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Hello. My father lives in Florida and I live in CA. I have POA and have had his bills sent to me for payment. The problem is that he has access to an ATM and seems to be overspending. I don't know how to approach the subject of spending control without setting him on the defensive. So far this month he's taken over $2,000 from savings. How do I explain to him that if he keeps this up he will be out of money in short order without upsetting him. He needs to exercise some self-control but he gets really defensive if I question his spending.

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Ekkie, I would get that ATM card away from Dad. Make up some excuse, say the card got compromised and there is an investigation. But in the mean time, you can write a check to Dad for $100 which he can cash at the bank. If he wants more money then he would need to talk to you and you would feel like you have more control.

I never had any issues with caregivers and money or bank statement left around the house. In fact, it was my Dad's day caregiver [he had 24 hour caregivers from an Agency] who alerted me that my Dad was keeping his checks and bank/stock statements sitting around. She would put them away in his desk. That is when I asked Dad if I could help him with his bills and he said yes. So I dragged home everything related to finances, and changed the address to my house. That caregiver was so relieved when I did that, as she had been fishing current invoices out of the recycling bin, as my Dad thought it was junk mail :P
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If he is not seen as incompetent, it is indeed a difficult thing to deal with. The money is his and legally he can spend it anyway he wants. If he is competent, the conversation is the best way to go. He may not be aware how much he is going through. Maybe in a moment of clarity, you and he can come up with a solution. Probably whatever it is he will fight you on later. But maybe he'll agree long enough for you to put some measures in place that will protect him from himself.
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Depending on his level of dementia you are not likely to convince him of anything. I wouldn't waste my time trying to reason with him. He is blowing the money on god knows what, maybe getting scammed. Use your POA or any possible means to stop his acess to the arm. He'll get mad but that's better than blowing his savings that you will need for his care soon. My father would have blown a fortune had I not intervened a few years ago.
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I will be visiting him in November and will have the money talk. One of his caregivers is certainly benefitting from his soft heart. She was taking advantage of Dad and his wife for years. He adores her and if push came to shove he would willing give her whatever she asks for. I spoke to a lawyer at one time about conservatorship and she said it is hard to prove incompetence. So it can create hard feelings and it could go to the state vs me since I am out of state
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yes this has to be controlled in whatever way possible. i would also find out if someone else like a caregiver or charity is scamming him. Tis seems to happen quite often when trust is inappropriately given. Also consider that someone else may be ""borrowing" his ATM card with out his knowledge.
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It is a lot of work to be POA. And doing it long distance adds more challenges. When was the last time you visited your dad in Florida? Perhaps it's time for you to lay your eyes on him and take the checkbooks with you when you leave. During your visit, you also can go to his bank branch and lower the limit of ATM withdrawals to $20 per day.
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This is a difficult one, since you manage money at a distance. How bad is your father's dementia. If it is mild, you can address the money issue the same as you would a person without dementia. He may get angry and defensive, but he needs to hear the words. If his dementia is serious, so that he is not able to quit spending, you may want to make the money unavailable to him in some way. This may require filing for conservatorship -- expensive, so you have to consider the amount of money involved. Another way would be to transfer the bulk of his money to an account that he can't access and leave an allowance for him. It will cause him to pay a bank fee, but it is better than him draining his account. Of course, you would also have to be on guard against bad checks and credit card purchases. Managing someone's money is not easy if they don't cooperate.
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