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My DH is now the only child of a 92 year old MIL who is still fairly independent, widowed in December, very narcissistic, still drives and manages her own finances for the most part, and lives in a retirement community apartment (gets her meals, cleaning service, transportation when needed, etc.). The big problem is that she has been falling for scams (phone and mail, usually from Jamaica) for at least 5 years now and between my DH and his now deceased brother, they have stopped her from completing at least 5 potentially financially significant scams. We have no idea how many we do not know about that went through. Yesterday her bank called to alert my DH that she was there trying to deposit a $6000.+ fraudulent check and she was telling them that she won 2 million dollars and this check was to pay for the taxes and fees on her winnings. She was supposed to deposit the check into her account then wait for further instructions the next day. Last time she fell for one (this past November) DH told her that, if she fell for this again, he was taking control of her finances so she could not get scammed out of the money she has to make last to pay her rent and few bills. We were supposed to be 3 hours away camping this week and cancelled due to the heat and potential storms. Had we gone we would have had to pack up and come home on our 2nd day there.


Has anyone had to take control of parents' finances in order to safeguard their income and savings? My husband is Durable POA and his name is on all accounts except my FIL's Aid and Attendance account, which MIL uses to pay her rent. This account will be depleted soon enough as nothing is going into it anymore. She has very few bills and very little income (as most of their income was from my FIL and they never planned for her to outlive him). Is there any other way to safeguard her money from her losing it to scammers? In the past, she had even arranged to meet strangers in parking lots to exchange or wire money in order to collect her "big win." When FIL died, they were over $50,000. short of what she told us they had in the few years prior. Their joint income had covered all their bills so they had not spent that money. She went ballistic yesterday when DH told her he was now taking over her finances. We meet with our attorney on Monday. We live in a filial responsibility state.

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Monica, check your message board.
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Reply to Windyridge
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Great answers here. I'll just add you might want to take advantage of this resource. There is also a hotline phone number to report scams directed at elderly people on the website:

https://www.aging.senate.gov

I know this is hard and frustrating, and hope you can resolve it soon and get some peace of mind.
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Reply to Laurellel
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Very common and very sensible. If she want to feel she has money get her a low limit CC she can use to pay for things, and everything in the way of bills or over limit of CC comes through you.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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Oh yes. Especially if you live in a filial responsibility, keep the checkbook safe. Your husband is doing the right thing. Just stay strong and support your husband through this very difficult time with his mother.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Monica19815 Jul 20, 2019
Thanks...I will...as long as he follows through this time. He has let her manipulate him into NOT taking over in the past but, this time, he must follow through and I told him as much. Our attorney agrees.
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Yes, we did take over the $, almost too late. When we rescued mthr, we came to find out that her credit union branch manager had "borrowed" 60k from mthr in the manager's daughter's name - agreement was written on the back on an envelope found under mthr's car seats. When we went to the bank the first day, the mgr was very uncomfortable even before we knew about the loan. When we returned a month later to get some things out of the bank box, she was still nervy. We returned the next day to get cash, and mgr fessed up. I then began checking all the accounts.

This was not the first time the manager borrowed money in the 5 years we could get records free. Those appear to have been repaid. But the woman who for some reason mthr gave her POA to, had changed the registration of mthr's farm that adjoins the woman's land and there was no corresponding payment. And this supposed PoA had never been to mthrs house (the judge threw that lady out of the hearing).

You can wait too long to take over, and there will be less $ to take care of your loved one, or you can risk angering them and having them safe, longer. We chose to step in before it was too late.
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Reply to surprise
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Monica19815 Jul 20, 2019
That is terrible!! It is bad enough to be scammed by "professionals" from distant couburiea but to be scammed by people who knew your Mom?? That is a whole other level of evil and betrayal. I am so glad you caught it in time.
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Yes. This is a Nigerian scam that is very common. It is run out of several towns in Nigeria and is a thriving business. They visit with folks on the phone, often use poor English feeling if they will put up with that they are easy prey. 60 Minutes and Dr. Phil have both done segments on this, but people who do not want to believe it even when given the facts should likely not be in control of a lot of money. My brother is diagnosed with a probably early Lewy's Dementia and has asked me to be responsible for all financial transactions, just "in case" and we have also made a spending account for him that is all his, but with limited funds in it that can be replaced as needed. It is very dangerous at this point for her to have any control of her finances, so it is a matter that this needs to be done now for her protection. What an awful thing. So many scams out there, and now the new "Social Security" scam in which callers say they are not depositing your Social Security until you provide further information as there has been fraudulent actions on your account. Honestly just awful for our seniors.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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If she gets angry, so be it, the proof speaks for itself. My 94 yo mother still thinks that she will win the Publishers Clearing House big prize and they will send a limo to pick her up. We are on top of it, but it is a PIA to keep dealing with this.
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Monica19815 Jul 20, 2019
Yep....my MIL is convinced she will win the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes. She spent thousands of dollars buying all their crap, believing it would increase her chances to win. Two of the scams she fell for used the PC logo on their scam mailing. The local police told her it was a scam. State police told her it was a scam. Publisher's Clearing House told her they NEVER mail a notice to a winner....they just show up at the door with the cameras. And yet...she fell for it AGAIN this latest time. Enough is enough. DH has given her plenty of chances to prove she is trustworthy and she failed. Time to control the finances before there are no finances left to control. The bank is being very cooperative with DH and getting all necessary paperwork together. DH will go report this latest scam to the police on Monday. We are seeing the attorney Monday to have everything legal and on the up and up. And I had totally forgotten that she had given some scammer her credit card number within the last year, also, and my DH had to cancel it right away. Add that to the number of times she has been scammed in the last few years....at least the times we know about.
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Agree with commenter below. She will be mad no matter what but you are doing it for her own good and she will never be able to appreciate what you are doing for her.

She seems wyly, so just taking over her finances may not be enough...I would "lock down" any important paperwork/information where she lives (if she continues to live there). When we realized both my MIL and StepFIL had cognitive issues and had more than $930 in overdrafts, we located all blank checks, checkbooks, sensitive banking or investment info, credit cards, licenses, SS cards, passwords, etc. and just confiscated them (including the car keys) without really telling them. My husband was the PoA for his mom so we set up all their accounts online so that we could always pay bills on time, know what they were paying and know what activity was going on. But they never had smart phones, and I'm assuming your MIL does. Maybe have her go to a simplified smart phone (with less functionality) or a flip phone, to reduce "rogue" purchasing and contacts with strangers. They have these smartphones for young kids where they can only text on them, for full parental control. If she has friendly neighbors or management, you can contact them to ask for help "keeping an eye on her" and maybe giving them a restaurant gift card so they can take her out for some socializing. Your LO may be bored and has too much time and not enough going on.

Without really knowing your LO, I would try to transition her into this new arrangement rather than "confront" or "take away" as that will surely inflame her. But if time is of the essence you may not have this luxury. Wishing you a good outcome!
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Reply to Geaton777
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Yes my husband and took over all my mothers financial matters when she went into AL over 5 years ago. With what you describe I feel there is no way your mother is mentally capable of financial matters that are legal. You have to make that move and you can explain why. Good luck to you.
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Reply to Riverdale
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Monica19815 Jul 20, 2019
Thanks, River. My DH keeps saying he does not think he could get a court to declare her incompetent and I just wave the scam records we have kept (and on Monday he will also obtain the police records from this and past scams she fell into) and tell him that these prove she is not mentally competent to handle her own finances and will run herself right into poverty and homelessness. Our attorney is ready to move forward.
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