Question: I have just discovered that my sister, who has our dad's power of attorney (dad has advanced Alzheimer’s)and control over our mom's finances (also diagnosed with dementia) has given herself and her son over $20,000 in personal, undocumented loans from our parent's retirement savings, over the past five years. I ran a credit report on mom and dad and learned she has also had dad co-sign a college student loan. On top of this, she is charging mom's household expenses to mom's Visa, then writing checks for the purchases to herself. She is claiming that this is what mom wants and to stay out of mom’s personal finance. I see this as stealing. What do people do in this situation when someone has POA and claims they are in charge, but are abusing their parents?
Dr. Amy: This is a tough situation and, sadly, I hear many stories like yours. The idea behind a power of attorney is for a trusted and honest person to take actions to benefit the person needing care. Your sister cannot make financial transactions to her benefit unless this is expressly stated in the power of attorney. I encourage you to talk with an elder care lawyer to get specific guidance on how to proceed. Good luck!
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