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Mom belongs to a church out of state which relies very much on her donations to keep it afloat and also there are church members who have taken advantage of her generosity. If someone mentions they have a need, she will give them what is needed. She has a soft heart, but others have taken advantage of her this way. She has also been taken advantage of by sales people, mechanics and service providers, talked into expensive repairs or services and I have had to try to get her out of these situations but it was not always possible. She is 91, has cognitive decline but believes she is just fine and is still driving. She seems fine part of the time, but other times is not fine at all, has difficulty understanding what is happening. I recently helped her downsize and moved her near me last month -the culmination of a three year task - to be able to help her more easily and to protect her from the vultures that have taken advantage of her, but soon she will be moving to an independent living community.


She is selling her house to finance her move, but I am worried that when it sells and she receives the settlement, she will donate a bunch of it or piddle it away to those who have gotten accustomed to her charitable donations. The pastor of her church and other church members have made her feel guilty for moving away, made her feel the church will die without her, and though we live in a nice neighborhood and there are good things happening here, they tell her that it is bad (sinful) here (California) where we live, like she is crazy to have moved here. It really adds to her anxiety and guilt she doesn't deserve to feel. Instead of being supportive, these people are negative leeches who have fought against me moving my mom ever since they found out. They discourage her from joining a local church even in the same denomination, and so my mom sends her tithe check there to her old church.


The proceeds from the sale of her home are vital for being able to afford her move into the community and future care - her side of the family tends to live to 100, her ability to be independent may not last long and I don't doubt she will live beyond 100. I could write so much more of course but I want to stay on topic. How can I help protect her finances when she is not with me?

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Hopefully you have POA. If not, get it before it gets worse. She could go downhill rapidly even before the sale of the house. Then you need to be able to sell it. If you ever think you will need Medicaid, the house will have to be sold at market value. The money put aside and only used for her care. No large donations to the Church. Medicaid may not except it.

No legitimate Church would act this way. I would call this harrassment of the elderly. Let Mom send her tithing to them. Only the tithing. But I may send a letter confidentially to the minister informing him that if he and his congregation continue on the path they have taken with your Mother, that the next thing will be a letter from a lawyer suing them for harrassment and elderly abuse.

Is Mom driving with a Cal license or the one from her state? If from her state she has to change over. Use this as an excuse to have her take a driving test. She may not pass.

How is this Church contacting her? Landline? Cell? If your home phone can u block them? If not, they have come out with blocking devises. Cell? There are ways of blocking. How savvy is Mom? If not too, take the phone when she is sleeping and block these numbers.

If Mom is declining, there will come a time when she won't know what is going on and you will be able to take charge.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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My MIL is the same. Has been buying "love" ever since I've been married to her son, 39 years now. She buys groceries, clothing, gas, etc. until she gets to feeling used and then has a big blow up about it. Doesn't talk to that person for awhile and then gradually it goes back to the same situation. She has "met" people at Wal Mart and asked for rides home. She ends up buying them "gifts". She has blown more money. She got a reverse mtg. and has blown through most of her equity. Currently she is buying Christmas presents for her caregivers mom and aunt. (His mom said "you are family now!" Yeah, you got some $$. ) I agree with other posters. Try and get a POA, and maybe talk to your moms doctor about her actions. Set the stage for a letter of incompetence. My dad wanted to protect his assets. He always said "I want to leave something for my kids" so he created his first trust after my mom died. Then later he modified it to protect my brothers interest and currently put all his assets into an Irrevocable Trust. Perhaps you could talk to your mom about "protecting assets". Some people say "It's her money and she should be able to spend it as she pleases." But it's hard to stand by and watch them piddle it away knowing they might need it later.
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Reply to Janny61
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Yes it is their money but its the children who have to worry about who is going to care for them when Medicaid won't pay because they gave large amts of to people. If they had saved that money, they could afford a nice AL or IL.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Go to Court and become guardianship/conservator. My Mom must have been giving to every charity out there. I'm surprised she had not given money to a Nigerian Prince scam!
I control everything under the auspices of the Court. I screw anything up and they will take this away and take over. Nope, not going to pay a Court appointed Fiduciary to handle my Mom's money.

Easiest way to do what you need.

You will read answers of POA, get your name on her accounts.....that will not keep your Mom from doing what she is doing now or in the future.

The only way you will be able to stop all of this 100% is to go to Court ASAP, get emergency Guardianship/conservator and then do what is needed to become permanent.

Sorry people who think POA or being on accounts work, they don't. I've been through it from the start this summer and now, I'm going after step-sister for FRAUD. Even family members CANNOT be trusted!!
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Reply to dkentz72
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Get an elder attorney to help you plan. Get a DPOA for you to handle her issues. Have a open communication with all family members. Have a transparent accounting system in place to fund her care. Report to every one but you make the decisions. Do the right thing. Keep her in CA. First is her care using her money. You should do it free and not expect anything in return. Then what ever is left do as she wishes. Have all in writing and take cellphone viedo of her wishes besides in writing
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Reply to Sankarrph
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You can't.

I went through it with my own mother and was flatly told, "it's my money and I can do what I want with it."

It gave me a new appreciation of what my father had lived with for 58 years.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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Get her if you are able, to give you power of attorney and open a fiduciary account with you as fiduciary. The fiduciary account will give you control of that money from the sale of her house, it can only be used for her needs so keep good records. This account will also let you handle any money after her death so that you can settle any of her outstanding debts. Let her have if possible her own account with you as POA on it that will make her feel independent and also give you the right to monitor that account. The POA expires on that account on her death so I wouldn’t keep a lot in there, just enough that she can do her tithing to her church.

i would also try to take her to a church in the area to see if she will give up the other after awhile. Any church that discourages someone from going to church is not a caring church.
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Reply to Glendaj2
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This made me angry just reading about these Church members. I would march my self over to the Church Pastor tell him their will be no more quilt tripping my Mother.No more asking for donations. I will leave it up to you to gather your flock and relay the message to them. When a Church starts telling a person rather they can join another church or live in another states sounds rather cultist to me..Be strong and lay them out firmly and if they continue I would go another step further by engaging the authority. your Mom is at that age needs peace in her life God Bless Her
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Reply to PiperLee
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PrivateCitizen Dec 26, 2018
I am angry too, whatever 'church' this is hideously has swerved from their mandate to be good to each other.

A second point, I have donated for decades to some excellent charities. Nd as I age I am careful not to listen to any I never heard out without checking first. Of course you can't ever get off the mailing lists, and now when I get 'gifts' in fat mailers I just mark "refused' and send them back. Don't want any freebies wasting someone else's money . I KNOW the statistics on 'profit return to solicitation' 2-4%, that's it, So if 127,000 -500,000 mini blankets, or cheap gloves, or notepads, - all made in China and shipped here in cargo containers- are then stuffed and assembled by a SERVICE company that gets paid too, THEN mailed out, the cost of the paper letter, envelope, postage, return envelope, some color printed brochures showing the most needy of X charity... you can see the waste generated. But it works, certain colors work, X number of pieces in the mailer work, on and on. More Americans are sick of this, even if 'fundraising' is just 12% of their total budget. Now, some charities have a box you check for "send me no gifts'.
Last, one charity "Food for the poor' does feed children, big on the radio with hosts promoting them, recently they expanded service to giving goats, building homes, etc. Which is fine. BUT somehow I got put on the $1500-$2000+ donation request list and I hate it. I don't know how this happened, it sure make me feel guilty--not even a line to write in $25.00 (I know you can send any amount) but still. I get many more mailings now, better 'stuff'. grrr so I am stopping altogether, and have found others to give to . You can ALWAYS check out any group online at 'charitynavigator.org' some make their charity name to mimic a good one, and scam you. ..ok my rant for the season.
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Doing - your in that odd place where mom is still viewed as competent & cognitive by outside world but actually floating in alternative solar system and not able to do “executive functioning” (evaluate financisl decisions). It’s beyond difficult and if she gets her back up she can shut you out unless your a strong personality she will acquiese to. I’m gonna guess that your not apt to be that so to me your going to have to tread carefully and find a way to defect away from the leeches. Once churchy group realizes that cash register has closed they will go away. Time & proximity are the factors to use to your advantage imo.

So house hasn’t actually sold yet, right?
Its still on the market & has costs, which mom is having to pay for. (Btw you should NOT be fronting any property costs at all; the whatever’s on house - eg yard maintenance- mom must pay for) So mom needs to be reminded that until house is sold there is narrow spending. Don’t make it a huge deal just that there are “on the market costs” “keeping it market ready costs”. And if she starts on that churchy folk will do stuff (mow yard), say it needs to be coordinated via Realtors.

How is the Act of Sale being dealt with?
House is out of state and mom has moved to CA already, right? So is someone her proxy for the sale or is this going to be a flurry of emails, vetted E signature app &/or overnight envelopes? I’d suggest you Have it so that everything goes through you, your email and your delivery address. Not to mom at her new address. Realtor can make this happen. Sale proceeds come to mom at your address as a cashiers check in her name. You make a copy of it to go to plan B...

Which is she/you take it immediately and open up a 6 /or 12 mo CD with it; perhaps less a 2 months emergency $$ fund which goes into her checking account of which you are signature on, perhaps prepar 90 days of her stay at her new place (IL ?or AL?) and you can go on line to monitor and it’s POD to you. CD put on auto renew, gloss over this.... if she gets all fretting on CD, explain that is safe & secure, that it’s easier, and assures she’s making the most out of her $ that’s still flexible.

If she can’t get to the $ easily, the churchies will loose interest.
Having the CD isn’t about using house $ for “investing” as the interest rate is pretty pitiful, but more about having it safe & secure & not easily accessible as it’s not In her checkbook in her purse. Church group will loose interest in her.

As an aside on all this, You know once house is sold, her name is on a database that folks can buy for prospecting. She’s likely going to get hit up to buy an investment which will be in reality likely an annuity. Having it in a CD will help kill that from happening. If where she’s moving into a retirement community that’s has investment or insurance speakers coming in, you might want to get yourself on the event list so you’re aware of what’s what & whose coming.
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Reply to igloo572
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AT1234 Dec 23, 2018
Ditto: It’s my moms only assets and her church is doing the same, I’ve had to get an attorney to fight them from stealing it right out from under her.
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There are other things to worry about besides people she knows. There are charities, who call on the phone and also the mail. Bradford exchange and other vultures. Jamaican scam artists who will take her life savings if given the chance. They are everywhere. She will never understand that giving away all her money is not good, she will keep doing it. So, unfortunately you will have to keep and eye on these things.
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Reply to Isabelsdaughter
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