Elder Abuse

questions & answers

Question: Can a caregiver take money and valuables from their elderly clients and can you provide legal precedents for same? Also does this law also apply to power of attorney?

Answer: the patient may legally give a gift to a caregiver, and the caregiver may accept. (However, many agencies have rules that prohibit their caregiver employees from accepting gifts from patients.) A competent patient can write out his or her own checks; the caregiver should never sign the client's name to checks. If the caregiver is the patient's legal conservator, he or she would have the right to write checks on the conservatorship estate accounts only. The holder of a durable general power of attorney may write checks with the bank's consent. A mentally competent patient may give a caregiver money to buy groceries or supplies for the patient, but the caregiver should carefully document his or her spending and be able to account for those monies. If the patient is not mentally competent or if competency is questionable, the caregiver should not use client/patient money unless the caregiver holds a valid, durable general power of attorney or is the guardian/conservator of the patient. Even then, strict accounting is required to ensure the caregiver is spending all of the funds on the patient for needed items. The above is pertaining to gifts, and general maintenance. If a caregiver is taking property without permission, then this may be an issue of theft. Contact the police to report the lost or stolen property.

QUESTIONS

  • Can a caregiver take money and valuables from their elderly clients and can you provide legal precedents for same? Also does this law also apply to power of attorney?

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