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Anyone not trusting your sibling?
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 10:54 AM
Joined: 8/1/2017
Posts: 127

So many aspects of this, but I never thought it would come to this.  (Guess we all can say that?)  My dad worked in personal trusts at a large bank for 20 years and went through many efforts to set up a trust for himself and mom.  Both my parents always thought if my sister and I had any breaks in our relationship it would be by fighting over possessions after they were both gone.  In spite of such efforts, the break now comes as I see my sister taking advantage of my parents in their compromised state.  

Sister is married to a man who makes plenty of money, but refused to pay an expensive decorator she hired to re-furnish the house.  I found out my mom gave her a check for several thousands of dollars, and when I asked sister about it she told me the story.  I told her I thought that was wrong, but she just said "Well I told mom to give you the same amount too so you shouldn't be upset." I told her she missed the point that I think it's wrong to take money from your parents when you are 56 years old - let alone the fact that mom has AD.  She shrugged and added "well it's a bit easier because you can just say they never actually gave you the check and they won't know the difference".    

I barely tolerate my sister and reduce interaction with her whenever possible, but I worry about further damage she can do.  I do not have POA. I found out they are eachother's POA which concerns me because I don't think either one can make sound judgements. Do I need to get a doctor's diagnosis of AD in order to get POA?  Both parents are fighting me whenever I raise the issue.  Thanks for any replies. 

Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 12:37 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4078

Sorr this is happening.  Beenthere too but won't bore anyone with my story.

Actually, a POA needs to be assigned and documents drawn up prior to a diagnosis.  If you believe either parent would know what they are signing (POA) you could attempt to do it.  If either would appeaar confused and oblivious to what they are signing an attorney wuld not ehtically anyway prepare the documents.

I haven't done this myself but each state has downloadedable POA forms.  Soe rquire that only a notary is need to notarize these and in soe states this is considered legal  You need to now your state laws and rules to make this a legal and binding document should you go this route.

The D{OA r springing POA attorney (we had the latter) is what I have read is necessary.

Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 3:02 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4219

Raise the question again with your parents-this time with any example of greed, waste, scam, etc that you can think of and tell them it is important that they have an "alternative" POA in case they both became incapacitated by illness, stroke, accident. This should be drawn up by a lawyer with the clause that the alternate will be called upon to act as POA in the event 1 or 2 doctors say they can no longer manage their affairs. That may put their minds at ease and they might allow for it because it won't happen just because you say it is time.

As for gifting-not knowing how much money they have in reserve- but any gifts at this time in their lives could make them ineligible for medicaid if they need it within the next 5 years. So tell them they must stop giving out large "gifts".

I hear of this type of family greed over and over. Tell your sister if she continues to financially abuse your parents and you will take action. There's lots you can do from reporting her to APS, (they won't do anything but it makes them write up a report), to telling other family members, to seeking guardianship. Good luck!

Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 4:20 PM
Joined: 9/7/2017
Posts: 338

ahhhh a subject with which i am intimately acquainted! 

1.  Your mom and dad should each have at least one backup medical and financial POA.  This ensures you don't have to have the documents done again ($$$ this might help sway them) if one of them isn't able to make decisions for the other.  This includes death and - for example, if both of them were in a car accident and your dad couldn't make an in-the-moment decision for your mom. You might not bring up your sisters gifts in light of this  - it depends on how you think your parents will react - since it may appear that you are acting from jealousy or to take advantage yourself.  For us, it just sparked emotion in my MIL, so we left that out of the discussion. 

2. The person who draws up the POA is your parents attorney. Depending on the assets in question, you may choose to engage your own attorney to represent you in the POA process. I would tell both my parents attorney and my own attorney my concerns about my sister. 

Attorneys - depending on what capacity in which they are acting - may be mandatory reporters which may prompt an open case file with social services and a visit to your parents.  We wanted this on record and welcomed it.  We also reached out to the case worker and explained the situation.  These were gifts that my MIL wanted to give to her daughter.  We felt like it was going over the line.  They closed the case file, but we were happy to have it on record. 

3.  As a last resort, a letter from your parents attorney to your sister asking that she stop asking for money can be very effective (though it doesn't really carry much weight).  

You also need to decide what your parents can bear - as mentioned, it's important to understand how gifts will impact medicaid eligibility, which should be explained to your sister.  Some parents REALLY REALLY REALLY want to give gifts to their kids - especially if that is ingrained in the family culture - so you may want to staunch 90% of the flow, and if they throw some cash her way on occasion, let it go. 

Guardianship is a whole 'nother ball of wax - it's expensive and it creates ALOT of work for the guardian which is why we didn't pursue it (my husband and I are POAs and trustees but not guardians).  

Keep in mind that POA will not necessarily stop your parents from giving your sister $ - if one of them is competent, they can shovel her all the cash and gifts they want.  If the money is in a trust, that's more complicated, since that is community property.  In our case, my husband was POA for his dad, so when his mom took thousands of dollars out of the trust for a gift, she actually couldn't do that without my husbands permission since it was community property.  If you really want to pursue this - lawyer up.  

That being said - try not to let your personal relationship with your sister get tangled up with this. From the sounds of it, you don't have much of a relationship with her, so it sounds like that's a write off.  If a few thousand here or there doesn't really matter, you might want to consider letting it go.  Going to battle could end up with her in charge. 


Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 5:33 PM
Joined: 9/19/2013
Posts: 89

Oh My!  I'm so very glad I don't have to worry about this one.  

Bless you.  Hang on.  All trials eventually end.


Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 7:00 PM
Joined: 2/29/2016
Posts: 962

The best advice I got recently was to act as though I were an only child.
His Daughter
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 9:34 AM
Joined: 6/25/2014
Posts: 1991

Hi Ginger,

  Of course you aren't alone on this topic.  Many of us have experienced this.  And you are correct to worry about further damage your sister could do.  It's like taking candy from a baby for our self serving siblings. So you are right to protect your parents money for their future needs.  

  My sister's breech was also with a personal check, when my father was so bad he couldn't even spell her name correctly.  No worries, she had him cross it out, and initial above his error. Then promptly ran to his bank and cashed it before she left town. You're at least lucky to have been given an answer, or discussion, as to why she did this. When I asked my sister why she did this, I received no explanation at all. Apparently, she was simply entitled.   My brother was asking for a $13,000 check, as that's what the IRS allowed as a tax free gift that year.  Fortunately, at that time, I was the POA and handled all of Dad's finances.  My answer was a flat and firm "NO".   And this is in addition to several situations years earlier, (before I was able to take over) where Dad was swindled by three crooks who showed up at his door, and an hour later, had a check for $9,600 for "roof work".  As well as a 20 year girlfriend who was writing him worthless IOUs for $5,000 a pop.   I mention all this, because I am trying to illustrate the importance of taking this FRAUD seriously.  It's pretty easy to run through tens of thousands of dollars very quickly.      

   The emotional aspect to all this is very difficult for caregivers to bare.  And if our role isn't emotionally hard enough, this is about the LAST thing we need.  We've all seen insensitive doctors, friends that disappear, people who feel the PWD is no longer valuable, and heartbreaking situations where we watch our parents struggling.  It was hard enough to watch out right crooks taking advantage of my dad.  So the VERY last straw, was to witness my dad's own children take advantage of him. (The very people who should have been doing everything possible to protect him)  It's so unfair, heartbreaking and maddening!  You'd have to be a piece of stone for it not to effect how you feel about your sister.  

  The only thing I have to offer is 1) stand up and do the right thing 2) protect the money for your parents future need 3) recognize your sister is standing on the wrong side of this issue  and 4) don't beat yourself up for being mad about all this,  just because she's your sibling. You have every right. 

  People with Alzheimer's are so vulnerable.  We must do everything we can to protect them. Unfortunately there seems to be a never ending stream of self serving, crappy people in this world.  Your parent's hard earned money and savings should be spent on THEIR needs, not someone's decorator.    


Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:29 AM
Joined: 8/1/2017
Posts: 127

Thank you all for your replies.  Good to hear advice from others who've walked in these shoes.  

Ironically, I know if I told my parents what I think sister is up to, they would just accuse me of sibling rivalry and likely further defend my sister.  I have to pursue other approaches.  As far as my sister goes, I mostly act like I'm an only child because I cannot change her, and cannot stand to be close to her.  The guilt rises at times, but quickly diminishes upon her next show of entitlement.            


Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:31 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 14751

First...will there ever be the possibility of your parents needing medicaid?   This is essential to know. Once this is established you can go to step two.

Is there a trust? Who is trustee? Be subtle about asking...maybe you can just find it. One approach may be to buy a box for them and help them collect all document to put in it.

You also want to know if the POA's are durable or springing. For this info you might tell them that you think it is prudent for you to have one and you want advice.

A lot is in the approach ... straight forward may lead smack into a brick wall!

Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 8:35 PM
Joined: 8/1/2017
Posts: 127

Thanks jfkoc.  I do not see medicaid being needed, however they do not have endless resources either.  As things progress, I anticipate one or both will need 24/7 in-home aides or perhaps even residence at AL.  This would likely drain their life savings within 5 years if they make it that far.  I'm taking steps on all advice given.  I never knew about any of these aspects until I joined this forum last month and am learning so much.  Thanks again to all.       


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