My grandmother continually takes money out of her checking account and we don't know what she is doing with it. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My grandmother continually takes money out of her checking account and we don't know what she is doing with it. Any advice?

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She has Alzheimer's and we are wondering if there was anything offered by banks to help keep track of her cash withdrawls.

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Depending on the dollar amounts, you may want to take whatever evidence you have to the police or district attorney. They may be better able to get some more detailed information from the bank that you don't have access to.
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Reply to AlfredR
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Billyg, if your Grandmother doesn't have anyone to be her financial Power of Attorney, it will depend on if she is still able to understand what is a Power of Attorney. Otherwise, an Attorney will refuse to have Grandmother sign the document.

It does sounds like Grandmother is still sharp.... and the forgetfulness could be just an excuse not to let the family know what she is using the money for.

Your profile mentioned that Grandmother lives at her own home. If correct, then she does have "bills". There could be utility bills, homeowner insurance, groceries, and the list goes on and on. Some elders like to go to the grocery store daily.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Thank you all for your responses. She is still mentally there...just very "forgetful." When we ask her what she is doing with the money she either never remembers or says it is for bills...even though she has no bills, except for medications. She still believes that there is nothing wrong with her and she "only remembers what she wants to." So getting her to let my mom take care of things is difficult. My mother is POA but only for her health and not financial...at least I don't think so. We are exploring options regarding financial POA. Thank you again for the responses.
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Reply to billyg1634
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BIlly, keeping track of withdrawals is easy. You go to the bank's website, set up a log-in account using whatever information you have about your Grandmother.... place the account number, and you will see the account with all incoming checks/cash and all outgoing checks/cash.

I needed to do that for my Dad, since I had financial Power of Attorney, I watched three accounts, and was able to move money around among the three accounts as was needed.

As mentioned above, who is taking Grandmother to the bank or the ATM machine, or is she able to drive herself?
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Reply to freqflyer
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Billyg
Actually my understanding is that the DPOA for financial and medical decisions is still a possibility. It just depends on the day you take GM to the attorney. How she is doing that day.
She would have to agree that she wants someone to help her with her affairs and she has to name that person in order to designate them as her POA. See a certified elder attorney to get all of her paperwork in order.
Being her POA wouldn’t tell you what she did with the money but you could move the account or put limits on how much she takes out at a time if the bank recognizes her POA. You might set it up where she had to have two signatures on a check. Whatever works best.
Speak to the bank about what services they offer. She could possibly just add someone’s name on the account to help her manage it. We didn’t use our POA to do this. It wasn’t necessary.
Is she still driving or is someone taking her to the bank?
My aunt (now 91) went through this. She wanted to get large amounts because she didn’t want to go to the bank often. Then she couldn’t remember what she did with the money. My name was already on the account but she would have a friend take her to the bank. Finally she said she didn’t think she should manage her account any longer because she couldn’t remember what she did with the money. I took the check books just in case. We set all her bills on auto pay. If I gave her $100 or $10 she would give it away so we stopped giving her cash altogether.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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I don’t think banks would be able to provide “watchdog” services for elderly account holders with Alzheimer’s, but you can always speak with the bank manager to see if anything can be done.  The only thing you could do is close the account, but without Grandma’s signature, if she is the primary account holder, the bank won’t do it. Since grandma has Alzheimer’s, she most likely will not be able to appoint anyone as having Power of Attorney over her finances either. This probably should have been done a while back. The only way you can stop her from indiscriminately writing checks is to take the “real” checkbook away and replace it with one from a closed account but that wont work if she’s out and about and writing checks in stores. Is she ordering things by mail, or giving people checks? The problem is, once she overdraws the account, she will be charged at least one overdraft fee and probably more on each check she bounces. Someone needs to step up and tell Grandma “no more”. Give her a small cash allowance, and once that’s gone, it’s gone. It won’t be easy to do, but for Grandma’s financial well-being, someone needs to. And, if no one is in charge of Grandma’s financial affairs, someone needs to investigate how to do that as well.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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