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So, my 91yo dad (depression, Parkinson's) was diagnosed with 'moderate cognitive impairment' in mid April. He's currently in a geriatric psych ward (for the next 1-2 weeks), but, fortunately, I had already gotten health care proxy and POA signed, and my name is on his checking account. We've got most of his finances under control, but I have a couple of questions...
1. Can/should I cancel his credit card? I don't believe he has it in his possession any more. I'm assuming we will need to pay the balance if we do? And how exactly do I cancel it?
2. The good news is that he has longterm care insurance, and I'm told they will be sending him a check pro-rated for the premiums he paid while in the 90 day deduction period. With POA, would I be able to cash that check and deposit it into his account?
3. We established a revocable trust for the house; our elder lawyer has suggested getting bank accounts in the name of the trust. There's only $10K left in checking, so I'm not sure it's worth the trouble--and Dad's got a home equity home loan, and I'm not sure how to handle that.

Any suggestions appreciated...

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There are two separate POAs, one for finances and one for health care. And you will need both - keep copies you can hand to people and keep them handy in a Dropbox account or somewhere you can get to it readily online to fax or e-mail. Besides getting good eldercare attorney help, an important step is to get letters of incapacitate signed by two doctors for dad that serve to fully "activate" the POA so you can handle more of Dad's needs and decisionmaking. I did not actually need those until I had to sell Mom's house for example. They had a home equity loan that just got handled at closing and reduced the proceeds somewhat, and I was also careful to document how I was spending money for care and kept accounts separate. Online banking and accounts are great for all that. Rep payee for SSA matters is separate, but you should be able to get it. I was blessed to never need a guardianship because that is a lot more documentation and reporting required.

Welcome to the steep learning curve.
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I thought a DPOA was a health care POA?
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Thank you Uncle Dave... my siblings want mom to put everything into a revocable trust, but they all want to be the trustee. Mom, doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by making me the trustee/beneficiary. I am the only one here and have taken care of my (deceased) father and now my mom for years. My brother is the one who wants to be in total control, but all he wants is the money. He never calls to check on her, but only to try to talk her into a will or revocable trust. She would entrust me with everything, but doesn't want a family feud to occur. She has given me the house, upon her death, which through my brother and older sister into a tailspin. He was livid. So getting mom to sign anything over to anyone was broken entirely. My other sibling is ok with it, due to the fact of me being here and knowing how mom is being taken care of by me. I have lived here for 25 years. They all live out of state and only come when they want a vacation. Never helping my elderly parents, and leaving everything to me. I am no spring chicken and disabled myself. If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate any or all!!! sorry if I seem to ramble, hopefully, you can understand what I am asking ;)
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1. I can't tell you how many times I have had to fight things out with companies because of my cancelling the credit card. I just didn't want to rack up extra debt at the time. Keep it or leave it or make them bill you for it. Doctors and how they manage payment really sucks.
2. With DPOA you need to take it to all of his places of business like the banks Credit unions. Also carry them with you for the Hospitals and NH, doctors. They will not speak to you unless you have that paper. Hope you have a Health Care POA too. That applies to the doctors and making medical decisions for him too. Make sure they take a copy of yours to keep on file at every place (only take copies with you your original is your s to keep-do not give to anyone!). If you do not have one also get a Living Will or DNR made. That goes everywhere too and if a DNR you need that on file at every place as well.

Do not neglect the Trust nor your lawyer. That is why they are there. Get all of that in order. If the house is not needed and he is private paying then sell it to pay down for Medicaid application. Have the lawyer review that LTC policy too never hurts.

You can say you have DPOA until you are blue in the face but you will need to handle the initial things like accounts and such in person with your ID and the papers present. Ask me how I know this? :-) My dad had three separate accounts... sigh. We combined his into all one account to make our lives easier as they were all across town.
Good Luck to you!
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If I put "Betty's" name on the account as joint owner,can "Ann" still take the money?
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A person is "on the account" aka co owner can clean the account out. Be careful. Be careful that the person is put incontrol of the account and you can loose control/acess. Talk with a lawyer ....
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Acting as POA, Ann can use the money for your benefit even if Betty is a co-owner. If your POA is the "springing" type, Ann would only be able to access your accounts if you have been declared incompetent, thus activating the POA. If there is a significant amount of money involved, you should consult an attorney for a way to achieve what you want.
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If I put "Betty's" name on the account as joint owner,can "Ann" still take the money?
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Alto, as POA, Ann can access any and all of your accounts to use the money for your benefit. The survivor designation does not take effect until after your death. Betty will get the money only if it is still in the account when you die. Ann's POA ends with your death.
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Honestly, once I got everything set up - and switched my moms accounts from Wells Fargo to my bank - B of A, I haven't had any problems and it's going on four years. (((Rain-mom))) knocking wood right now)))
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If you have to worry about the daughters fighting, it might be better to appoint a third party who is independent of both of them as your DPOA. Talk to your attorney about how to insure a fair distribution of assets.
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I have my daughter" Ann" as my power of attorney. She is on my account at my bank.
I have another bank account ( different bank) with my daughter "Betty's" name on it as survivor owner.
Can my daughter "Ann" prevent "Betty" from getting the monies after my death?/ OR even before my death?
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Just remembered another thing, credit card statements. When I first took over the finances for my Dad, I finally found a lot of old statements which I sorted by date... then I noticed numerous monthly credits from various places.

Found some credits had to do with health care premiums, I called the telephone numbers printed next to the credits to see what exactly they were. Ok, two were health insurance premiums.... but wait, health insurance premiums were being deducted automatically from Dad's checking account. Oops. Then I found Dad had numerous credits from AOL, which were legit but Dad didn't need those perks any more as he rarely used his computer.... those were easy to cancel.

Then I found there were credits from some type of discount purchasing club. Say what? Odd that Dad would sign up for something like that. Anyway, the rep was very pleasant and quickly cancelled the membership.
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For the LTC, you may also want to contact your insurance agent that you bought it from. They often can help you out with the benefits so you get what you paid for.
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I found that only some places will take the POA. I had to get a second POA from his bank and another for his investments. But I went joint on his accounts. However, you have to have his sign on and passwords to be able to access the accounts to keep track. Since his credit card was a Chase bank like his credit card then I could only see it by signing in under his name. If you put yourself as POA instead of joint, then you can access it, but I believe at the time of death, you may have to wait until you can access to pay final bills. When we had some fraud on the checking account, I had a terrible time closing the account and reopening a new one, even listed as joint, because he is no longer able to sign in person. (or barely able to sign at all)
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from Googling:
When a grantor dies, the trust acts like a will and the property is distributed to the beneficiaries as directed by the trust agreement

A revocable trust is a trust whereby provisions can be altered or canceled dependent on the grantor. During the life of the trust, income earned is distributed to the grantor, and only after death does property transfer to the beneficiaries. Also referred to as a "revocable living trust".

Typically, a living trust becomes irrevocable (cannot be changed) when you die. A trust involves three parties: you as the creator, the trustee or trustees who agree to manage your assets as directed by the terms of the trust, and the beneficiaries

VS An irrevocable trust is an arrangement whereby a grantor relinquishes legal ownership of property and places it under the administration of a trustee, who administers it for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries.
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any views on a revocable trust?
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{q} Elder Law is the area of law, statutes, regulations and decisions, which impact on the lives of older Americans and their families. Elder law spans and encompasses elder care planning issues, such as access to the appropriate type of medical and personal care, coordinating private and public resources to finance the cost of care, income assistance benefits, taxation, conservatorship, general estate planning, estate and trust administration issues (e.g., wills, trusts, and probate), counseling and planning for incapacity with medical directives, advanced directives and other alternative decision-making documents, as well as for possible long-term care planning issues, including home health care, nursing home care, hospice and respite care.{EQ}

I have personally dealt with elder lawyers, they are not all created equally. Find one who knows your local elder world and state issues. Get one who is not focused on estate and money but on your dad's well being and quality of life.

We lucked out and found one that as a individual stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Nealon & Nealon has a Cape Cod office Located in Mashpee, MA (509 Falmouth Rd) and in Hopkinton. Kathy Nealon (Mary Kathleen) is a wonder woman, IMCO. Kathy has done more for me and my ADW than her predecessors.
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I also kept one of mom's credit card accounts open and I have my name as a co-owner on one checking account. With the credit card, I requested that the available credit be reduced to $1,000. It was a bit of a struggle to convince the company to lower it, and I got several offers to raise the credit limit for the next year or so. The card is used to purchase the personal items mom needs such as incontinence supplies, soap, toothpaste, clothing and also to automatically charge her drug co-pays. I pay the balance each month from her checking account. It greatly reduces the number of checks I need to write and eliminates the need to carry her checkbook in my purse. Mom had the card in her possession when I first took over her finances and had to take her check book, so the low credit limit reduced the possibility that she would fall victim to a costly fraud. Make sure that the card company doesn't attach some sort of automatic credit limit increase to the account. After nine years of this, my philosophy has become to do things in the way that makes it easiest for me. Having my name on one account means that I will be able to have funds available after the POA ends with her death and before I am formally appointed PR.
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Cancel all accounts in his name and put all others in the trust's name. In order to get social security, you will need a form filled out by his doctor making you "Representative Payee" as they do not recognize any forms of powers of attorneys. The line of credit for the home is like another credit card. Pay it.
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rainmom, sometimes if the bank doesn't know you - a good reason to have already established a relationship with them, not necessarily an account, but just going in with your parents, letting them see your face - they'll be leery of the POA, as to how it was obtained, so will want to see their customer themselves and get their signature themselves, and actually with dad's bank, with the original person not knowing me they still wouldn't do some things even with dad taking me in there with him and telling them that's what he wanted; banks are under heavy regulatory authority to watch out for their elderly customers along the lines of familial elderly financial abuse, so they can be very cautious; it took someone else at the bank that knew them better personally that they had talked to about me and then me going in there with my id proving who I was and also being able to talk about the same things, as in where they were from, etc., to get everything accomplished, so, yes, it can more complicated than just having the proper paperwork/POA, etc.
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We are in similar circumstances with my Dad. Mom had tried to involve him in their financial tasks, but he was unable to grasp the concepts involved and consequently my husband and I began helping Dad shortly after Mom passed 10 years ago. At first, he actually participated along with us. Later on he only asked to see balances, but with lessening frequency. Due to his advancing dementia, he is now totally oblivious to anything connected to deposits, bills, expenses, statements, balances, etc. I'm quite sure that it is just as well.
As a matter of fact, 6-7 years ago he started to take some of his coin collection to the bank to cash them in! When he actually closed out his accounts (forgetting about his SS direct deposit), we were lucky that he "fessed up" and were able to open new accounts with myself as joint owner. He then added me to his 1 remaining credit card account (authorized signatory only). And fortunately, we were able to contact an elder care attorney to obtain DPOA/MPOA before it became too late.
This attorney advised us, before it becomes a critical issue, to consider "spending down" remaining assets for things like funeral expenses, home repairs/appliance replacements, safety measures and anything else that might make Dad's home a safer or more comfortable environment. Done!
We also keep additional copies of DPOA/MPOA at the ready for un-anticipated circumstances when that info might be needed.
At this point, with Dad's advancing dementia and declining bank balance, he will be rapidly approaching Medicaid intervention should any additional health issues require care in addition to what we are able to provide and we are confident that there will be few complications, if any.
Although we try to keep a step ahead on medical and financial issues, we find that there are surprises at every turn. It is comforting to know that we are in good company and not alone in trying to keep Dad safe, healthy and as happy as he can be at this time in his life.
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Just remember, Power of Attorney ends at death. So being on the checking account is good, but think - is there anything else you may need to handle that you won't have access to, once the power of attorney is over?
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Adambravo- my experience is that they won't deal with you on the phone until they have a copy of the DPOA agreement - and even then some still won't. So first you initiate action by calling and explaining, they ask you to send the papers and they put a note in your file - after giving time for them to receive and process the DPOA call back. I'm surprise about the bank requiring your dads signature - given that is the purpose of DPOA. I didn't have any problems there - but I did eventually move my mothers checking/saving to the bank I use to make it easier overall. Social Security doesn't recognize DPOA/POA so you should call or go to a local office and get the forms they use that will allow SS to work with you regarding you dad. Tip: I always had extra copies of moms DPOA on me when I was doing her business - just made things easier as everyone wants their own copy.
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Thanks for the suggestions. Kept the card--am trying to figure out how to access the info electronically (it's not sending the password reset code when asked); will the credit card company give me info over the phone if I am DPOA?

As far as the bank accounts, I was told they needed my Dad's signature--and, given his attitude toward me at the moment, I wasn't sure if that was do-able. I will follow up again with the attorney.

As far as the home equity loan, no issues--and, unfortunately, Dad has only about $10K in the bank, so no chance of him paying that off.
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I also agree, keep one credit card for Dad's expenses. I have one card that is under my name that is solely used just for expenses related to my Dad. Thus when the statement comes in, I pay that bill via Dad's checking account where I am a signer. I use to have my Mom's credit card to use whenever my parents needed me to buy something but once she passed the bank quickly cancelled that card. My Dad still has his credit card to use for doctor appointments.

As for putting the bank accounts into a Trust, it all depends on how much money are in those accounts. I didn't do that with Dad's bank accounts as his net worth is in stocks which is under the Trust. I didn't put Dad's house in the Trust as we were going to sell it as Dad wanted to get rid of the house as he moved to senior living.

As for the equity loan, which is also similar to a Reverse Mortgage, it depends how much equity has been drawn out of the house. If at all possible, if Dad has funds, pay off that loan.
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Keep the credit card, but if you cannot find the actual card, report it lost so you can get a new card and ensure nobody else is using it.

My elder attorney says that trusts MUST have their own active financial account. For a trust to be taken seriously and the house is in the trust, you must show that the taxes paid on it and normal maintainance come out of the trust account. Please do not ignore your attorney. Sure it sounds like unnecessary paper work, but later you may be glad you did it. Additionally, you always need a good legal advocate! (He can coach you and BACK YOU UP while straightening all these things out!)
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I'd keep a credit card too. Just 1 to pay for things not covered and it will make it all easier to track for expenses. Stuff is going to come up......
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I'd try to clear the heloc as a priority item....heloc was done with dad on the property not on the trust, so there could be some issues with heloc being called in or out of compliance as the terms have been breached.

I'm surprised you were able to transfer ownership from an individual to a trust with debt (mortgage, heloc, etc.) on the property.
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When I was POA for my father, he had one credit card with about $40.00 on it. I paid the full bill and while under my father's login sent a message stating that he had paid off the card and wanted the account closed. I could have done it with the POA, but found it much easier to go this route. This way, I didn't have to worry about fraud on the card. He had a debit card that we could pay online payments if needed, so there was no need for the credit card. The less to worry about managing - the better.
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I wouldn't cancel his credit card as you may need to buy something for him, particularly since at this point his status is somewhat unclear. You may need the credit card for payment of bills or other things not provided in the care center. And given that your stepmother has cancer, you may also need the credit card if you have to pay bills for the house, even if she's handling them now. (I don't want to be maudlin, but cancer could change her own status and ability to maintain the house).

Paying the card down and off would be the right thing to do, if the funds exist to do so. To cancel, call the number on the credit card statement and tell the customer service representative that you want to cancel the card. If you're an authorized signatory, the issuer should be able to accept that direction.


Since you're joint on the checking account, you should be able to just deposit the insurance check in the account. But do you want to cash it, as in get it in dollars, or do you want to deposit it? I'd deposit it; you never know when the funds might be needed.

Having a trust checking account depends on how the trust is funded, whether it receives regular income, and who the joint or successor trustee is. Given that your father likely wouldn't be considered able to manage the funds, the successor trustee should have signatory authority to open the account (read the POA terms), unless succession occurs only on death.

If there are any funded assets producing income now, you will need a specific trust account for depositing them. We went through that. The bank will want a copy of the trust and ancillary documents (such as Certificate of Trust Existence and Authority). Banks are particular about segregating trust and nontrust funds.

You might find that there are overlaps between your authority as POA proxy and Successor Trustee. It wouldn't hurt to clarify these with your attorney, but if the documents are clearly drafted and funds segregated between trust and nontrust funds, this issue might not be problematic.

The home equity loan payments raise an interesting question. If the house was funded into the trust (i.e., retitled in the name of the trust), then payments probably should be made from a trust savings or checking account.

If the house was NOT retitled, and therefore not funded into the trust, the HELOC payments should be made from the checking account and not from trust funds.

If this doesn't make sense, just say so. Sometimes it's hard sorting out these issues mentally. I have to go over our own issues a few times to make sure I've gotten them straight!
The same issue may apply to property taxes, another reason to keep the credit card if the taxing authority takes credit card payments (some do, some don't).
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