How can I have complete control over mom's checking account?

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My mom has bounced checks consistently for over a year now. By the time she gets her monthly SS check she is at such a minus that it just snowballs into the next month. I want to put money into her account this month and start her fresh. But she won't stop writing checks, paying stuff over the phone with her debit card and drawing case out of her account, all of which like a domino affect, puts her in a minus for the following month. She has no assets or income other than her SS check. With very strict monitoring she can make it. I want complete control of her checking account and give her an allowance every week to live on. How can this be done?

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Gosh we all are saying the same thing. The therapeutic fib is a good idea and definitely talk to her bank about the problems and opening a new account.
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Some questions - Do you have POA financial? At what stage of dementia is she? Was she always financially irresponsible or has this coincided with the development of dementia. Does she pay her bills or do you look after that? Would she resist giving you control of her finances?

What some others have had to do was take away all cheque books, credit cards etc. With dementia I doubt she will stop doing what she is doing and you can't reason with her. Some have set up a separate account and credit card with a very small limit and small amount of money in the account for personal use which satisfies their parent. Te loss of control of their life is scary to an elder.

I was fortunate in that my mother had a year of making some errors in her finances but nothing serious. She was showing signs of dementia e.g. paranoia, thinking people were stealing from her when she has misplaced things. Fortunately she recognized that she was in trouble and sent me all her cheques and credit cards and told me to take over. I already had been appointed POA and was in touch with her lawyer regarding when to step in, so it went relatively smoothly.

Other than that I think you have to have guardianship to have that kind of control, but unless your mother is designated incompetent you would not likely get it and it is an expensive process.

Good luck!
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I see that freqflyer and I were typing the same thing at the same time. Must be good advice. :)
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Do you have a POA? The easiest thing to do would be to close the account and open a new one. Get rid of the checks and credit cards and give her an allowance.

The more expensive and difficult way would be to file for conservatorship. This can be very expensive if she fights it, though, and is a bit of a pain since you have to submit annual reports to the probate court about how the money was used. They will only grant a conservatorship if it can be shown by doctors that she is incapable of handling her own business.

The first way is far better. I hope you can find a way to work with her. You may not even have to open a new account if she will willingly surrender her cards and checks to you.
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I was able to take over my Dad's financials but he was ready to hand it over to me to manage as he didn't want to deal with it anymore. I did have Financial Power of Attorney, so that made it easier.

Take away Mom's debit card and take away her checks... tell her everything had been compromised, maybe identity thief [it's called a "therapeutic lie" which we sometimes have to do to make our elders do what is best for them].

Now go to the bank and set up a new account that also includes your name so that you can sign Mom's checks for her.... the bank will explain the different ways this can be set up.

Giving Mom an allowance is a great idea. Tell her that is what needs to be done until this identity thief is all cleared up. Usually elders have heard about this on the news and they take it seriously.
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