When many people in Fort Myers approach the idea of estate planning, they often think about what will happen to their assets after their death. What they don't always consider, however, is how their assets might be sapped before their death if they don't entrust the right people to handle their affairs.
Such is the case, apparently, with a man who lived modestly and resisted any ideas of going into a nursing home. Instead, he gave power of attorney to his companion, who was also a nurse. By the time of the man's death, he had been mute and bedridden for some time. His companion allegedly spent around $2 million on herself and her family as the man lay dying.
The woman racked up expenses such as a trip from Minnesota to California for eight people -- although none of the eight tickets were for the man she was tasked with taking care of. She signed checks for more than $250,000 to credit card companies -- but the man had no credit cards that were issued to him.
In fact, the woman spent more than $2 million in less than two and a half years from the man's checking account. She was ordered last year to pay back $1.6 million to the man's estate because she had paid herself too much for her services. A judge calculated the man paid more than $40,000 per month for 29 months for his nursing care -- a figure the judge said was "grossly excessive." The judge also said the woman had counted more than $100,000 too much to go toward home maintenance over that time.
Source: Star Tribune, "Companion snarled in tangled web over elderly St. Paul man's care," Joy Powell, Jan. 14, 2013