I need suggestions to help my mother from being taken advantage of with her finances.

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My father recently passed and my mother needs assistance with her finances. Unfortunately, we have some unsavory family members who will attempt to take advantage of her and her finances. Please provide suggestions for how I can assist her or how I can limit the amounts she is able to withdraw from accounts. She is open to the idea of adding me to her accounts and she has also identified me as the executor of her estate. Thank you!


You should visit an attorney and have her Power of Attorney document drawn up. Also have yourself added as a signer on all of her accounts. This is very important; do it soon!
I'd simplify and streamline all banking so that everything is within 1 bank if it's not that way now. The bank needs to have 24/7 on-line viewing so that you can look at what's happening on a regular on-going basis. I'd have the account(s) in her name and under her SS# but with you as the POD (pay on death). This is good if she should die, then the account goes direct to you and can be used by you for funeral & burial expenses or whatever else without it going into her estate and within probate. You should be a co-signer on the account. Whether or not you are co-owner on the account, really should be discussed. Personally I wouldn't do it as co-mingling of account is a problem with Medicaid accountability which maybe she will or won't need later on but better to plan ahead for that. I'd go an meet with a bank officer to have all this done and have a relationship established. You never know when you'll need it.

One big thing with recent widows is that they seem to think they need to do "something". If she is fine financially, really just keep on doing what is the usual to give her time to adjust and figure out if she wants or needs a change in her lifestyle. If she is the type that worries about the $ just sitting there, do short term CD's so that at least they are making some pitiful amount of interest BUT this could be good because if they are in CD's then the $ isn't there for family to access at all easily. Like for example, say she has a worthless nephew who wants her to invest 10K, she can really truly tell him she doesn't have the $ as it's totally tied up (in a CD) and hopefully and eventually he'll give up and go away to work another family member for $.

You probably need to update her legal since her husband has died. If their wills were traditional, it was such that they were each other's successor with everything going to the other. Now that can't happen, so mom should think about doing a codicil to her will to change or update her wishes. Within this she lists you as her executor/executrix. You might want to think about who would do it, if something were to happen to you.

Also if they had life insurance policies, they probably were each others beneficiary, so that will need to be changed. It's alot to consider and each person's situation is different, I'd suggest meeting with an elder care attorney to go over stuff to see what missing and update. The bank officer will likely have names of attorney's or if they don't they will contact an office in the trust department who will definetley have a couple of names. Updating and reviewing legal isn't all that expensive and you want to make sure all is done correctly.Plus if you anticipate things getting ugly or there will be a family member who is just going to be a problem, you will have an attorney all ready in place. Good luck.
is it a conflict of interest for my aunt who I have been the sole caregiver for 3 yrs. to give my cousin her sisters daughter POA and then change the life insurance policies to be benifit to her and her sister? 1 more thing my cousin lives in the UK and has had a law degree and maybe passed the bar in another state but has never practiced Law after graduation some 5 years ago. This was her mothers idea to help my dear old aunt on the cheap. The other day her mother my cousins mother came to start updating ? but we had a emergency that morning so she left it on the table. Well my aunt sister also started coming over because of the 911 but stopped by the house 1st. while their she was able to read some of the book that was not for her eyes even while the mother was here preparing for conferance from daughter in the UK. When my aunt discharged shortly thereafterr 6hrs of waiting at the hospital as good caregivers do we returned home. Her sister was here but never said anything until she got home and she called her screaming at her how she was cheating her 5 children with the minor entries in the will. My aunt has not been the same ever since that day now a week of gloom and saying she just wants to die. Hard week for her and I feel like I am nothing bit a fool for being pushed around like a dumb servant I am. I do everything on the ground here 24/7 Do I smell something wrong here. And when my aunt told me what happened I had to reply and asked her was that private that big book portfolio will estate info? or open to your sisters snoopy eyes. She said yes and cried.
what can be done if you have helped your married kids financially with money and credit card purchases,and they lied about paying the bills now the bills are in clooection,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,im only living on my social security
Minpin -
It's not a conflict of interest unless they are acting as the lawyer. Is your aunt "incompetent"? If she agreed to change the POA and beneficiary, she can do that. If they pressured her to do it, she should get a lawyer and change both documents to what SHE wants. It's so disappointing when family is so devious and selfish, but it happens all too often.
Do you mean that you gave your children money to pay YOUR bills and they didn't pay them?

I think you would have to go to a lawyer or small claims court or the police to make them pay you back. Talk to your local council on aging or legal aid society for free advice.

If the kids didn't pay their own bills, then they should have to deal with the consequences themselves!!! How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child.
I Have found a senior bill paying service for my mom (91)and father-in-law (95) that keeps them straight and lessens the time burden on my wife and I. Also covers them with Lifelock ( identity protection ) that was helpful with my father-in-law.
Look into independent sr. bill paying like I did. Everything is paid and no family hassles.
Please tell your mother not to sign anything at all (unless she reads it, understands it, and agrees with it), especially if a notary is present, as unsavory family members could try to change beneficiaries, etc. to their advantage. Sometimes an unsavory family member may say to an elderly person, that this document "needs to be up-dated" and a trusting mother/father may not even read it. Many unsavory relatives/siblings view hijacking an inheritance as an easy way to get money.

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