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My wife has a friend who lives in Missouri, and has power of attorney over her mother, who cannot take care of herself. The mother is in some kind of assisted living home in Missouri, and just got approval for Medi(caide? Care?) to pay for the housing.

The friend has a tenuous relationship with her mother, who turned a blind eye to a lot of (unreported) abuse that the woman suffered from her childhood on. The mother is pretty toxic when it comes to how she interacts with the daughter. My wife witnessed firsthand a couple of instances where the daughter brought deodorant or shirts for the mom, and then the mother would complain about her not visiting, or getting her things.

The friend has her own medical issues and has a limited amount of what she can own, so she set up a trust with my wife as trustee.

The assisted living has threatened the daughter with legal action, saying they're going to file elder abuse charges if she doesn't give them all the money that's in this trust, check fraud, and that the daughter should never have had power of attorney.

Do they have a leg to stand on? What actually constitutes elder abuse in the state of Missouri?

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According to the Missouri DHSS Elder Abuse may include:

  • Abuse – the infliction of physical, sexual, or emotional injury or harm including financial exploitation by any person, firm, or corporation (192.2400, RSMo).
  • Neglect – the failure to provide services to an eligible adult by any person, firm or corporation with a legal or contractual duty to do so, when such failure presents either an imminent danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the client or a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm would result (192.2400, RSMo).
  • Financial Exploitation – A person commits the crime of financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person if such person knowingly and by deception, intimidation, or force obtains control over the elderly or disabled person's property with the intent to permanently deprive the elderly or disabled person of the use, benefit or possession of his or her property thereby benefiting such person or detrimentally affecting the elderly or disabled person (570.145, RSMo).
  • Bullying – intimidation or harassment that causes a reasonable person to fear for his or her physical safety or property and may consist of physical actions including gestures; cyberbullying; oral, electronic, or written communication; and any threat of retaliation for reporting of such acts. (192.2400,RSMo)

(See Missouri Statutes.)

This sounds like an accusation of "Financial Exploitation", but as you describe it, does not seem to fit the description. I rather suspect that there is more to the situation, and I can't say if there is some valid basis for the claim, although the suggestion that "the daughter should never have had power of attorney" seems implausible unless it were asserted that the daughter were not acting in her mother's interests, but was trying to appropriate the money.

The daughter would be wise to consult a lawyer with knowledge of trusts and medicare/medicaid rules -- There are special rules for trusts to be recognized by medicare/medicaid. This is its own specific field of law. I have seen relatives go through this, but I am not a lawyer. In any event, specifics will matter in such a case.

  • That's along the lines of what I was thinking - they do have an attorney that set up the trust, though she's currently out of office. There may be some other circumstances I'm not aware of, but it seems an awful lot like this housing company is just trying to get their hands on the whole trust. It's not a lot of money, but it's more than zero, and a lot of the tactics I'm hearing sound shady as heck. – Wayne Werner Oct 22 '18 at 23:45
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    There are some circumstances in which a nursing home is entitled to get a resident's total estate, in return for a promise of lifetime care. I have no idea if they would apply here. – David Siegel Oct 23 '18 at 0:00

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