Our mother is 89 years old and relatively good health. My dad passed away 2/2016 and my older sister moved home due to losing her job. She now takes care of my mom although my mom is in assisted living. She has said to my mom “spend all your money” My dad left her with 3 million dollars that he worked extremely hard for. My mom is spending the money like crazy. Trips , dinners out all to the benefit of my sister. My brother is in charge of the financial matters along with my mom who is still competent. He sees the money being spent. As far as we know the will has not been changed and is distributed among the five surviving children and if any of us pass away our share goes to our children. We are nervous that my sister is plotting something with my mother. Due to my sisters passive aggressive behavior she has alienated herself from the three siblings that live close by. Anything we can do before something bad happens?
ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:
The 3 million dollars is your mother’s to spend as she sees fit. While your father worked hard, I am sure that she did as well with 5 children to raise. She is fortunate that at 89 she is competent and can still enjoy herself. She may choose to leave more money to one child than another. She absolutely does not have to save money in order to leave an inheritance to her children. I am reading the post as your mother goes on the trips and dinners with your sister, not without. If she is accompanying your sister, this is not likely elder abuse. If she is making gifts to your sister, then it still may not rise to elder abuse. Your mother would need to be incompetent. However, if at some point in the future your mother needs nursing home care she may need to apply for Medicaid. With the five year look back, those gifts will disqualify her from receiving benefits unless your sister can refund the money. You should have your mother consult with an elder law attorney.
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