Do we need to give his mother the money if we knew it really is for her unemployed son? 18 Answers as of July 18, 2013

My husband is Power of Attorney of his mother. He takes care of her finances. She has Dementia. She lives with a son and his family who are all losers. The son has not worked in over a year. He keeps asking her for money. Weeks ago, she asked us for $700.00 for him which we gave. Now he wants $250.00 more at her request. Do we need to give him the money?

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Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
Read through the power of attorney. Your husband has to take the interests of his mother, the principal, paramount over everything else. Your husband has to take the long-term financial health of his mother into account and not the interests of his brother. Long-term, because of your mother-in-law's dementia, you may wish to go for a guardianship over her and a conservatorship over the money. The probate court would control any payments and your brother-in-law would have to petition the probate court to get payments made to him. This way, your husband can leave everything up to the probate court in terms of the decision making. Please understand that a power of attorney is used to avoid a guardianship and conservatorship but to end disputes in families, the more logical and safest way to handle the matter is to leave it up to the probate court to deal with finances, relieving your husband of making those judgments. Please see an attorney as soon as possible to discuss this.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/18/2013
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
No, you do not need to give him the money. You may not be able to prevent your MIL from giving him money, though. Because of this, your husband may need to get conservatorship. That would also mean you need to get an attorney to assist you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/17/2013
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
This is a very delicate question. If Mom asks for money, her fiduciary probably should give it to her. It is, after all, her money. When you say she has dementia, how sure are you? Is that just an informal sense, or has her doctor formally evaluated her (in most cases, they can't "diagnose" dementia, but can do some tests that tend to show it) and said in writing that she has dementia? If she has dementia medical opinion, really a disease process that causes her not to be able to make good decisions then don't let her give money to her son. She needs to save her money for her own care. But keep in mind that it is her money, and a free American citizen has the right to make bad decisions (how many people do you know who make bad decisions each and every day?). Just because a person is old and making bad decisions doesn't give anyone the right to stop them again, unless there is a disease process that is making them incapable of making good decisions. This has the potential to be a liability for your husband either way decide not to give the money and get sued, or decide to give the money and get sued. One thing if Mom is running out of money and may not be able to pay for care, she may need assistance from Medicaid. If she does, any gifts she has made within five years will disqualify her for a time. Might I suggest that your husband might want to ask a lawyer to review this particular situation?
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/17/2013
The Center for Elder Law
The Center for Elder Law | Don Rosenberg
Not only do you not need to give him the money, you need to understand that for every $254 she gives away she will be disqualified one day if she should apply for Medicaid nursing home benefits within five year of the money she gave. If health declines Medicaid will look back 5 years and this could be disastrous.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/17/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
IF the mother is competent to decide this, you could give him the money. If she is not competent then you would have to decide for her following the terms of the power of attorney.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 7/17/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    If your mother-in-law has dementia, she needs a Conservator to make sure she is not being taken advantage of. If a Conservator is appointed by the Court, the Conservator makes all her financial decisions. Your husband's Power of Attorney does not really give him the authority to make decisions on his mother's behalf.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
    If she has dementia and you have any suspicions about the son's motives your husband should be cautious about giving any money to the son. Your husband, as Power of Attorney, has a fiduciary duty to his mother to use her money for her interest. If it were to turn out that he disbursed those funds in a way that would make her a victim of fraudulent intentions he could be held liable for the loss of those funds. Your husband should try to exercise a little bit of caution to determine what use is being made of his mother's funds and not distribute them if they are not to spent for her benefit.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Not if he feels that if she was fully aware mentally she would not give the son money.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    If this is money that your mother-in-law would have given her other son before she had dementia or if she had a history of providing him with funds, then you're probably obligated to hand over the money. However, if her son is using Mom's dementia to gain access to her funds for his own benefit, he's abusing a vulnerable adult. If Mom is no longer capable of understanding how to handle her money properly, consider petitioning a court to name your husband his mother's conservator. Then he can make the decision about whether to give his brother extra money or not.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    No. He needs to act in her best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    The answer depends on her mental status and the terms of the Power of Attorney. You should visit with an attorney specializing in elder law before proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    The son is probably committing financial elder abuse according to the law of the State of California. Since the mother has Dementia, it is probable she cannot make financial decisions for herself and is being taken advantage of here. So, no you don't have to give any more money. You may need to also protect the mother from the people living in her house. As Power of Attorney your husband has a fiduciary duty to do what is in his mother's best interest and these other family members certainly are not looking out for what is best for her. Please feel free to call me to discuss further.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    This is a complex question, and it sounds as if there is a conservator needs, especially if it is not a durable power of attorney. I need more details for a firm opinion. If you are in Michigan call to engage us with the details.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Your husband is his mother's power of attorney. He is working in her stead, meaning he is working for her in her best interest. If he feels the requests from her are in her best interest then he should give the money to her. Also he must consider if she is in her right mind when she is making the requests.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
    No. Find out what the money is for and make him give you receipts.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    The Power of Attorney you hold, imposes a fiduciary duty to manage the person's finances, as he would his own; if the mother has dementia, then she does not have the capability to authorize the disbursement of her own money to someone else. You have the duty to make all financial decisions on behalf of your mother; so don't be spending on another person, other than your mother, even though she may ask you to do so, as she lacks mental capacity.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    If she has dementia, technically no. That said, you might want to speak with her. You don't want to upset her or alienate her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Since his mother has dementia, she is unable to make financial decisions on her own. Because your husband has power of attorney, he alone makes those decisions. He should not make any further payments. Let the brother go to court to prove that demands are reasonable and necessary.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/18/2013
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