Hi all, I'm not even sure where to post this, but bear with me ;) So, my father has borrowed about $1000 from me in the last year and recently said that he could pay off some lingering debt and asked me to cosign on a risky loan for him. He has, until recently, been pretty lucid and honest with me so I opted to take a personal loan for myself and loan him the money on the condition that he deposits $120 into my account every month, which he has been doing. However, yesterday, my sister called and told me that the reason he was meeting with her in another room (while I was there) was because he had talked her into sending his account number (via cell phone camera) to a "loan company". The loan company turned out to be random people, some were even landlines, my sister said - and one person was angry. I have power of attorney, but don't have a copy of it and I suspect he would get suspicious if I asked for one, since he was trying to keep this a secret from me. I'm supposed to meet with my sisters Monday night but I'm not sure what his financial situation is, if he is doing this - and I'm also not sure how our meeting can do any good since none of us knows what to do. My youngest sister (who he asked to scan his checks) lives with him and is in a bad position now. We don't know what he is liable to do with his finances now that he has done this. Also, he has been having trouble following my conversation with him for a couple of days and has seemed rather inconsistent with his spending habits (first as if he is broke, then has money, then broke again, with no change in income evident). I'm genuinely at a loss for what to do but if I do nothing, and he continues to give out his account number, he could be evicted - as could my sister. But she told me what happened in confidence so I don't know what to do next - Thanks, Josh

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He maybe online gambling, and you should also check his computer. Maybe sister can check out his bankbook while he's asleep, sneaky, I know , but you have got to find out where this money trail is headed! So scary! Good luck! You may have to have thet sit down, 2 on 1!
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Failed to consider the medical aspects of your father's behaviors. The signs could be symptoms of a stroke, or mini-stroke, called a,T.I.A.
Call your sister right away-what has she noticed? Google the signs and symptoms.
I don't have enough info, but considering age, diagnosis, something more than age-related decline is likely to be going on. As adult children in the dark about what 'getting old' looks like, we sometimes miss the signs of real illness that needs immediate treatment.
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Another huge red flag: " and one person was angry".
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Secrecy, borrowing from peter to pay paul, infusions of money-now you have it-now you don't, and a parent borrowing from their children:
All red flags of the behaviors of A GAMBLER!
I can say this because have lived it before my father died, but was not involved with POA.
It is also a red flag for other serious issues, one can only guess, but you should find out.

As POA, it is your business, imo. 1) Before you withdraw from POA, have sister come clean-it appears she wants you to know or something, or she would not have confided. However, the cat is out of the bag and he knows you know since you asked him to open a new account. He may have been a victim of identity theft and is supremely embarrassed and ashamed. Seniors are vulnerable to this.
2) Then, from Dad's home, you or sister call one credit reporting company and have a report sent (hard copy) to the home.
3) Sit down with Dad to discuss whether he still wants you to be POA or assign someone else. You have more power at this time than you realize. It lies in the loan you gave him. Banks and lending agencies will call in the loan, due in full when a problem arises. You can ask for an accounting to determine his ability to pay off the loan in the future, or, as a prospect of lending more (you won't), you review his finances and credit report now.

If there are other issues, such as family enmeshment, narcissism, alcoholism, then my advice would be different. More towards withdraw from POA, run, protect yourself, and do not co-mingle finances.

Is there a reason you don't give his age or diagnosis? Was the POA a part of routine financial planning; or because he was soon going to need your help due to dementia, alzheimers, or other conditions causing cognitive decline, such as parkinsons, maybe diabetes, senility?
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Just a quick thought on texting of a photo ID and blank checks...if your sister has access to the account, I assume she's already contacted the bank and alerted them to the possibility of fraud?

Although I agree with your overall decision, the results of accessing his bank account would be a real mess.

This is dangerous enough that I would certainly encourage her and you if you're willing to tackle this subject again and challenge him. Stand your ground!

This kind of behavior needs to stop.

Sometimes we have to tell our parents that if they want us to continue assisting them, regardless of the level, they need to understand that we need to be listened to and our opinions respected.

BTW, check your PM in a few minutes.
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Josh, I think you have a very mature attitude toward your father's situation. If he won't cooperate, you would only become more frustrated by trying to help him. I can't help thinking though that I already feel sorry for your sisters, and that they're probably going to need whatever support they can get from you.

In the back of my mind, though, I keep wondering if something else is going on besides the stubbornness.

This is revealing, but I haven't sorted out the ramifications yet:

"This giant lapse of judgement is a sudden change, however - if you don't count the loan he was trying to get me to cosign for. "

Am i correct in interpreting that (a) asking you to cosign isn't a behavioral change, but that (b) lapse in judgment is? If so, then has he relied on you in the past to assist him financially (a) but not displayed poor judgment (b)?

Give me some time to mull this over and I'll respond to your answers later.
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Nasmir, yes, normally I would agree - I didn't even want to get involved.
He involved my sister in the monumentally irresponsible act of texting photos of his ID and blank check to perfect strangers (plural) and today got angry when I recommended getting a new bank account so he isn't wiped clean. He has involved me by sharing bits and pieces of his finances with me - enough to get a loan from me and he involves me with his looks of worry and despair when he needs money. This is manipulation pure and simple and I'm simply going to revoke POA and walk away. There is no sign he would be willing to work with me on anything with his finances in the future at all.
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Oh, I almost forgot - there's the issue of my sister telling me what happened because she wasn't supposed to and she lives with him at his apartment. So, if I confront him at all, I'm naturally getting her in trouble. I have my own place.
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4. I don't live with him, not sure why it said that. No, he lives with my sister and she helps him with a small portion of rent and a few utilities.

5. I don't know anything about his finances, I haven't needed to until this point.

6. The money issues somehow seem to be getting worse, while his bills and income stay the same and I can't account for this. This giant lapse of judgement is a sudden change, however - if you don't count the loan he was trying to get me to cosign for.

8. Approach your father with a nonthreatening attitude - he is very stubborn but I'll try that. I'm wondering if he doesn't comply, if there is nothing I can do, like if he insists that everything is fine or even worse, says that its 'his business'.

10. I wasn't aware there were trust/manipulation issues until he talked my sister into sending out his bank account number while I'm in the other room.

12. I do know for sure that I am power of attorney as we went and had the documents signed/notarized together.

13. I understand what you're saying about compliance, luckily my sister and I have only complied once each, but no longer now that we know there is a major repeating issue here.

Thank you for the wonderful answers! I'm a little unclear on PoA though. If he doesn't cooperate with me, and I have a copy of the Power of Attorney, what can I do if he doesn't want me to think there is a problem? I really appreciate the time you took to write that answer, thanks.
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Follow the money.
Scritinize the persons involved in "secrecy".
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Well, once again the post got away from me and there are comments that should have been edited out, but alas, there still is no edit function. So just ignore the errata from that last paragraph beginning with "I emphasize" to the end of the post.

Another concern is that he asked you to co-sign a "risky" loan. This raises red flags, a lot of them, both for the alleged need for the loan as well as concern for his legitimate need for financial assistance, and lack of concern for your own financial situation, which could be jeopardized by him if he fails to repay the loan.
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There are a number of issues here; I'll try to answer them by category:

1. Immediately, call one of the 3 credit bureaus and put a 90 day fraud alert on his credit. I assume you have his SS no? Also, put fraud alerts on you and your siblings' credit files as well, just to be on the safe side.

This will stop new credit from being issued. You can also put a longer freeze on your files, but at least do something ASAP to prevent credit from being extended. I have a suspicion that until you all get together, you won't really know how many people have enough information with your father's "account number" to commit fraud.

2. You'll receive an acknowledgement (should be from each of the 3 companies) with information on getting a free credit report. Order all of the reports and review them carefully. I've found errors every time I got mine. But I suspect there may be some unwanted surprises that you'll have to deal with.

3. I don't know what specific "account number" you refer to. But cell phones aren't secure, and to send an account number to an apparent group of unknown parties is risky and actually irresponsible behavior.

I'm not going to address SS fraud, if that is the number he's sharing, which I suspect it is. If so, you have another level of potential fraud to deal with. But first, get these fraud alerts placed.

4. I think it's time to put a stop to lending money to your father. Your profile states that he lives with you. Ignoring the issue of whether he's helping you financially to care for him, there should be limited expenses that he incurs for house maintenance, etc. I assume you're paying these.

5. What is your father doing with the money you've lent him, and why does he need another loan?

6. I suspect either he's not managing his finances well or there's some cognitive or other issue involved. Is this a sudden change or is it a pattern of behavior?

7. Inventory his financial obligations, determine if you can why he needs money and what he's using it for, and establish a budget for him. (This is easier said than done; I have the feeling he's used to pressing you and your siblings for money and would expect to get it.)

8. Approach your father with a nonthreatening attitude - you want to help him with his finances and eliminate the most likely stress of trying to balance what funds he has. You can add that you want to make sure he's well taken care of and has money for the things he needs the most.

9. If none of you have access to his checking and perhaps savings accounts, suggest that you go to the bank, sign new signature cards, and allow you access so you can help monitor his funds. Gradually you can take over paying his bills to ensure that they're paid. I have a suspicion they're not current.

10. You're going to have to get a copy of the POA or DPOA to determine specifically what your authority is. If you think your father would be "suspicious", I think there are some serious trust and probably more manipulation issues involved than are apparent.

If he wants you to handle these tasks, he has to provide you with the underlying documentation. Period. No ifs, ands or buts.

11. If you have any idea when this was executed, check his checking account for payments to an attorney. If you don't have any idea, but have a family attorney, contact him/her. I haven't checked recently, but Oakland County hasn't previously required registration of POAs or DPOAs.

12. If your father doesn't want you to have a copy, you really can't provide competent financial management until you know what the parameters are. In fact, do you really know for sure that he's named you as proxy?

13. Is your father an immigrant? I ask b/c from descriptions of how he seems to get what he wants and you and your sister comply (including with a very unwise advice to send personal information via cell), or dominated, that he has an "old country" attitude - father knows best. I've seen this in distant relatives. The father controls and dominates the family, and the adult siblings are still treated in some ways as children, expecting to support father but not require change or compliance.

This is NOT a criticism; it's an observation.

14. You live in a city that in my experience and in the past (and probably still does) have good outreach support for its elderly community. Farm. Hills and Novi do as well. They also have good programs through the libraries. There might be some adult ed/community ed courses on financial management, or elder care, or even some support groups that could help your family.

I emphasize that I'm not criticizing you, but am sharing my observations as I see them through your written words and from reading "between the lines."


I sense that you and your sister aren't standing up to your father; that's not a criticism, just an observation. That has to change.
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Josh, how old is your dad? Do you think he has cognitive decline or has he always been irresponsible?
The unfortunate thing is that unless he has been deemed incompetent he is free to put himself in financial ruin. I'm glad you protected yourself by not co-signing his risky loan. If he should find himself homeless there are some protections in place for vulnerable seniors, many less for competent young adults so you need to help your sister to protect herself as well. Make plans for what you will do if the worst happens, until then I think your hands are tied.
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