Paula's father turned 96 on December 31, 2008 and her mother turned 85. The situation actually began about 5 years ago, when Paula's younger sister became pregnant with her second child. The sister and her parents came to an agreement that they would lend her $64,000 as a down payment on a house but the father would be listed on the deed and share equity in the house. Furthermore, both parents would live with Paula's sister in Virginia.
That happened for while, but in 2005, Paula's father became ill and Paula, who lives in California, started flying out regularly to see her parents. At one point, Paula, her parents and her sister had a meeting with an attorney to discuss legal and financial matters. Paula says she had an uneasy feeling from that meeting and alerted the attorney to her concerns, however there was little he could do about it.
Paula says she was worried because it seemed that her sisters (there are 2 sisters, one older than Paula and the other younger) were too eager to get their hands on their parents' money. Paula's father asked Paula about having Power of Attorney, but Paula said at the time that she was uncomfortable doing so because she lived so far away and did not want to be doling out money when she didn't know what the money was for. So, Paula's father went to Paula's sisters for Power of Attorney.
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"On one of my visits, my older sister [who lived in Connecticut but made sure she was in Virginia whenever Paula was] was heading out," Paula says. "I asked her to pick up a newspaper for my father and she said he could read an old one. I told her that he shouldn't have to read an old paper and I would pay the quarter for today's paper but she wouldn't get him one. I thought she was cheap, but later, when I told a social worker about it, the social worker told me it was because my sister didn't want him to know what day it was. She even made it so that it was never convenient for him to watch television—any time he wanted to, she came up with something else for him to do."
Paula's story continues in part 2, tomorrow.