Your parent has spent the last year in a nursing home. They have become close with the care workers. You have met these individuals and generally liked them, feeling that they were doing a good job taking care of your parent in these final months of their life.
Then your parent passes away and you notice some strange account withdrawals while going over their estate. It turns out that they were giving gifts to the workers at the nursing home. Is this allowed?
Most nursing homes prohibit it
Generally, this is prohibited and should never happen. There are some cases when very minor gifts may exchange hands, but nothing that should raise any red flags or show up on a bank statement.
If your parent was giving large cash gifts, you have to consider the possibility of undue influence. This often applies to wills, and it may be discovered during probate when it’s clear that the will was influenced in a way that benefited a specific individual. In this case, though, the care workers may have tried to get around these issues by influencing your parent to give them the money early.
Even if there were changes to the legal will, don’t assume that these are any less fraudulent. Just because the will says that money should be left to an aide doesn’t mean that it’s legal. Many will contests involve siblings, but they don’t have to. An outside party who has made their way into the will, at the expense of your family, could be just as guilty of undue influence.
If you do notice evidence of this type of behavior involving a vulnerable loved one, you need to know what legal steps to take to protect the assets they left behind (and potentially recover the ones that were taken).