My husband has early dementia and is making bad decisions. Last week he fell for a scam and lost $750 and today didn't understand why I said we couldn't buy a new car for him.
We live on Social Security now, but until losing everything in 2008 had a very good income. I think he still feels like we have a lot of spendable income and I can't convince him otherwise. He gets angry and more and more illogical. I don't know what to do.

Because he is angry and illogical, place both of your incomes under a fiduciary (hired) rep-payee so he will have to ask the fiduciary those money questions, not you.

If you are still okay, make the fiduciary 'in name only' while you continue to handle the finances as long as you are able. At this point, the fiduciary is a buffer between you and your spouse.

Be sure to give him an affordable allowance, cash and a pre-paid Visa card.
Do not withhold this money from him, give it monthly, from a strict budget.

Have everything mailed to a private mailbox.

Even after taking these precautions, he may find a way to access money, and one day you could find your joint account emptied. Therefore, no joint accounts.

There will be other solutions more specific to your situation, but a rep-payee is a start. If the info comes from the government [no, you cannot handle money]
[but this person assigned will handle it for you], then it makes it easier to gain his cooperation if he has the capacity to receive it. Involve his doctors.

If you do nothing else, open a separate checking account [maybe a credit union] and have your own SS income deposited directly there, keep this info from him. Requires you to have a private mailbox.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to Sendhelp
Sendhelp Aug 3, 2021
An example for you...Just in the time it took to answer your question, my dH whom I like to trust with technology, misunderstood my instructions.
I asked him to add a pre-paid Visa card to the Amazon Account-he does have access and control of this one account. The goal was to have a debit-card be a placeholder ($25) if the gift card was over drafted. We talked about it all month.

Instead, 1) he added the Visa card to the account, then 2) spent it by adding it to the gift card balance available.

I am grateful for this wake-up call concerning his executive functioning....still not is worse. I have to double down on supervision.
This is a very common challenge discussed on this forum. You do need to secure your sensitive information and prevent him from access.

First, make sure he has assigned you or a trusted local family member or person as durable PoA. Without this it will at some point become difficult to manage and decide his care if he isn't cooperative or able.

Next, does he have a medical diagnosis of dementia by a doctor in his records? If not, then this is very import to get AFTER he has a cognitive exam.

An emergency step would be to give him a pre-paid Visa card with a limited amount of money on it. This may satisfy him in the short run until you can secure everything else.

If you have a joint bank account I would maybe create a new one that only you have authority for, and then transfer the money over into it so he can't get to it. Eventually you will need to call up your bank(s), tell them your dilemma and ask what they suggest you do at their end (most banks have their own PoA protocol and some require you bring in your husband). You will also need to do this for your investments.

Change the passwords for important accounts so he can't go online to bank or shop. You can tell him "therapeutic fibs" to keep him at bay. You may want to inform close family to not lend him any money or take him to the bank (if he still drives you may want to put the car keys or car someplace where he can't just jump in and go shopping or to the bank).

If he has a mobile phone with internet access, you'll need for it to "get lost" for a while. If you have children maybe ask them to help participate in the "distraction" game while you batten down the hatches. I'm so sorry for this stress but you must protect yourself. I would also suggest a consult with an elder law attorney who is familiar with estate and Medicaid planning. You will need to know some things so that you don't disqualify yourselves. Wishing you success in the short term and peace in the long term.
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Reply to Geaton777
Geaton777 Aug 4, 2021
Ooops: a correction to my 3rd paragraph...

"Next, does he have a medical diagnosis of dementia by a doctor in his records? If not, then this is very import to get AFTER he (hopefully) creates a durable PoA."
Thank you, Sendhelp and Graeton777! Fortunately my daughter is very close to us and able to help. We are going to follow the steps you outlined and do them when they seem necessary and get things running as smoothly as we can.
I have been doing online paid 'gigs' -- university research studies, marketing online focus groups, etc -- getting enough to open a separate bank account with those funds. There's no way I can make enough to keep up with his spending, but I can get some money and my SS in another account. That will help a lot.
Thanks for your answers.
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Reply to plkelly13
Sendhelp Aug 4, 2021
You are welcome!

The amount necessary to open a checking and savings account at a credit union can be very small.

Plan to take care of yourself and your own needs equally with the budget.

The stress on your marriage can take a toll. If ever you need to divorce for major illness and financial reasons, you do not want to be found supporting illogical spending, or making poor financial decisions for the two of you.

A formula for spending could be 1) Agree to discuss any amounts planned to spend over $100; and 2) Whatever he spends on himself you set aside an equal amount for yourself.

So sorry that your husband has lost his "executive" functioning and has
First, you CANCEL all cards and get new ones in your name only.
You change limit on spending amounts.
you get POA legal needs in order.
you take away all credit cards (and debit) cards.

Gena / Touch Matters
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Reply to TouchMatters

Excellent advice given here (as always). It might be hard to accomplish, I know it has been for my husband. One additional thing I did was, I turned off the ringer on the house phone. This was after he lost $600.00 in phone scams, I was able to get $400. of it back. He can call out, but any incoming calls go directly to voicemail. He isn't as trusting with the cell phone.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
PamelaT1345 Aug 6, 2021
I have turned the ringer off on my phone, it keeps missed calls, so I can return the ones I want. One time I had 26 spam calls listed in one day, another day 29. No ringing means phone doesn't wake me up early in the morning, or if I am taking a nap! Love it!
It maybe time to talk to his doctor about getting paperwork for you to become his representative payee thru social security. I had to do this for my brother in law he always believed that when he made money it just keep coming in his mind. He didn't understand that if you take out more than you have in there it doesn't multiply. The place that was handling his money a credit union was covering his debt when he social security came in they would take the money back. When I took over he was $700 in debt to them. He didn't like what I did but today he is fine with it because I have provided everything he needs. With this rep payee of social security if he decides to give POA of his finances to someone else instead of you they won't be able to touch his social security once you are rep payee of it. I know this for a fact my brother in law's sister and niece wanted his money they thought that if they got a POA financial they could get ahold of his soc sec won't happen unless I give it up will not happen they have sucked him dry on his pension bank account which no one can access except for him they used his short term memory problem to get money out. He gave them $1600 from that account and he is the type to ask first how much can he get out.

Yes have another bank account also if you can get a PO Box for the mail to go too if would be better. That is what I have set up for my brother in law on his bank account statements now since he was taken by his family. They will never see how much he has in his accounts.
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Reply to Babs2013

Here are some options.

Tell him that your accounts have been hacked. Take away all of his access to your accounts. Give him a reloadable gift card from a major credit card company as his new "debit" and/or "credit card." to use for his own personal spending. Also change the passwords to access accounts online. This will limit his ability to spend and get scammed.

As for his desires to "buy," write up the budget and keep it somewhere that can be referenced often. When he says, "Let's buy a new ______," show him the budget and say, "I'd love to but I can't find money in our budget for a _______ payment." Then suggest that he help you "save up" for whatever he wants to buy.

On a side note, please make sure to have your legal documents taken care of for your husband while he still has some mental capacity. These include his will, a power of attorney for medical, and a power of attorney for financial.
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Reply to Taarna

plkelly13: It is IMPERATIVE that you close and/or cancel all credit cards with his name on it/that he has access to. That also applies to debit cards. An individual such as your husband with "early dementia" does not have the mental capacity to make any judgement on financials.
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Reply to Llamalover47

Open a new account for any money you have coming in to protect it from hubby's spending sprees.

This may be very hard to get done but hubby needs to be evaluated regarding his cognition. Once it gets to a certain point you will not be able to get a durable power of attorney and may need to seek guardianship.

I'm so sorry you are going through this and wish you the very best.
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Reply to cweissp

Cancel and replace any credit cards or debit cards . Or cancel and just have one for emergency use. Do not give him access to cards or checks . Close all bank accounts you are able to, open checking and/or savings in your name only. That's about all I can come up with at the moment. Good luck!
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Reply to PamelaT1345

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