How can I find out if my brother is misappropriating Mom's money?

9 answers | Last updated: Sep 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother lives in Las Vegas Nevada and I live in San Jose California. My brother lives in Las Vegas and convinced her when she moved to Las Vegas that for her safety she needed to open and account with her name and his name. She was later was diagnosed with mild Alzheimer. My brother admitted her into and assisted living home without my knowledge. I now believe he is misappropriating the money in her account's. How can I check on this? There was no legal conservatorships requested. Most important how can I check on her accounts?


Expert Answers

You are in a difficult situation. Not only do you have a conflict with a sibling over a parent's money, that sibling lives where your mother does, and you are hundreds of miles away.

I know of no easy way you can check on your mother's accounts. If she were competent, she could choose to allow you access to her accounts, but it's far from clear that she's now competent to do that. And even if she were competent, she would have to want to do it.

I take it that you have asked your brother for information about your mother's accounts, and he has refused to give it. If that's the case, your options are limited. You could threaten to file a lawsuit against him, on grounds that he is misappropriating your mother's money. Perhaps a threat would be sufficient to make your brother reasonable. But if a threat didn't work, then you'd have to decide whether you actually wanted to file a lawsuit. Before deciding to go ahead with a lawsuit, you should have some evidence (beyond suspicion) to support your case. Also, you'd have to decide if you were wiling to pay the attorney's fees required. As you undoubtedly know, lawyers are not cheap.

You may be facing a case of "elder abuse," which are, unfortunately, not rare these days. Elder abuse is not something I know much about, beyond the fact that it can be a problem. Perhaps you can find some organization which provides assistance in cases of possible elder abuse. I do not know of one.


Community Answers

Gary ware answered...

We recently had to handle a situation like this. When our mother died, we discovered she had allowed brother to clean her accounts, max every credit card, and wrote thousands of dollars in hot checks in her name. Mother refused to let us know what he was doing. Brother died soon after Mother and left us with a mess. Try to get control before too late.


Pollyjuicegranny answered...

In my situation, it was reversed. Both my parents were not able to cope on their own. Everyone all knew something must be done for them, but did very little, as they lived farther away. I am the second child with 5 other siblings. I now have a checking account with my Parents and my name on it to pay the bills from their account. I became the social security representitive for both of them, and their checks goes into this account. No one wanted to take on the responsibility for the care and finances. So, I made room for my parents in my home for the last two years.. My siblings complain about me as well of how I'm stealing the folks money as well for elder abuse...so I'm not empressed with your complaints about your brothers intentions. If you feel your mother is not cared for, or her money is misused, stop complaining and visit her, at the assisted living home. I'm sure most her funds are going there to care for your mother. It isn't free, or cheap. You should feel grateful your brother stepped up to the plate..


Blanche katz answered...

Every suspicion of elder abuse, whether it's physical, emotional, psychological, or financial, should be reported to the local police for investigation. Some communities have a special unit that will be responsible for the investigation, only. The advantage is that what is happening at the moment will be documented. If, in the future, there would be more substantial information available, it will be added to the information. Maybe then the offender will be put on notice and stop the abuse. Educating the elderly that once they have given their Power of Attorny, they have the option to withdraw it. They will be in a better position, legally, to take the power back and give it to another person that they trust.


Pollyjuicegranny answered...

I also feel all forms of elder abuse should be investigated. In my case, my siblings called protective services to my home. They interviewed my parents, they saw my home was clean, safe, and my parents were well nourished. This was all after 2 years they were already living with me.. So, I'm sorry...I feel some complaints are not always justified, and it's usually about money. They only have Social Security and a VA Pension. Thank goodness... I kept a monthly record and documentation of expenditures, and I sence obtained legal advice after this latest incidence. Our folks don't want to stay a a care facility, and I can provide everything they can living here, and it drives my siblings nuts...they are very welcome to visit, but they won't. PS: Adult daycare is a great option if you are a caregiver, who still works outside the home by the way.


Stop complaining answered...

This woman is in an assistant living facility. They are private pay only. So most of her money is going there. If Brother used some of her funds then he should be entitled even if the mother never lived with him I'm sure he visits her, takes her to appts and HE is the one the mother counts on. I feel the siblings who leave the the care giving solely to one person simply because they live close to the parent should not question anything as far as I am concerned. I took care of my mom's sister (who had no children) and now my mother. Mom lived with me for 6 years. A 3 or 4 day a year visit does not constitute any involvement from the family members who do not live around me.. My mom has demetia and had to recently have surgery. She is in skilled nursing, soon to be sent to the long term wing. I can not emotionally do it anymore. 6 years of no vacation, 6 years of cleaning, laundry and cooking to make sure she ate right. Let's see lets take 72 months (6 years) x $4500 (low cost of nursing home) and that equals well over $300,000. This woman needs to stop complaining and be thankful she had someone do her share of the care giving!!!!


A fellow caregiver answered...

Hellooo, yes, I totally am with the others who mention to stop complaining about the brother who is caring for mom. some children are far away and do not even bother about parents and only worry about how money is being spent on. its an emotional exhausting task to see the loved ones decline. Be thankful for the people caring for the parents and if you so desire..leave everything and be with ur mom or dad 24*7 ad then u will know what it is. my prayers for all caregivers. Regards.


Caring youngest son answered...

My situation is also reversed from what you are experiencing. My father is soon to be 88 y/o and has progressing Alzheimer's for 2+ years now and I live with him as I have been disabled for 12+ years myself. I'm aware of what has caused the dissension amongst my 2 siblings, one of whom lives right across the street with her husband. I have been accused for several years of "stealing from"and "threatening to kill" my parents of whom my mother passed away last year. My health improved slightly over time to the point that I could care for my aging parents by tending to their health needs by scheduling their appointments, preparing their medication (and mine), driving them anywhere they desired including the numerous doctor's appointments and hospital stays, writing their checks which they would sign (Dad was no longer comfortable doing so) and on occasions preparing their meals and shopping. It was the "36 Hour Days" for me and still. In my mind, they are just very, very jealous and even conniving because the estate of my parents is what they want in my opinion. I'm sacrificing my own healthcare by missing my own appointments as from the past, my own siblings would be the ones who have misled and even gotten my father to "sign" on certain documents which my father had no mental capacity to understand at the time. When he realized what had happened, he became uncharacteristically "mad"! (Dad is normally very calm and reserved... keeps everything to himself so as to not cause calamity) I pray and pray and pray... have sought counsel and accountability from those who professionals, counselors, pastors, attorney's. I'm stressed beyond stress. My father desires to "leave me" most all if not all his estate (I know he cares due to my disability and income), yet I repeatedly tell him to not or I won't allow him to "cash out" his investments. He just came to me to tell me that as I'm writing this. Well, so much for my "rant", but I literally have NO one with whom I can share this with any longer. *sigh I shall continue regardless of all the "stuff" that has reeked havoc on my father and I. My prayers are with ANY caregiver who experiences either side of what has been shared. May God Bless and keep everyone safe for your caring love of those we love. Merry Christmas!


Meme65 answered...

I am reading your posts and see myself in this situation many years ago and still going on! I moved my son and myself to my Mother's home, many miles away, to care for her. My sibbling lived in the same town but would do nothing for our Mother. Now, my brother passed away recently and left with a grudge against mama and myself..because she had given me her home many years ago. His present wife, children and an ex wife, Mom of his children, treated me like I didn't belong at my brother's funeral. His wife, who I had never met, caught me sitting by myself so she tells me that to "make things right" I need to sell my home and divide the money between my brother's children! I don't understand why she is saying things like this to me. I am thiking that he and his ex and children have told things the way they wanted them to appear but not the truth. I've got to let this go and stop worrying about it and so do any of you in the same situation. We know what happened and we are protected by papers our parent signed and wanted. Peace be to us all. Hugs and Love.