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POA - misappropriation of funds

Sassi

New member
Aug 8, 2020
2
Hi
My mother recently died after having lived with my sister for 10 years. My mother had dementia and my sister was her carer and had POA. I live overseas and would fly over a couple of times a year for my sister to have a vacation.
Now that my mother has died and it is time to settle her estate I find that the money which was in my mothers account ten years ago is still exactly the same amount today. My sister had told me that she had invested it to get the best return but there has been no increase in the amount. Also my mother had been receiving her UK pension, a private pension and also a foreign pension, and again none of this has been deposited into her savings account.
I had no problem with my sister taking a wage to care for our mother, or charging our mother for room and board at her home, but I do feel disappointed now to find that my sister has been taking all of our mothers income for her own use. Prior to my mother moving in with her my sister had said that she (my sister) had very little money in the bank, but over the years she has been able to buy two new cars, a new car for her daughter, done renovation work on her home, and has just given her daughter 50,000 pounds as a deposit for a house. They are now looking at selling their current home and buying a house that is for sale at over 150,000 more than their current property. My sister and her husband are both retired!
So I just don't know what to do. The lawyer has the will and is dealing with the estate and I don't feel I can broach the subject with my sister as she is the only family I have outside of my husband and children. I don't really know what to do. But I do know that through her entire life my mother always made sure that we were all treated equally (my brother died 10 years ago) and that she would be disappointed to know that myself and her grandchildren would not benefit from her will in the same way as my sister and her one daughter.
I just don't know what to do, if there is anything I can do.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,338
Without access to all mothers paperwork, going back many years, there is not a lot you can do.
To challenge the Will now will be very expensive, probably out-weighing the reduced amount you will get from the current estate.
My advice would be to take what is your share, do your best with it for your children, take the good memories of mother, and get on with your life, which need not include your sister, or her family.

Bod
PS 10 years of Dementia care is very expensive. To have 14 day holiday, could cost £3000, on top of the holiday, just for bought in Care for mother.(Who would not be able to come with you, such is the effects of Dementia)
 
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Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
950
High Peak
To add to what Bod says, I don't think there is any way you can sort this out (or even look into it more) without falling out with your sister permanently, so you need to consider that.
She looked after your mum for 10 years - that's a heck of a long time and your mum appointed her as POA. I would agree with you that it looks like she has used most of your mum's income during that time but proving that would be nearly impossible. Caring for someone is very expensive and as you say, you were happy for her to take a wage (how much?) and household expenses (again, how much?) If you have some idea of your mum's income then deduct the legit payments for your sister, you'd get a better idea of how much 'extra' she has taken for her own use. Then you have to decide is you want to challenge her about it.

I think you'd have to go to the OPG and tell them she has misappropriated funds (which she definitely should not have done - POA must not benefit from the donor's money) and that could/will lead you into expensive court action. Probably the only ones who would benefit would be the solicitors. Same if you challenge the will on the basis that your sister has already had more than her fair 'share'. And you might lose.

Think very carefully before taking any action. I can completely understand your disappointment (I would be livid!) but it may well be too late to do anything now and will certainly destroy your relationship with your sister permanently.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,689
South coast
Did your mum have carers to help her, attend day care, have the occasional respite?

I doubt your sister would be able to look after your mum right up to her death without help and your mum would have had to pay for all of these things, which is expensive. Ive just started getting in extra help for OH because I cant cope on my own and Im discovering how expensive it really is - I get a carer in for just an hour a day 5 days a week and it costs £500 a month. Once he starts going to day care once a week that will be another £250 a month. Respite is £1,000 a week upwards. Many people find that they use not only all their income, but their savings too. The question that is obviously worrying you is whether your sister used funds over and above to help her family.

I suspect that you will never get to the bottom of it, even if you get someone to investigate it and without concrete proof the Office of Public Guardians will not be interested. Its probably best to just let it lie.
 

Sassi

New member
Aug 8, 2020
2
Thanks for your responses, I know that I won't actually do anything or talk to her about it, it's just I'm feeling sad about everything and I don't have anyone I can talk to about it.

In February my mother was classed as End of Life and so assistance was available without any cost. Prior to that my sister would only have someone come in on very rare occasions as she didn't want to pay out for anything. So no carers, respite or day care. Her holidays were when I flew over to care for mum for four weeks every year (my vacation time from work). So I know there were no big outgoings for her care. It's just that when mum was living in her condo near me for 12 years and I had POA and was doing all her errands, doctors, hospital, etc, I didn't even ask for gas money for the car trips, never mind anything else. So now to see that there is only the money from her condo sale in the bank and nothing else, well, it's a bit depressing.

I guess I'm just sad, it's not that long since mum died, because of COVID I couldn't fly over to see her, so it was only video calls, we didn't have a proper funeral, so the same as so many other people, I'm feeling like everything has gone to pot

Ah well, thanks for listening.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,689
South coast
Ah, I see.
Personally Im amazed that your sister went on for so long with no help, but it certainly looks suspicious.

Yes, Im not surprised that you are sad and Im guessing that your relationship with your sister has gone now too.
 

hooperswan

Registered User
Dec 22, 2016
57
I'm sorry to hear that unfortunately a parent with dementia can bring out the worst in some family members that can't wait to have a larger home seemingly paid for from the sale of mum or dads home or large extensions and holidays and some times those parents are then carted off to a home,it can be utterly shameless.Todays elderly were the generation that saved and were careful with their money and some of their older chidren are feckless and want a champagne lifestyle without their own money or means to support it.
Some of these people hold on to the purse strings very tightly so mum or dad go without,all so they have a larger inheritance.
 

Beth24

Registered User
Oct 6, 2019
35
It is a difficult one, but if your Mother had been in a care home she could have been paying £25,000 upwards a year some are nearer £50,000. Any pensions/capital would be very quickly used up.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
690
I realise I am not always as sharp as others but this makes no sense to me?
My mothers income is £14.300,00. Net
This includes two pensions, investments, attendance allowance and the state pension.
Other than a small amount it gets spent!
Insurance, power, carelink, food, mending the boiler etc etc.
I try and make sure mum wants for nothing, but we are not extravagant !
(Nothing for me)!

I think I would need to understand the level of wealth we are talking about to really understand?

Bare in mind your sister could have had a lottery win she wishes to keep quiet. They could have a long term investment that has matured.

I understand grief causes a raft of emotions, but to have these feelings about your sister is so sad.

Another point to think about is some Carers on the site feel they have ‘lost’ a decade of their life. You have not experienced that, you had been free to live your life as you wish.

@Beth24 makes an excellent point about care costs.

I wonder about finding some type of councillor and really taking this out. If it’s left to fester I just think you will lose even more.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
690
Also one other though!
My aunt, a pensioner has just taken out a new mortgage, she just pays interest only ( very low at the moment) when she dies the amount she borrowed will be repayed to the lender.
If all the cars were purchased on credit, this debt could be wrapped into the transaction, leaving your sister with shiny new everything for not much money every month.

I just so hope things can be sorted to allow you both the happy relationship you deserve.
 

prittlewell

Registered User
Jan 28, 2020
36
Assuming your Mum had dementia for 10 years or so, she would have been fairly ‘with it’ in the early years. Who is to say that she did not tell your sister to take the money? I have a friend whose father favours one brother to the other, as he is aware that one does everything for him, the other lives a distance away and only visits once a year.
It may be your Mum was behind some of this ‘gifting’, but your sister found it difficult to tell you....