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Need to have POA for gifting explained. My sister has Financial and Gifting POA for my parents, both are elderly.

La Habra, CA |

I found some of my parent’s bank statements. In the statements I notice some checks that my father had pre-signed a few months ago while he was still able to sign had cleared his account, these check were written out to my sister with a note at the bottom that it was a gift. The day before my father passed away she wrote one for $85,000 to herself as a gift other checks were in the ranged of $6,000 to $8,000 over a one year period of time. I think that she is either keeping the money or hiding it in order to acquire Medi-Cal benefits. Does this sound right legally, she won’t let me do an audit of our parents account or show me the POA’s but she does have them recorded with the banks. Where or how can I get a copy of her Financial and gifting POA’s, we are dual agents on Health care POA. She does not know that I have seen the statements and cancelled checks. How can I get disclosure on this issue?

Attorney Answers 2


I believe it is intended to mean that the Attorney in fact may make such gifts to charities and others as your parents would want. Considering the size of the gifts she is giving herself you should see an attorney ASAP. Considering the sums involved, the possibility exists your sister might be wasting the estate and not meeting her feduciary duties.

I am licensed in New Mexco and Pennsylvania, and therefore any discussion of issues related to other states must considered within that context. In addition, my comments are not intended to create a legal representation but merely to respond to the limited facts presented in the question. A more complete legal areview can be obtained through local counsel.

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Your sister's behavior at first blush sounds inappropriate. This may be financial elder abuse or on the other hand it could be part of a legitimate plan to acquire Medi-Cal benefits. You should discuss this matter with an elder law attorney and discuss the matter with both your sister and your parents. In my opinion transparency is critical here and the lack of transparency on your sister's behalf is very disconcerting.

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1 comment

Marty Burbank

Marty Burbank


Given the numbers involved it looks like it might be fore VA benefits planning. Was your grandfather a Veteran? There 85K gift is troubling if your grandmother was ill. But is she was realitivly health the day before she died, wtih no expectation of death then it might be liget. The thing that gets a lot of people in trouble is relying on a power of attorney that does not actually grant the authority they think it does. Quite often, (almost always) where a power of attorney is not drafted by an elder law attorney the gifts are limited to less than $13,000 and restrict gifts to the agent under the power of attorney. If you would like to come in January we could look at your case. If you are in a hurry, i would recomend Dan York who is also in Fullerton, and is an excelent Elder Law Attorney.

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