Hi to everybody.

My name is Helmut (I'm from Germany) and my father's condition has recently started to worsen (He has diabetes). As a consequence I have decided to take him in. (Before that he was living alone) My wife and I (both 39, he is 77) can handle surprisingly well all major health-related issues.

However, what has been really bothering us are legal issues especially insurance and bank-related issues.
For now he is taking care of them, but we were thinking about taking this into our hands.

As we don't know anybody in a similar situation and our doctor basically says that it is up to us I wanted to ask for some experiences from you.

What is there to consider when taking over his 'legal-issues'? From a legal standpoint it is ok in Germany, however it seems to us that taking it over (especially in the beginning) is quite a lot of hassle (On both sides - his and ours). Would this make sense for him/us? (We haven't talked to him yet because we want to think it through completely before we face him with that). What are your experiences? Is handling somebody else's legal issues 'annoying'?

Greetings from Germany,

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You might try a graduated approach as Windy suggests: work with your father to identify all his financial assets, inventory them, develop lists of contact numbers, approximate dates of dividends, approximate dates of pension payments, insurance bill due dates, etc. This will help you familiarize yourself with his portfolios or assets.

Most incoming funds would probably be just directly deposited, so that's essentially a passive activity. But some, such as the insurance and other bills will obviously require action. In your inventory, you can separate them by category. I make lists of my father's bills and check them every month, and if one hasn't been received by the normal date, I contact the supplier/company, etc. to make sure the bill hasn't been lost.

This has been necessary because bills don't always arrive, or become lost, or disappear so I found it mandatory to inventory them to ensure that everything that was paid needed to be paid.

This could probably be an specific to German banking, but it's very helpful to open joint accounts with rights to the survivor so that you can pay directly from his account. This to me is critical - once my father was hospitalized for several months, and had I not had access to his accounts I would have been unable to pay any bills since I lacked sufficient funds.

What you might want to do as well is Google "estate planning attorneys", "elder law attorneys" in your location in Germany. In the US, proactive attorneys in these practices often post basic articles on their websites. Our attorney also publishes a monthly newsletter on various issues relevant to the entire estate planning spectrum, ranging from updates on documents to new legislation and how or if it needs to be integrated into existing estate plans.
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In the US it's called POWER OF ATTORNEY or POA. This is when one person grants the rights to control finances and medical issues to another trusted person.
The person granting POA must be of sound mind.

I think this is what may be needed in your case. I'm sure there are equivalent procedures in Germany.

Handling someone else's legal issues can be a lot of work depending on the situation. I am POA for my parents, pay bills, keep track of accounts, deal with medical issues etc. My folks affairs are relatively simple but it does take some time each day. I think the biggest problems come from joint POA s where siblings battle over issues.

Also, keep in mind a POA can be drafted and finalized but you may not have to take over your fathers affairs immediately. It can be invoked gradually as he becomes unable to deal with particular tasks.
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