by them annually, so not sure how sis has gotten away with it.
Perhaps that is why . . .
Since you are overwhelmed now -and you have a need for professional, legal advice and direction - please contact an attorney. This is a serious matter requiring legal professionals.
$30 missing - or was that a typo.
I SMELL A RAT. Get an attorney.
Gena / Touch Matters
Please go to your attorney now, as you need sound legal advice which can not be obtained on this forum. As it relates to Medicare and Medicaid advice, a google search shows Kentucky has a Department for Aging and Independent Living. No doubt their staff can provide assistance. I wish you all the best.
See All Answers