My grandmother currently lives in Missouri and I live in Texas. I am not familiar with the Missouri law and am hoping that some of you might be able to help me.
My grandmother is currently in her mid 80's and is recently widowed. The only thing she owns is a car worth about $10,000 and about $2000 in the bank. We have a very distant relative(cousin, by marriage) who is 'helping' her but my mother and I are starting to get the feeling that this relative is just trying to scam my grandmother out of her money.
This relative also lives in Missouri and has convinced my grandmother to give her 'medical' power of attorney. However, this was not done in front of a judge nor was it notarized. Now this relative seems to think that this power of attorney gives her way more control that I think it really does. Correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that a 'medical' power of attorney ONLY comes into play when the individual is unable to make decisions about their own personal well-being.
---Question #1. Is this power of attorney binding since it was not done in front of a judge nor notarized? And if it is legal, how should she go about getting it voided?
Second, my grandmother has about $2000 in a saving account in her own name. My mother's name is also on the account. And my grandmother was under the impression that when she died, that it would go to my mother. This relative convinced my grandmother to also put her name on the account and is now saying that the money is hers. She told us that the money was hers and if she died it would go back to my grandmother. And then it would go to my mother. This sounds like fraud to me... She is also stating that the money is hers because she is paying taxes on it. Being from Texas I am not exactly sure how Missouri tax laws work, but why would this relative be paying taxes on this account when the money is still in the bank? I was under the impression that interest earned on savings account are not taxed until the money is withdrawn.
---Question #2. Would there be any problems or tax issues with my grandmother just taking this money out and opening up another account somewhere else since it is still in my grandmother's name and her not telling this relative about it and just setting up the survivorship again on the new account.
Finally, the car. This relative has gotten the title to this car, which is still in my grandmother's name. And she is refusing to give her back the title. And now she is claiming that if anything happens to my grandmother that she gets the car. Her name is not on the title, but my grandmother does have a notarized letter she and her husband wrote stating that the car would go to my mother if anything happened to them.
---Question #3. Would it be legal to just request a duplicate/replacement title from the state. We were told that since a new title would have a different number, it would make the original title null and void.
We are worried that this relative might be trying to use this power of attorney to try and scam my grandmother out of her moeny property.
I know this is a lot, but any info on any of this would be very helpful...