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Many bills. I am taking over as much as he will allow and am not sure where and how to start. Dad has created many bills. Doctors, Electric (went unpaid to balance of $5,000, taxes, etc. I have asked him to formulate a list for me he has not in nearly a year. I am afraid he will jeopardize his income. I have come in and set up payments on some that I was aware of. How and where do I start. I am sure I am going to have other questions. Thank you.

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Maridel13: You will have to start liquidating the assets to pay the bills. The holders of these accounts will need a copy of your POA before you can accomplish this. Contact the companies and get the forms you will need to close the accounts. If your parent can still sign, explain the need to them. Deposit the funds in their accounts only & never mingle with your funds. Do not accept any monetary gifts from your parents as this will count against Medicaid requirements should they need it within the next 5 years. Please educate yourself to avoid making costly mistakes.
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Alicew234: Only if your spouse decides to divorce you, then half can be considered community property unless you stipulate that you are only on the account as DPOA.
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Alice, I have been handling dad's money for a year & so far there have been no issues. His SS check goes into the joint account. From that I pay all his bills. Plus I mail him a check twice a month for spending money. His wife also gets an SS check that she handles herself. I also send a list of bills paid & the amount to my dad & dead beat brother every month so everyone knows exactly what is coming in & what is going out. I sign all checks from the joint account as (my name) POA for (dad's name). My goal is to never have more than $2,000 in dad's checking b/c of medicaid asset limits.

The big issue (from what I understand) is that all money must go for dad's expenses. Also there is no mingling of money between his account & my account.

Perhaps others can share experiences on this.
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My mother's money is in a trust of which I am the beneficiary. Now it's costing a lot for in home care which she very much wants but doesn't want to pay for. Since we're running out of money to pay for the care what can I do about things like mutual funds, stock, etc which I believe will only be available to me upon her death? I do have power of attorney for what that's worth.
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You need to obtain Power of Attorney! Make an appointment to see a lawyer immediately!
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Are there any downsides to establishing a joint bank account for elderly person or the person helping them?
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Cheribob, what a story. You are a great daughter to go to such lengths to take care of your dad. He is a lucky man.
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Be careful of guardianship appointments. They are rife with additional obligations and responsibilities you really don't need now. A good "Durable Power of Attorney" should suffice. You want to avoid personal liability for his debts at all costs. A DPOA will make you able to take care of his finances but not liable for them.
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If he has let things go like you say, then I would take legal measures to be appointed over his estate, (finances only) by the court. It sounds like you have plenty of proof that he is incompetent to that anymore. You'll have to file an inventory and annual accounts with the court, but at least you can save him from financial ruin.
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Aphena, I'm so sorry you are in this predicament.
You will need to get organized. Get some cheap cardboard file boxes and folders. You will have to go through the maze one document at a time. Shove each account into it's own folder (you can sort by date later). Keep separate boxes for taxes, banking, bills, important documents, social security, insurance etc. and break down to separate accounts by folder. This will be a nightmare but MUST be done. Get a shredder for everything else. I wish you the best and God be with you.
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Aphena - I think at this point just ask your dad if he would like for you to take care of it for him. If you make phone calls while he is there he can give permission over the phone for them to discuss his account with you. I don't think he can handle a "to do list".
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Aphena, Let me tell you my story & you can take what you need from it. I knew my dad was living on social security but I did not realize how bad things were until he started calling me & asking me for money. In October of 2013 he asked for $600. I heard through the family grape-vine that he gave that money to a deadbeat relative. Then he called at the beginning of December asking for another $500. I asked him if he would like it if I took over his finances for him. He said yes. So we made plans for me to go to Tennessee (from Chicago). In the mean time I made an appointment with legal aid to draw up DPOA & HCPOA. I also had him help me pull his credit report (I did not know the answers to the security questions).

I was appalled when I saw the credit report. Unbeknownst to me, he had filed bankruptcy in 2006. He currently had $21,000+ in credit card debt and he was trying to file bankruptcy again but could not until August of 2014.

When I got to Tennessee the first stop was legal aid for the DPOA & HCPOA. The second stop was at the bank. We closed out his old checking account (too many auto-debits bouncing) and opened a new one. Banker called Social Security while we were there to have his social security direct deposited into the new checking account.

The banker made a copy of the DPOA & printed out 3 months worth of checking account statements. Every month there were HUNDREDS of dollars in bounced transactions, payday loan auto-debits, bounced mortgage auto-debits, bounced insurance premiums, and debit transactions at convenience stores for $150+!

I had to pay off the $600+ overdraft protection loan to close the old checking account. Then I had to deposit $100 in the new joint checking account. Dad does not have access to the new joint checking account.

The third thing I had to do was go to the payday loan store to pay off the $350 he owed them (491% interest) so they would not try to auto-debit the old checking account.

I had my dad pack up all the bills in a shopping bag & I took them home with me to try & figure out what to do. The first thing I did was contact the utilities to find out what the balances on the accounts were. Phone & cable were several months in arrears. Electric & water were current b/c in TN if they are not paid on time they are immediately discontinued. Medical insurance premiums were several months in arrears. Car insurance was being paid 30 days late. (My dad had his medical insurance premiums being auto-debited because he was saving $24/yr. But one bounced payment was $25, so where was the savings?)

I began to pay the bills in this order - utilities, insurance premiums, medical bills. The mortgage is whole 'nother story. I eventually found out that he was $1200 in arrears on the mortgage. I contacted the mortgage company & they were able to modify the mortgage so he did not have to come up with $1200. That was a real life saver for my dad.

The credit cards were a whole second 'nother story. From the credit report I got the names & addresses of all my dad's creditors. I wrote each of them a letter saying that my father was old, sick & no longer made his own decisions. He had no assets & his only income was social security & they should go away & leave him alone. Then I sent them registered mail, return receipt. Pretty much all the companies left him alone. Except for Discover.

Discover sued him. I contacted legal aid & they took the case. It has been continued until March 2014. Legal aid is trying to get Discover to drop the case.

So to wrap up this long story. Dad's mortgage, utilities, insurance premiums & medical bills are all current & paid. Credit issuers have gone away. I have been paying everything on-line but now I finally feel confident enough to start going back to the autopay.
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A close relationship wih your bank helps go in an talk . Hopefully you have been a member for a long time . If there are direct deposits consider opening another joint account with your address for mail no cards or checks . Use this to dedicate to primary bills. I do not think overdraft is good to tie into . They may charge you money to move money over and if a scam is afoot it will drain savings in a hurry. Good luck
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Good Lord not sure if I should go into detail here. He began today on his "to do" list. He did not ask the questions I instructed him to ask. I had to take care of the call. I get LECTURED from the insurance rep even after I explained he is having mental difficulties. She was mad he was not responding.
So from what you are all saying pull his credit report which will help on his bills reported. Thank you and I am thinking I should have thought of it. I need to work on the current bills as well.
Any ideas on how to handle him creating NEW ones? He did agree to give me POA but he hasn't acted on it. I am thinking safe bet is to see an attorney mutually.
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p.s. Sorry about my wordiness…The best place to start is where you are. Take it one step at a time: cleaning up one 'mess' at a time without expecting him to make it easier for you by providing account info (because it doesn't look like he's going to). Put on your best private detective persona and keep moving. It's for his protection and your sanity. Good luck!
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My 87-year-old mother's slide into this state was gradual over several years, of late payments, no payments, re-establishing lost insurance---and her affairs were relatively simple. The sad truth after years of my having to change her bank accounts due to her having given out personal information to fraudsters, thousands of dollars phone scammed and wired out of the country, and MANY arguments about my trying to control her, treat her like she's stupid, crazy, blah, blah, blah by overseeing that her bills were paid and her accounts were safe, is that my brother and I found it necessary to obtain legal guardianship and conservatorship to overcome her stubbornness and totally stop the financial bleeding to Publisher's ClearingHouse and the like and make sure the necessary obligations were paid. In short, you are right in assessing this as a big task and a necessary one. Keep in mind your dad doesn't want to relinquish control but obviously cannot maintain it alone, for whatever reason(s). POA is good if he gets it done, and the sooner the better. Naturally it's best if he is cooperative, but as POA you are authorized to do many things in his behalf, including setting up the autopay, etc. Your first tough task is to get as much info about all the accounts as possible. pamstegmans' suggestion about the credit report may be an excellent shortcut for that. Then begins the financial 'root-canal' of matching up income with out-go. If he's receptive, that's presented to him with your kind offer of help and the need for some joint account(s) so that you can pay things when he fails to. In my case, I took over more and more as my mother either gradually agreed or forgot, but still couldn't prevent the mail scammers or her phone behavior. Next stop, after +/- 7 years, probate court for legal right to control more, but with the increased hassle of reporting and accountability to said court as guardian and conservator. I still see it as the better option for what my dad (deceased 22 years) left for her provision, than it's all being wired to strangers in the Philippines or Costa Rica and leaving her destitute. I laud you for caring and taking on this responsibility. Remember also to take care of yourself and not to let your dad's unpleasant reactions to the facts of his aging get to you. It's what we do to honor our parents and our elders. Getting therapy and carefully assessing how much you can handle in the caretaker role are the wisest decisions ever. All here encourage your efforts and wish you the best!
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Autopay has been a blessing for us. My mom had it all set up before things went down hill and we have kept it Since they moved in with us I only write checks for the electric and TV ( which they pay here as the costs went up ALOT) and the CG. Even thier CC bills get taken out automaticly. I love this!!
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Start by doing an online credit check.The amended Fair Credit Reporting Act permits consumers to request a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (i.e., Equifax, Experian, Trans Union). That should give you a good list.
If it is really bad, consider Guardianship.
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It is EXTREMELY difficult at times to keep my head aligned with what needs to be done. I've had him write it down to no avail. My friend and I spent a great deal of time Friday talking to him regarding financial matters and I am thinking it was futile. He still has awareness but likes to play a "victim" role more often then not. Hw will realize he's slacking, then does nothing about it.
TO be quite frank, I question at times if I want the role of caretaker with him (I have scheduled therapy for myself to help sort through). With him. it has been a lifelong challenge.
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Aphena, I had the same issue with my Dad about going to an attorney. Dad said I will get most of the estate once he and Mom pass on. It wasn't until I told him that the State will get a large chunk of his estate via taxes that it finally got his full time and attention. So far he and Mom have seen an Elder Law attorney, at least it's a start. I just hope both live long enough to sign the new Trust, POA's and Will as he's dragging his feet with the homework he needs to do :P
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Thank you guys. I have been on him for months regarding an attorney. He is refusing to see one at this point. We have sat down on numerous occasions and he reconizes at times he needs the help and agrees to let me handle it. Others he goes in and pays what he wants and how he wants regardless of the reprocusions.
He too acts like it's "magic". When he get's his money he at times thinks he can pay whatever, like there is a money tree for the rest. Other times he pays nothing.
I have asked him to write me a list of what has to be paid. He did not. I am thinking I have a lot of work on my hands here. But all the ideas from all of you are VERY helpful. I just cannot sit back and ignore it all any longer. I was advised to ignore it as it creates fusion. It has to be handled, and that is the end all now.
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I have taken over handling my sister's bills.She has alzhiemers .She thinks she can just use her debit card & like magic has money .
we both went to the bank when she first showed early stages of this disease & I am joint with her account as well as power of attorney . Her bills are set up at the end of the month for attamatic withdrawal -- Heat, electricity , phone TV. & had the bank open a savings account for her taxes, She Basicly has very little left to live on.Her neti our feeds her her three meals a day in which Out of my sisters account we pay $ 100.00 a month.This is how I handled the finances.
P.s she has i law - outlaw relatives that think she has money & have drained her savings.They no longer phone or visit since I have taken over.😊
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Most utilities have a service you can sign up for where someone is notified if your utility bill isn't being paid in a timely fashion.
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Hopefully your Dad will cooperate with you on all his finances. See an elder care attorney and get the legal documents necessary to conduct his business (Companies will not talk or do business with you until you do). I found getting my name on as many accounts as possible was a great help. If you are comfortable, set up as many autopay accounts as you think his income will allow. Especially his utilities. Perhaps the two of you can sit together once every couple of weeks to pay the other bills together until he is comfortable with you in his "business". Eventually he will probable lose interest and you will need to be a place where you can take over completely.
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Depends on if Dad will allow or if he has dementia, etc.--diagnosed. You could have his mail transferred to you for about two months. This will help you at least get a handle on all the bills, accounts, financial investments, etc he might have and then you can copy or write down account numbers, etc. you can then give dad back originals. Consider setting up an online bill pay linked to his checking. Go with dad to the bank and make sure he has overdraft protection linked to his savings. Set up automa deposits of monthly income checks, dividends, etc.

Find out who he has insurance, medical insurance, car, house, life, etc and have those set up on autopsy.

It's tough. He may fight you on "being in his business", but letting insurance, taxes, medical insurance, etc can be very serious and a mess for you to have to reset abolish with stiff penalties.

I had to do above with my mom.

I set up her online acct which she doesn't comprehend, but it allows me to monitor her spending, make sure bills and taxes are paid, etc. we also have a long term relationship with her tax preparer so if something is missing or they need something, they call me and let me know so I can track it down.

I still don't know all of my mothers financial info (she is secretive and their are some accts I have no knowledge of) but I have enough to make sure her bills and taxes are covered.

It's always great if dad will link you to some of his accounts by signing a paper at the bank, etc. but this isn't always the case.

Good luck.
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