Paladin Life Care began working for our client "Susan" as her Durable Power of Attorney. The DPOA allows us to manage an incapacitated person's financial and medical affairs according to their wishes if they become incapacitated, as in this case. Susan had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
In the beginning, as I helped Susan with bill payments, we found that in addition to her own bank account, she shared another with her beloved nephew "Bob".
When she and I went to the bank to add me as a signer for Susan's solo account, the bank agent discovered that $14,000 had gone from that to the joint account and was then withdrawn by Bob. The bank agent said he was required to report this, but Susan said no, that she had agreed to give Bob the money. “He is a good boy and needs the money more than I do," she insisted. "He doesn’t even have a kitchen in his small apartment.”
No report was made.
As I continued going through Susan's bills, I found one for a cell phone. This was puzzling because I had never seen her use one, so I inquired. She told me the bill was for Bob's phone. However, she didn't know that she was paying for two phones because Bob had purchased another one while Susan was still paying for the original.
There was also a Bank of America credit card, in which Susan was routinely paying Bob's monthly charges of up to $2000.00.
Bob called his aunt at least once a month to request money. A couple of hundred here, a couple of hundred there. I told Susan that she could no longer afford to pay his bills because she needed the money for future medical expenses. She agreed but still asked if I could give him some money after her bills were paid.
Bob happened to call his aunt one day while I was visiting her and asked for $300.00. I told her that she did not have it to give to him and that I would like to talk with him.
When she handed me the phone, Bob claimed that he came home from the grocery store intent on fixing a nice dinner (I thought he told her no kitchen?) but the stove did not work. He called the management company and they had the stove replaced the next day but charged extra because it was on a weekend. He said that he couldn't afford it.
I told him that his aunt could not help him with this payment. In fact, I was closing the Bank of America credit card and gave him two weeks to take over the cell phone contract or it would be closed as well. He asked if he could first charge a pair of $75.00 blue jeans that he desperately needed. After talking with my client, I said that he could.
However, the credit card bill came in with a charge of double that amount. I paid it and cancelled all joint accounts.
Would you believe that Susan hasn't heard from her nephew since then? No calls. No visits. In four years.
As part of our Life Care Plan for Susan, we accomplished our goals of stopping the financial abuse, getting her bills in order and securing the proper medical care. In a way I wish Bob was still in her life so I could ask him to pay some of those bills.
Today Susan is in a memory care facility going through the middle stages of dementia. The other day while I was visiting her, a special moment occurred that makes my job so worthwhile. Susan patted me on the knee and said, “I don’t remember your name, but I do know you will take good care of me.”
Tears came to my eyes.