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How Do We Keep My Father-in-Law from Giving Money to His Home Health Aide?

  • May 27th, 2015
Q
My father-in-law lives in Indiana and has contracted with a home care agency to provide daily home care. We learned yesterday that he gave $3,000 to one of the women who cares for him so that she could buy herself a car. He has also bought her some clothes. He is 82 years old and in bad health. We also learned that there were some inappropriate texts from the caregiver. Are there laws against caregivers accepting large gifts? Should that be in the contract that he signed with the home care agency? Does he have recourse to recoup the money he gave the caregiver to purchase a car? The caregiver is not related to him or the family and is an employee hired to provide care. 
A

We cannot answer all of these questions from afar, but in general if your father-in-law is competent, he can do what he wants with his money, just like you or any other adult. If he is not competent or is losing his capacity, there may be ways to get money back or to penalize the caregiver. But the cost of doing so through private means may well exceed the $3,000 lost so far. If there is an organization that provides protective services for the elderly in his community, the organization may be able to take this on at no charge. More important, we would recommend taking steps to prevent additional money from being lost. If your father-in-law is competent, this will depend on his being willing to share control of his financial assets through a durable power of attorney, trust, or joint account. If he is not competent, the family may need to seek court-appointed conservatorship over his finances. In either case, an Indiana elder law attorney can help with these steps and probably answer your questions. Again, the best thing to do is probably to take steps to prevent further loss. Here is a directory of attorneys in Indiana: http://www.elderlawanswers.com/indiana-elder-law-attorneys

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Last Modified: 05/27/2015

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