Sister driving me crazy

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    So for those of you who have followed along and care, my mom was supposed to move up by me [beginning 9/1] but my sister in PA highjacked things and my mom is now moved out of her apt there and into my sister's house. My sister took $1500 from my mom to help pay for the bathroom/shower which is off her kitchen, next to mom's room, which is barely 10' X 10'. My sister also took my mom's queen sized bed and made it her own and had my mom go buy herself a twin so it will fit her room. On top of that, my sister and her H emptied mom's apt and have all her belongings in their garage ready for a tag sale. My sister hired a woman to come sit with my mom, for $10/hour cash, 6 hours a day, M-F, while my sister works.

    My mom receives roughly $1200/month and my sister is taking $600 of that to help cover the cost of her day care (in home) and then says the rest is for incidentals like mom's RX copays and depends. Okay, I get it. Along with my siblings I will contribute towards mom's monthly care. Right now we all pay $120 each/month (there are 5 of us) to cover the day care cost that my mom's income supposedly doesn't cover, per my PA sister.

    My PA sister sent us all an email stating what we owed her in regards to my mom's care. She is billing us all for the month of June. My mom was with my other sister in WV for the last two weeks of June. I paid for June in full and as such, technically, it was my understanding that I had overpaid for June, leaving me with a 1/2 month surplus payment (this was when she was in her own apt). And for July, my mom was with me. So, all we owe PA sister for is the August/Sept payment, which I am fine with.

    The idea in moving her to CT was that we would find her a home and it would only be temporary that she be living between me and my sister here in CT until a bed became available. My CT sister here has thrown in the towel and seems more than happy to let PA sister's take mom in. My mom's demential is getting worse...not better as my delusional sister in PA believes.

    I have some questions....

    1) What happens to the money she gets from selling mom's items? Shouldn't that money offset the monthly cost of mom's daycare?
    2) Why does she need $600/month to cover the cost of her RX copays and depends??? If her RX copays are only $300 couldn't another $100 or $200 go towards mom's monthly care costs?
    3) What actionss has she taken to find mom a home near her? Has she filed any state paperwork to get any services that may be covered through the VA or anything?
    4) Do I say anything about already being up to date for June's payment?

    I have power of attorney over my mom's financial affairs. My sister here has power of attorney over my mom's health affairs. So, my PA sister will have to acquire poa that will supercede our poa, understand? So, until then, technically, I have power of attorney over her financial affairs.

    There are extenuating circumstances, such as my sister makes plenty of money with her H and they blow it all on booze - major alcoholics. Also, in reviewing my mom's accounts I noted that in the month of July, while my mom had already been in CT for a couple of weeks, a check to a local grocery store had been written for $168. Now, even if it was groceries for my mom, which it clearly was not, no way would it have been that much! So, I now know that my mom's checking account is essentially an extension of my sister' she obviously uses freely.

    What would you do?? I could bulldoze myself into the thick of things and demand to see all my mom's financial documentation and figure out a monthly cost that is reasonable for all of us siblings. But that would entail a trip to PA to do that in person, as I'm sure my PA sister will not readily give up that info. I can have my CT sister here bulldoze a bit and make my PA sister find her a home as well, but again, that would entail a trip. My concern is two-fold. First, my mom will eventually need round the clock care that my working sister will not be able to provide her with and the sooner we find her a bed in a home, the better. Second, with the idea of finding my mom a home, it would mean that there is an end in sight for the monthly payments to my sister. Simply put, I cannot indefinitely budget $125/month to this nor, considering my sister's lifestyle, do I feel we should be supplementing her income. If I have to, I will find a way, but the idea was that she'd be in a home and it wouldn't be so - for any of us. We could put some money into a monthly stipend for her hair care, massages, etc., and that would not cost $625/month by any means.

    by the way, I am not the only one thinking these WV sister and my brother all feel the same, but they won't say anything...they are banking on me to say something. Incidentally, my mom just had an old law suit that finally settled, so the papers are being sent to me and so will the check. When I get that check, I am prepaying my mom's funeral costs so my PA sister won't get her mitts on it.

    So, without starting a family war, what would you do?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I think that you AND your sisters and brother should talk to your PA sister. My gut is telling me that if you shoulder this by yourself then it might turn into a grudge match between your sister and you with all the others standing on the sidelines, or worse, choosing up sides.

    If you can have some sort of family meeting to discuss it all as a group, then everyone hears the same information at the same time. No one is getting hearsay, or someone's "side of the story".

    I know this isn't very helpful, but I've seen first hand the sibling feuds that can result from unresolved issues with a parent's estate. When my grannie died, there was some unclear info in her will which led to years of fighting among her 6 kids as to who got what and how much. It was ugly and horrible.

    Sending {{{hugs}}} and positive thoughts that you can resolve this without starting a family feud.

  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    As soon as the banks open tomorrow, you call your mom's banks and ask for their fax number. You fax the legal documents naming you Power of Attorney of Financial and request that ALL your mom's accounts be frozen until further notice.

    What your sister did was finance the remodeling of her house and not only used your mom's money as a down payment but is using your mom's money to pay it off.

    I am sure she has no intention of giving the money from sales of your mom's stuff to your mom. That will go into your PA sister's pockets.

    As the financial person, ALL bills should come through you. Do not let your sister pay anything because I am sure she is not giving you proof of expenses through receipts. You can set up a financial guardian to take care of your mom's finances.

    Do not let your sister pay this person watching your mom in cash. That scares me because this person is probably not qualified for this job. Your sister should go through an agency to get a liscensed person to sit with your mom. If so, the agency gets paid monthly or weekly or whatever. Anyone accepting cash for this important job sounds very fishy to me. I would fear your mom's safety.

    Every expense (even co-pays) need a receipt and be paid in check form.

    Your PA sister is so out of line here that I have a feeling that you will have a legal battle on your hands. Your sister is after your mom's money as well as being after all the siblings money. She is spending everyone's inheritance on herself. It should be spent on your mom.

    I would refuse (and have siblings refuse also) to pay PA sister anything until she can show proof that the expenses are what she claims.

    I hate to see families in this situation but you need to get your mom away from your PA sister and it may be that taking her to court for stealing from your mom to do it.

    I think your mom named your the financial attorney for a reason. She chose your other sister health attorney. That clearly shows her wish for you two to make those decisions.

    Have you talked to your mom? I have a very bad feeling about the person sitting with her. Please check that out.

    Don't pay anything else to your PA sister (ask other siblings not to also). Freeze your mom's accounts, get a back ground check on the person accepting cash to watch her ($10/hr/day needs to be submitted to IRS for taxes) and get your mom with you as orginally planned.

    I am sorry, but it sounds like in order to protect your mom, you are going to have a family war. If not, your PA sister will drain your mom of every penny plus keep increasing what she wants from siblings without justifiying that amount.

    You have the laws on your side on this.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    P.S. Notify any agency your mom gets income from. Fax them your attorney of finance papers and ask that checks be sent to you. Then open an account in your town so your sister can not get in it.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks for the advice.

    When my mom was here in July, we set up an account in her name and mine, we had an attorney file the papers for poa for both me and my CT sister (near me) and we began filling out paperwork to have mom move here and find her a home as well as filing Title 19 paperwork with the state for aid for the cost of a home. My mom is not wealthy. All she has is about $4000 cash and her monthly income of $1200 which is a combo of SS and pension payments. My PA sister isn't going to be in a situation to bilk her out of much money except to simple extend her own income by about $600/month. Not much, but still...when you add in the money we're all sending her...

    I will acquire a copy of the poa papers and go over it with my local sister. She's smart and reasonable, albeit, cannot seem to be bothered to make any waves in regards to custody of my mom or anything. At this point, I think she she content to let PA sister do it all (which in effect means, take great advantage over the situation).

    My WV sister feels that my PA sister will not really look into a home for mom because, quite frankly, PA sister will have an income loss once mom no longer lives with her. We're all upset about it, yet I seem to be the only one up in arms. I need a reality check to see if I'm up in arms over something that isn't that serious. To me, this is serious and it's not just about the financial aspect.

    My WV sister learned that my PA sister pinches my mom - hard enough to leave bruises. And my easy child told me that when she was visiting her, that PA sister also pinched her a lot - she thinks she's being cute! There is so much more, and many reasons, to take my mom away from my sister, that I can't write it all here.

    I need some backing by my siblings. My brother is very happy to not be bothered with the day to day and just send his monthly check. For me, it's not that easy. I don't have room in my own home to have mom live with me so I really need to have my two other sisters on board with me.

    I am sending an email to my PA sister tomorrow and simply telling her that I am contacting the bank for copies of all the records, that I am not paying her any more money for June, and that I need assurance from her that she is seeking a home for my mom, with a deadline date we can count on. I am also going to inform her of the details surrounding mom's court settlement as well. She needs to know that at least one of us is not going to roll over on this one.

    Thanks for the advice, adrianne. At least I don't feel like I'm crazy.
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    What do you know about the woman who is watching your mom?

    How did your sister find her? What services does she provide besides sitting? Does she read newspapers or books to your mom? Is she aware of your mom's needs and proactive at meeting them? Or is she there for the easy $10 per hour because no one is there watching? Is your mom able to fill you in as to how well she is being taken care of? Would she tell you the truth or try to save you from heartbreak of knowing your sister is not taking care of her?
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I am fairly confident that the woman who is sitting with my mom is okay. She makes her breakfast, lunch and plays games with her, takes her outside, and reads with her daily. She's been my sister's friend for about 10 years and has a degree in health education, which I am guessing would make her a gym teacher?? Hahaha. I am okay with this woman caring for my mom - FOR NOW. As my mom's mental state continues to decline, I do not think this is a feasible plan (to stay at home with my sister and this woman caring for her). My sister is one of those people who takes things on and then resents them. I know it's just a matter of time before my sister begins to rant and yell at my mom. And her being an alcoholic really upsets my mom also. I mean, she and her H go through CASES of beer a week, along with wine, etc. It's not a healthy home for mom to be in...I am so afraid of the evenings, should my mom need my sister, but my sister is too wasted to help her. So, you see, there are a lot of concerns. I spoke with each of my other siblings about all of this and only the one in WV seems to be alarmed like me. I will update you as to how things go tomorrow.
  8. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    seriously? I mean you can pay for her medications and have them mailed to your sister and have a case of depends mailed via to her house as well, I am sure in doing this your Mom will have more then enough $ to go towards her care, which by the way, the care taker can bill you directly. I know my Mom pit my Nanna in assisted living and they took her and billed the year against her house (which is still on the market), now they will keep her there and accept medicaid. Which my Mom is almost done getting through. She kept immaculate records which helped alot, but they want to see everything from the past 3 years and they want a full explanation of any $ coming and going $1000 or over. She can not have assets or life insurance either.

    Wishing you luck on this one, I would also request that all siblings have a chance to see the tagged items b4 the sale, incase there is anything of sentimental value!

    Caring for parents is not easy, I watched my parents care for both of my Grandmothers and all their affairs. It's a thankless job. But it sounds like you PA sister may be taking advantage of you guys!
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Bottom line here -

    Your mother needs a guardian ad litem or some court appointed person to "oversee" her affairs and distribute the bills and collect the payments.

    I would seek legal counsel on the entire matter. This is getting out of hand when someone takes your bed and cleans out your house for a tag sale. Then phones you and says "She's fine" as long as she lives there your sister is getting money it seems....and if that's okay with everyone so they don't have to take care of your mom - then let it go.

    If not - then I'd get a lawyer and have the court appoint a bookkeeper of sorts.
  10. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Jo, I think I would be checking the records with a fine tooth comb, and verifying with the woman who watches her that she is indeed getting that amount. I also think I would insist on receipts before I paid anything out as well (not that she couldn't fake them anyway)

    My aunt finally got my mom's finances sorted out before my sister in law spent all of it - her thing was my mom's money was her money too - which it wasn't - it was in my bro's account and when he passed away, she got her hands on it.

    After seeing all of the bickering and arguing over my mothers money, not to mention my grandmother - 7 kids all divided accusing each other of "spending" their inheritance (she was no Rockerfeller - we are talking about a couple of thousand each)

    I am already feeling bad for easy child, who I put in charge of everything if something should happen to me-his brother and sister will make his life miserable I am sure if they think a dollar two-eighty is due them.

    At any rate, I think PA sister is going to end up being a lot of aggrivation once asked to be accountable.

  11. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    For now, you have a legal responsibility to manage your mother's funds and personal property. You have the financial POA. If your PA sister squanders it, you are legally responsible since you have the fiduciary responsibility. So, you better make sure all funds are being spent appropriately unless you want to ultimately charge your sister with theft.

    Today, elder abuse is a big deal in most communities and using parental funds for personal use does fall under elder abuse. You might want to remind your sister of this and explain that's why you need receipts, etc. The one good thing is that you could make the email sound like you're trying protect your sister as well as your mother and that might prevent at least one fight.

    You might be able to get your brother and sisters on board by reminding them of the fact they have a legal and moral responsibility to see that your mother is protected and that is not happening at this time. Yes, sending a check is easy but if there is an awareness that funds are not being spent appropriately, that your mother is being bruised, that her caretaker may not have the necessary skills to take care of someone with dementia (depending on what stage she is at) and that your sister is an alcoholic could lead to all of you being charged should something happen to your mother while in your sister's care.

    Taking care of parents is a very slippery slope nowadays. The courts are very much more aware of how badly the elderly can be and frequently are treated. They have little sympathy for the abusers or for those who had a legal responsibility to protect them from this abuse.

    Good luck with all of this. I hope everyone gets on board to protect your mother very quickly.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MB is right. This is a very slippery slope.

    I would be very surprised about the actual copays too. Medicare and Medicaid now cover Depends! I just learned that. You need to look into the senior health insurance plans and how they can help your mom. There are surprising options out there.

    If you want to discuss this with me further...just PM.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Your mom is very much at risk right now. Your PA sister with physical custody is abusing her $$ and YOU, Jo, are the one who will be held legally liable for it. YOU have poa, and so the buck has to stop wtih you.

    You MUST contact the bank, your siblings, etc... and make sure your mom is protected. It is so hard to deal with a parent with dementia, on every front. But it has to be done.

    Since you know she has even taken your mom's BED, and has spent $$ from her account for groceries when your mom couldn't have been there to use them, this is financial abuse/advantage.

    I know that when my bro was drinking I would NOT have trusted him to care for our parents in a similar situation. His judgement was impaired. the alcohol is impairing your sister's judgement, so the friend caring for your mom may not be an appropriate caregiver.

    PLEASE don't let your mom be abused. Even if your siblings just want to send checks, you still have the responsibility to not let your mom be taken advantage of or abused.

    I am so sorry this is happening.
  14. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I had POA over my grandmother. Fortunately, not one family member...including my father (her son) ever questioned anything. But, I did it with an attorney. Every aspect of her finances and living conditions were verified by me and the attorney.

    I can't imagine what you are going through.

  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Here is the letter I sent to all my siblings - please tell me what you think?? Thanks!

    Dear PA Sister,

    I have a comment and a few questions in regards to your letter.

    First, it was my understanding that I was paid in full for all of June. I sent you all of May’s money and all of June’s money as well. Mom wasn’t in PA for the last two weeks of June – she was with WV Sister - and I thought that I actually had a credit for June. Was money sent to WV Sister to cover costs whiles Mom was there? I wasn’t aware of that so please let me know so I have a better understanding of my balance due. I have already processed through my bank the payments for Aug/Sept.

    And my questions:

    1) Are you still planning on having a tag sale of the items from Mom’s apt? If so, what will happen with the money from selling mom's items? I feel that any monies received should offset the monthly cost of mom's daycare, even if it’s just a little bit.
    2) I understand about her keeping a few dollars aside in case she wants to buy something, but after RX co-pays and personal supplies, I am thinking that she could contribute at least an additional $200 more than the initial $600 towards her day care needs, as her funeral costs will be covered shortly between her savings and her settlement (more on that later) so there is no need to be concerned with setting any more money aside for that.
    3) What actions have you taken to find mom a home near you? Have you created a list of places to see? You can acquire the state paperwork, including the Title 19 as well as any services that may be covered through the VA, at the homes you look at. If you want to arrange a date, I can come down and help you look at places.

    Mom is eligible for both the Title 19 and the VA benefits. Researching and applying for these is a necessary step in setting her up for a home.
    Once this step is made, we will all have a better time frame as to how long she will be in your home and how long we will need to contribute to her monthly care.

    4) Is it your intention to find Mom a home or not? From the last couple of conversations I have had with you, it seems that you plan on having Mommy stay with you indefinitely.

    I will be honest, I cannot see her being able to live with you (or any of us) indefinitely without a plan for the future in place. As much as I agree it’s nicer to have her living with family, it’s really only feasible for the short term. It is in her best interest, as well as all of ours, to find a home for her sooner rather than later. Also, I cannot see me being able to commit to sending $100+ every month indefinitely.

    This Summer, we had all agreed that mom will receive the best 24-hour care from a facility and that was our agreed upon goal. Now it seems that the terms have changed and I would like to know what’s what.

    Per WV Sister, mom’s lawsuit has been settled. After I sign the papers and all fees are paid to the attorneys, Mom will likely receive somewhere around $4000 – give or take a couple of hundred. That money is earmarked for Mom’s funeral costs, also as agreed. Any further costs will come directly out of her savings account. This will ensure that all of those funeral related costs have been covered and are set so there will be no surprises when Mom passes away.

    I believe we should all have an accounting of what her balances are in the savings and checking accounts so we know what her monthly budget is, as well as to help figure out what our funeral budget will be. If you don’t have time to get this information, I can contact the bank directly and get that info myself.

    I can also contact some funeral homes in your area to get some prices. If there is one in particular that stands out or has a better reputation than others, please let me know. According to Mom, she does not want a wake or traditional funeral. As we all know, she wants a simple cremation and then a service at her church, St. Johns. Considering her wishes, that means we will not have to waste money on an expensive coffin for her, so I will be asking for the least expensive services available. If anyone objects to this, please let me know. Have you heard anything about _____ Funeral Home? I think it’s in _____? It looked nice on line…but you would know better since you live there.

    Please don’t take this letter as an attack, as so much emotion is lost in emails…I am merely asking a few questions and want to open some discussion about Mom and the plans for her future care. If you can hit “reply all” when replying, that would help us all have an opportunity to discuss things openly. I love you and I know you’re doing your best for Mom, I know it’s not easy and I know that having Mom in your home can really shake things up. I am glad that Mom is happy with Caregiver, as I’m sure she’s a nice lady and keeps Mom engaged during the day. I’m glad you were able to get her in place so fast before you returned to work. I know that everything will work out if we all work together.

    Love Jo
  16. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    sounds well worded and to the point, let us know how she responds.
  17. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jo, the best advice you can get is this: contact a lawyer that specializes in estates.

    This is not about your sister and what she is doing right now. It is about what will happen in 6 months or a year or 5 years when your mom needs to live in a nursing home.

    Did you know that if you are already in a home for more than 1 year - even if it costs you $10k per year, the state will pick it up after the money is gone? Could be different in PA.
    It is my understanding that it is imperative that one gets into a nice place while there is still money to pay. The state does not move you once you are out of money.

    If you mom stays with sister until she is out of money - where would your mom end up? The least expensive place.

    The whole process has many loop holes and it is imperative that a lawyer is sought early.

    HUGS! I know it is so stressful to have these worries.

    I would plan a trip to PA for all siblings and meet with a lawyer all together during the trip. You all hear the same thing from his/her mouth. No doubts then.
  18. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Bsy - thats what we were told with my mother in Ohio - she pays about 2,500 a month, and once she goes thru her money, she stays and the AL place takes her SS giving her I think about a 50.00 allowance a month. I think had she not done this, and all of her money was gone, she would not have been able to get in such a nice place (not that she wants to stay there - she wants to come here with me)

  19. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Hope everything is working out for you, this is a very hard situation for you all. Your letter was a good one and hope your sister took it in the way intended, as concern for your mom and wanting the best for her. I agree with other posters, I think it's important you get your mom into a home as soon as possible. I'm sure it's the same as here, any care home has a waiting list, and especially longer for the nicer ones. As mentioned by others for their areas, the same happens here, the care home is paid for with the patient's money until it runs out, and then is paid for through gov't services with a small amount to the patient for incidentals. While it's nice to be able to have aging/ailing parents with family, it's almost impossible for family to provide the level of care they eventually need. As your mom will have to be in a home once she needs round the clock care, it's best to start the process now and get her in the best place you can.
  20. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You have power of attorney, so you need to act fast. Your sister could have your mom take that away in a heartbeat. Get an attorney to require your sister to give a true accounting to each sibling before requesting money. You could also give a directive as to what your sister can and can't bill the family for, and the level of care mom receives on a daily basis. I don't know what this "caregiver" is doing all day, but I would imagine it's sit around and watch tv. Your mom should have access at least a couple of times a week to outings and a senior center could supply that for less than $60 a day.

    But act fast. I would imagine your sister has already had your mom to a lawyer. If she had the POA changed, all you can do is contest it, the judge won't automatically overturn it, because your mom probably said that was what she wanted.