Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Conservatorship is too hard

So my spouse is on the other side of the country to retrieve his mother and bring her to the East Coast to live near us. The place is no Riderwood, but it is better than where she is now. Riderwood is a $7K plus a month retirement home, it is beautiful and we know a couple who live there. Where mom is going is 1/2 the price and a little shabbier, older, and smaller.

After attempting to care for his mother long distance for a little over a year, we decided to engage in the nuclear option of bringing her closer to us because the power of conservatorship is mixed and sometimes a weakness.

In order to legally take her out of California we had to go through the courts. If it weren't for the conservatorship we would have had her on a plane earlier. Yes, you have to ask the state permission to relocate your relative if you are their conservator.

The other problem was that some places did not really acknowledge the conservatorship, like Medicare and Social Security. The conservatorship was issued by the state, Medicare and SS are federal programs and they have their own forms, which seem to require an elderly person to sign....WTF?

The bank also was no help. Supposedly my husband was made temporary conservator in May but could not stop his sister from continuing to drain their mother's accounts, including $20K that we were hoping to use to move her to better care facilities. The bank dragged their feet, and she had enough time to inflict more damage. Why? Because he had to spend time proving to the bank that he had the legal authority to do so.

The pension also dragged on too.

Conservatorship is not a magic wand.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Nope not done

Despite being approved by the court as my mother in law's (MIL) conservator, my dear husband (DH) her son, does not have the paper work for all the organizations that DH needs to talk to on my MILs behalf. Someone, either at the court or the law office failed to check another one of those pesky boxes and so more delays.

In the meantime......
Kaiser Permanente Central Cali customer service and billing continues to suck. They keep sending bills to my MIL when my DH has told them over, and over, and over again that he should get them. The bills upset her. As they should because her thieving daughter my sister in law (SIL) decided to put MIL's medical bills on a spending plan that was secondary to her own spend like a crazy person plan. Last I heard the bills were about $2000. In January 2016, my SIL managed to spend $16,736.48 of my MIL's money, about $4000 of that on my MIL. In February, she spent $15,288.90 of my MIL's (her mother's) money with about $4000 going to the care of my MIL. In March it was $16,216.12 and April it was $23,359.03, with about $4000 each month to cover the cost of housing and care for MIL, because in January16/ December15, my MIL ran away from my SIL and was placed in what I'll call old people prison where all she does is watch TV and wait for G-d. So my MIL's money was used to support my SIL in the 3 bedroom $3,800 a month house designed by the Sopranos. In all that between the many trips to 7-11 and the Uber rides, my SIL seemed to be unable to do the main thing she was given access to MIL's money to do, PAY THE OLD LADY'S MEDICAL BILLS!
So, we will be paying some of my MIL's current medical bills from the money we earn from the jobs we have. Sadly, what my SIL did not syphon out of my MIL's retirement will be eaten by legal fees (getting the conservatorship) and other bills that sadly my MIL is on the hook for. My MIL's current care is $200-$300 more than her pension and that does not cover medications, medicare, and other sundry needs. That, along with some of the money to pay the lawyer, will be coming out of our savings, and that is why I'm pissed.

So we wait for the updated conservatorship forms and paperwork. In the meantime my DH tries to figure out how to get MIL's medications to her, and how to get her transportation so she can get some clothes and a haircut. It doesn't help matters when the locals still use my SIL as the contact person regarding MIL's care. This mess was allowed due to signing some papers with a notary. We have to go through a whole court system with expensive lawyers (never gonna see that $5000 again) and DH still isn't recognized.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Hey your sister is a thief

"Your Sister is a thief"

It brings me no joy to tell my husband this, but I fear, even after what she has done, he will retreat into denial.

The reason why we are involved in this is because he wanted to protect his sister against Adult Protective Services and the ghost of their step-dad who hated my Sister in Law (SIL). That was before we knew she was lying to us. That was before we knew she was sucking their mother dry. That was before we knew she was using their mother's money to pay her child support, which then made us question who has custody of the kids.

Their step dad, or more accurately their mother's 2nd husband, was a grumpy miserable bastard who died. When he was alive he was verbally abusive.  He threatened to shoot my SIL. He threatened to hit my husband. I think my husband is still mad at their step-dad and doesn't want to prove him right. A broken clock is right twice a day.

We have 4 years to bring charges. I hope he files them within year one or two.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why file charges

We have told several people about the financial elder abuse my mother in law (MIL) suffered at the hands of my sister in law (SIL). Roundabout SIL stole $100K. We have the bank statements and a few check images. My dear husband (DH) is still trying to clean up the mess with credit cards and unpaid medical bills. A few have said let it go and don't file charges against SIL, but there are a few reasons why we should that have little to do with revenge or trying to hold SIL accountable.

1. Medicare clawback- MIL still has some assets that were not easily liquidated by SIL we want to protect those and ourselves from a noncaring state or federal government. We've all suffered enough, I don't want this to bite us in the butt if MIL dies in the next 5 years and we need to use Medicare for nursing care because they'll want their money back and so far the stolen money is a "gift".

2. Establish MIL as a victim. We will need to rely on some resources because the cost of nursing home care is more than what my husband makes in salary.

3. Taxes. Yeah they weren't filed because the SIL didn't. There are tax consequences of SIL's actions that MIL will have to bear.

4. CYA- We need to show that we weren't party to SIL's actions. Which includes her failure to pay MIL's medical bills which put MIL in a situation where MIL (who has diabetes & Parkinsons)  was denied care. SIL nearly killed MIL because we could not get the meds MIL needed due to the loss of Medicare.

We don't care if SIL never sees the inside of a jail cell. We know she can't repay what she stole. We just need to protect ourselves and MIL going forward.

Lies, Lies, Lies

This was written 7/22/16. I will post this later when I am free to do so.

We know what we know from the bank statements. I requested 2 years back, so I could see Mom's spending habits prior to sister in law (SIL) taking over Mom's care. What I saw was crazy spending under SIL's care for things obviously not for Mom. There is so much I could write about on that but this is about the lies.

Last night I decided to grab DH's phone to look at the text messages between him and his sister. He had to resort to text messages because her phone calls to him had devolved into one sided diatribes about how the world was against her. He could never get a word in, so he texted. The texts are a lot of her texting one message after another of the same crap about how the world was against her and how he was an awful person. I did a "dramatic" reading of the texts, with occasional commentary, on where the texts clashed with reality, or we talked about what we now know to be lies.

She lied about the $10,000. In her texts she said she had no clue what that $10,000 withdrawal was about. The statements show that the money was taken out of one account in April when DH was just getting the lawyer. It was transferred to another account that had Mom's name on it and from that account Child Support Collections took the money in May. In her texts she plays dumb. SIL wrote that she had no clue why the money was taken out.

That $10K will probably be the straw that will convince DH to file some sort of charges against SIL, maybe. He keeps changing his mind, but reminding him of it gets him steamed.

I should mention all of this year, Mom was not living in the same house as SIL, but Mom's money was paying for SIL's housing as well as her own, totaling over $6000 a month just for rent. Someone else was taking care of the day to day needs of Mom so beyond paying her rent there was no legit reason for SIL spending Mom's money.

There were the texts when SIL was asking DH for money, well 1/2 his paycheck. Looking at the bank statements and her texts, we are so glad we did not give her one red cent. That's when we all were going by Adult Protective Service's lie that  the accounts were frozen. But that's for another post.

During my reading of the texts I reminded DH that he did not know then what he knows now. Reading the past few months back to him made him realize his sister played him like a fiddle with the guilt trips based on lies. She could because she apparently knows her brother, who is a pushover. He felt guilty for judging her in the past and wanted to make up for it by giving her the benefit of the doubt and defending her against Adult Protective Services. He's still torn. He loves his sister, but he is hurt by her betrayal and boldface lies to him and Mom.

From January to June SIL managed to spend down over $60,000 of Mom's money, leaving her with barely enough to cover her care. She covered it up with lies. Lies, lies, lies.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

PITA factor

I was listening to a podcast and the speaker was a woman who was/is a foster & adopting mom and she was reflecting on one of her special needs kids. The school system was supposed to have all these programs for kids like hers however she said had to aggressively advocate for her kid to get those programs and helpers and whatnot.


Ditto for old people in your care.

So quick recap. Sister in law (SIL) stole money from my mother in law (MIL/ mom), gutted the investment accounts and almost wiped the checking accounts clean for her own use leaving just enough to cover 1 month of residential care for mom. My DH has been going from crisis to crisis trying to care for his mom from 3000 miles away.

DH has had to try to advocate for his mom from institutions that are supposed to help her on her behalf, but those institutions have been less than helpful in some ways. We suspect SIL sucked up mom’s monthly pension payment and the pension people have been mind-numbingly stupid, unhelpful, slow, difficult to reach, and somewhat unresponsive. He’s been trying to work with the bank and the contacts he’s had seem to have made him a low priority so are slow to respond. Kaiser Permanente, normally they are super awesome with their service, have proven themselves woefully incompetent in certain other areas.

My DH default is to believe that everything will work out, sadly that’s been his undoing, because it doesn’t work out and creates a new mess that he is not skilled to deal with. The situation is forcing him to be the advocate for his mother and well he sucks at it. Not because he is a bad person, he is a very good person. He is a sweet man. But he is horrible at being his mother’s advocate because he expects Kaiser and the pension people and the bank people to be her advocate too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Seeking help from my elders

My mother is one of 1/2 a dozen kids my grandparents had.
Grandpa died early, before I was born.
Grandma lived into her 90s.
My grandparents were black Carolina sharecroppers.

My mother in law (MIL) who we are trying to help and care for is none of these, a white woman with a teacher's pension, and two dead husbands.

Grandma's daughters got the hell away from her because Grandma was a difficult woman. Her sons, after doing the war (Vietnam) came back to the area and helped watch over her after her second husband died. Growing up I knew Uncle G and Uncle W handled her day to day affairs and took care of their mother, my grandmother. For 20 years she lived in subsidized senior housing and then after a fall and other health problems went into rehab and died.

Telling Uncle G of our situation and asking how he cared for "Mother" it seems they kept it simple. He had no idea if one of the other kids had a Power of Attorney. He assumed Aunt J had it, no when I called her to confirm what Uncle G said. He handled "Mother's" bills from an account that was in his name only and it helped that grandma had no money as a poor retired sharecropper. He and his brother got her to the doctor and checked in on her. Despite grandma being a difficult person who I don't think was all there..... but then I am probably being classist and an educated snob against her, getting things done was a matter of just getting her to agree. How did she get out of the apartment and into rehab? Uncle G claims grandma was talked into it and one of the aunts handled the paperwork. I just have to figure out which aunt because Aunt J says she didn't have POA or was that involved, but then again she has a selective memory.  I'm discovering all the girls have "selective memories" even my mother.

If I were to use my Uncle's way of care as a model my DH would have to believe his mother could do more. Yes there is plenty she can't do with her various conditions but she can technically still sign things.  However we have the problem of her being on the other side of the country. We might have to talk about bringing her here.