My sister spent virtually all of my dad's money when he was sick...what do I do

@babs6219 (153)
United States
December 16, 2006 5:15pm CST
Hi! I recently found out that my sister, who took care of my dad after his fifth stroke, went through all of his money. In the year she had him, she went through about twenty five thousand in savings, and his $2100.00 monthly retirement benefit. He's n a nursing home now, and they needed some financial records ( to assure that he can pay for his room, since he doesn't have long term care insurance), so I went to the bank for him. I have a power of attorney, but my sister was on the account with him, so that she could pay for his presciptions, his copays, his share of their living expenses, etc while he was with them. He has less than ten thousand dollars left and I don't know how to handle it with her. She refuses to discuss it with me, and has even taken money out after he went into the home. I had her taken off the account, so she can't do anymore damage, but I don't know what else to do! Criminal charges? Telling everyone in the family, including our other sister? My sister and her hub just had a baby, and I know they don't make a lot of money, but I never saw this coming! Any ideas?
6 people like this
62 responses
@Darkwing (21588)
16 Dec 06
I think you should talk to all your family, together, at the same time, and find out what their feelings are on the subject. If you have power of attourney, then make it clear to them that although you love your sister, you don't condone her taking all this money from your father, and that you are contemplating talking to a lawyer about it... preferably the lawyer who holds, or signed your father's will. I'm sure he/she will be able to help, but I fear you will have to bring criminal charges on your sister, for breaking your father's trust in this way. It's very difficult because your father put her name on the account as able to draw from his account, without putting a limit on what she drew. If he had put a weekly limit on there, it may not have happened but that's said with hindsight... as you say, the damage is already done. It may be that the courts can put an order into place that your sister repay the money in installments, and that, if your father passes on, to continue to you, as executor of the will. But, I feel the only way, is to make your intentions clear to your family and then discuss the options or possibilities of reclaiming the money with a lawyer.
1 person likes this
@babs6219 (153)
• United States
16 Dec 06
That's a great point! One thing we do have in our favor, is that although we didn't have a written contract, we sat down with our other sister last year when my dad moved in with my sister, and they both verbally agreed to a sum of five hundred dollars a month for his living expenses, plus he would pay his medical bills, prescriptions, etc. Thanks though for all of the great responses to this, you're all very helpful! Bobbie
@Darkwing (21588)
19 Dec 06
I'm glad I triggered that memory and could be of help. :-) Maybe when you get the whole family together with your sister and her hubby, you could gently draw that verbal agreement into the conversation, and ask them why they felt the need to exceed it and break their agreement with your dad?
@onesiobhan (1330)
• Canada
16 Dec 06
You really need to talk to a lawyer. You may be able to force her to produce receipts for the money she spent or pay some of it back, but you really need to get legal advice.
1 person likes this
@babs6219 (153)
• United States
16 Dec 06
Thank you for the response!
• Australia
17 Dec 06
yep take her to court and i would tell the family what she did is wrong and people have a right to know that the cant trust her with money and near there wallets what if she does it to someone else in the family? and you knew she was bad but didnt say anything?
@SplitZip (1490)
• Portugal
16 Dec 06
That's a tricky situation. But I would kinda have to say... do all of the above. Or at least talk to other people in your family. They might have better advice than strangers who don't know your family at all.
1 person likes this
@arqam2 (74)
• Pakistan
17 Dec 06
i agree with u .... coz discussing with family members especially those who r very close to both u n ur sister is much better than involving strangers who dont have any idea about ur inter-family relationships
• United States
17 Dec 06
Legally she needs to produce reciepts for every expenditure. If she was caretaking him she can be allowed reasonable expenses and compensation. But there still must be a reciept for such expenses and caretaking expenses. Consult an attorney in your state, as laws differ somewhat from state to state.
1 person likes this
@gabs8513 (48716)
• United Kingdom
16 Dec 06
Ok you will have to talk to your other Sister about it and then decide what you are going to do about it If you are deciding to take it further then consult a Lawyer but I think your other Sister has a right to know about it to I really hope you can get this sorted out
1 person likes this
@soldenski (2504)
• United States
17 Dec 06
You did not mention but, does she get any wages for taking care of him? Is she the only one who take's care of him? With paying for medicine, doctor's appt. living expenses, how far do you think that money would go? I would not mention anything to anyone, not even the sister who took him into her house, took care of him, she most likely took him to doctor appt. and basically did everything for your father. Maybe you should just, Thank her, for taking care of your dad. It really upset's me, I know what she was going through taking care of a parent. I take care of my mother seven day's a week, no vacation pay, nothing!!! I work over forty hours with her, and I don't live with her, so I have to go to her house. If one of my sister's ever questioned me about what her goes to...I would probably punch her in the face!!! Another question...why take over your father's responsibilities now, that he is in a home, you should have done them after his fifth stroke, then you wouldn't have this problem
• Australia
17 Dec 06
Are you serious???? You would expect wages to look after your own father??? They had an agreement for his expenses and I am sure she took advantage of the roof over her head aswell... Your mother took care of you all her life, did she ever complain about not having vacation days. Seriously, this upsets me. You dont want to care for your mother anymore??? send her away, you obviously dont care. As for the original post? well I am not sure there is anything you can do seeing as she didnt steal it, she had her name on the account. I would still talk to as many people as you can, but in the end legally I dont think there is a thing youcan do about it.
1 person likes this
@soldenski (2504)
• United States
17 Dec 06
Hey ladycroft, don't be absurd. That is not what I am saying...that she need's to get paid. What would it cost for an aide to come into her home and care for the dad? Atleast $1000.00 a month. Who better to care for you then your children. I really don't care if it upset's you...what do you think I had to do...I quit my job to look after my mother...I get no help, did you hear me, no help from my sibling's. I take care of all her need's every single one of them. You have not been in my shoe's or this person's sister's shoe's. If the poster did not like what the sister was doing for the dad, she should have stepped up to the plate and took care of him.
@soldenski (2504)
• United States
17 Dec 06
Oh yeah, and don't tell me how I feel or care about. I'll tell you, that I don't care what you think about me and my view's about taking care of my parent.
@Sunset50 (1397)
• United States
17 Dec 06
It is called elderly abuse, financial exploitation and is punishable by law. Take her to court.
@babs6219 (153)
• United States
17 Dec 06
Thank you! I have to wait to call the attorney till tomorrow, so this was what I was looking for. I thought it was, but it's nice to get another opinion. Thank you again for your input!
• United States
17 Dec 06
My question for you is You have POA so why was she on the account? Why was she performing POA duties? If you have POA for someone YOU are responsible for there finances. This situation could bite you in the butt. Just becase she took it does not remove your responsibility. Yes you do need to consult with professionals and most of all be sure to cover your butt. For the future if you are going to continue being POA you must live up to the responsibilities that going along with that. You are correct in that the facility will look at financial records going back possibly on what state you live in 3-7 years. The 25,000 will be seen and questioned. I wish you luck in this situation as it will be a source of great stress to you. When you can look here for possible ways to relieve stress and good luck! http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/437738.aspx
@babs6219 (153)
• United States
17 Dec 06
No, actually, I am not responsible for his finances. I can take responsibility for his finances, but I am not solely and exclusively responsible for them. I appreciate your input, and I can see you mean this all kindly, but I have lived up to my responsibilities. I have paid bills that came my way for him, taken care of him medically, and arranged all of his medical care that he needed. The implication that I should have done more for him is a little ridiciulous and offensive. Again, thank you for your input and your time. Happy Holidays!
@b3n0it (1)
• France
17 Dec 06
I am really sorry for you... I you council to carry the business in front of the courts if she wants nothing to hear, it is best to do...
• Belgium
17 Dec 06
I'm agree with you
@drumm1n (500)
• India
17 Dec 06
thats one crappy daughter! today i cant believe kids would do such things to their own parents! its disgusting , i can imagine her husband to be such a lowlife to do something like this! the best way is to humiliate them, give them what they deserve, tell evryone in the family what they have been doing all this while!putting you father in a home, whats wrong with you people?
@babs6219 (153)
• United States
17 Dec 06
My dad's had six strokes. He requires 24 hour care, including dialysis 3 times a week, as of a few weeks ago. He is combative, and unable to assist with his own care at all. He can no longer be cared for at home, and that's why he's in a home. There's nothing wrong with me....he was kept at home much longer than most families would. He's acidentally injured me several times over the years. I appreciate your input and yor opinions, but I didn't ask for, nor do I require virtual insults on a very personal, very painful decision to put him in a home.
@bryelee (452)
• United States
16 Dec 06
I don't think there is more you can do. The best thing was to get off of the account. That's just wrong what she did! I would tell others in the family what she did so she doesn't take money from anyone else.
@babs6219 (153)
• United States
16 Dec 06
Thank you! She acts like it's no big deal, and why do I think she have gone hungry while he had money? Bobbie
@StarBright (2799)
• United States
19 Dec 06
It sounds like your sister was having difficult times and your father’s timely visit to her home was the answer to her prayers. She may not want to talk about it because she is embarrassed to be in that position, especially with your father now needing special extended nursing care at this time. On the other hand, she may be one who is selfish and self-centered and thinks she deserves more for taking care of your father. You have to be the judge of that. You did not say whether or not you knew of her financial situation at the time she took on the care of your father. No matter what, if you pursue this with an attorney, only the lawyers will win. Your family will be torn apart. It seems your father had about $50,200 between his savings and pension for the year. He now has $10,000 left over. Your sister verbally agreed that $6000 was enough money to take care of your father in her home for a year. That leaves $34,200 unaccounted for, which morally should have gone for your father’s medical care, prescriptions, etc. By the time each of you hires an attorney and this mess is sorted out, your father will have passed on, you will have missed a few years of watching your nieces and nephews grow up and there goes all the love between you and your sister. Rather than looking back, accusing and hating, enlist your sister’s help. Even though she may know all the facts, lay them out on the table as if you and she were hearing them for the first time. Look at the situation with a fresh eye. Talk about what you can do for your father. You may be surprised at what comes out of your meeting with her – after all, she has been the primary caregiver for a while. If what you suspect is true, then accept that she made bad choices and you may never see that money again, forgive her, and move on together so you can take care of your father as a family. Also know that when there is money involved, you may not be able to trust your sister to handle it – but she can be there for love and support.
@Kylalynn (1773)
• South Africa
17 Dec 06
Talk to a lawyer who will see this from all different angles. He will be able to advise you what to do.
• United States
17 Dec 06
If you are that concerned then you need to know what the money was spent on. She should be able to itemize what and when the money was spent. I don't know if there is anything you can do legilly, that's what lawyers are for. You might want to look into seeking profession help for that. As for telling the rest of the family. That may or may not be a good thing. It might make your sister fess up to any wrong doings and every thing go back to normal. It could also go the other way. It could make you look bad for snitching on her without any real proof. You could be alienated from the rest of your family. So it could go either way. Good luck
• Nigeria
17 Dec 06
well your sister does not really have a good attitude towards the family she should be talked to... she is human and she still remains your sis.. if not take her to court..
@cindysjth (148)
• United States
17 Dec 06
Since she was on the account to use it also along with the father, there is probably nothing that you can do about the money. Oh the horror! Since you have taken her off of the bank account now, then the bank account will be fine and no further money spent without reason. Perhaps do a credit check or something or demands receipts for the spent money. The money he had in savings verses the money he has left in savings is a big difference in financial amounts. You don't want to cause family problems by making a big deal of this, even though it is a big deal because it's about money and savings, and that could affect his credit score. Credit scores don't really matter in a nursing home, but it would in other places. A credit score is a finacial way to see maybe where the money went, if she spent money shopping or buying things in other ways besides checks or cash money. A credit report would show what she might have used credit cards for to shop or buy things, meaning who whatever was purchased was bought for, herself or the father. Spending money unwisely isn't a very frugal thing to do. Being thrifty and saving money is better. But sometimes people see huge amounts of cash and just go hog wild spending and shopping. If she didn't have a lot of money to start with and just had a baby, it's possible she saw this and gold coins flashed in her eyes and she couldn't resist the passionate call of the cash. Spending is a passion for some people, and family matters just don't come to mind when those dollar signs are popping up. Good luck!
@barran (1)
• Canada
17 Dec 06
Turn her in to the police,after all it is your Father
@pclloh (249)
• Brazil
17 Dec 06
beatles - beatles
I think you should talk to all your family, together, at the same time, and find out what their feelings are on the subject. If you have power of attourney, then make it clear to them that although you love your sister, you don't condone her taking all this money from your father, and that you are contemplating talking to a lawyer about it... preferably the lawyer who holds, or signed your father's will. I'm sure he/she will be able to help, but I fear you will have to bring criminal charges on your sister, for breaking your father's trust in this way. It's very difficult because your father put her name on the account as able to draw from his account, without putting a limit on what she drew. If he had put a weekly limit on there, it may not have happened but that's said with hindsight... as you say, the damage is already done. It may be that the courts can put an order into place that your sister repay the money in installments, and that, if your father passes on, to continue to you, as executor of the will. But, I feel the only way, is to make your intentions clear to your family and then discuss the options or possibilities of reclaiming the money with a lawyer.
@tildy12 (760)
• United States
17 Dec 06
Wow that is really sad,you should contact a lwawyer because she should face criminal charges for what she has done .
@kawillow74 (1417)
• United States
17 Dec 06
If her name was on the checking account will you be able to do anything about it, I don't think you can I hope you can not I really don't think you will be able to. I would contract a Lawyer to see if anything can be done I wish you the best of luck you never think family would steal from there own family. Or anyone else in that matter.