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Any B of A people out there? She had been having me assist her at the end of the month, to pay the bills for rent, and telephone, and such. But now when I ask her to prepare for this she gives me glib talk about her laundry and "other people" and other such nonsense... I don't think she realizes any more that the bills need to be paid. She will not produce the checkbook (I write out the checks; I've done it this way, with her permission, for years, because her hand is shaky). I would like to have help from the bank; they mentioned "joint owner." But their website only mentions that term in connection with teenagers, not people in their late 80s.

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My Mom is in a Memory Care Unit at the local nursing home and all she wants is some money for her purse so that she can go out to eat with the other residents or get her hair done (even though this money usually comes out of the resident’s “Trust Fund” at the nursing home).

I type up a sheet of paper with our checking accounts balances (we have one for each farm) and the monthly budget of what has been paid and what needs to be paid. 99% of our utilities are BILL PAY. Our farm-related expenses cannot be BILLPAY so they have to be manual checks. After we review the pieces of paper with the account balances and the budget, Mom says, “Okay.” and doesn’t ask for more information. I make sure she has $10 of one dollar bills in her purse and that she has money in her “Trust Fund” at the nursing home.

All of our accounts are currently joint accounts. I have lived with Mom in her house (since Dad died) and not worked for 10 years because (1) Mom didn't want me to work except part-time, (2) I couldn't find a part-time job in my specialty in this rural location, and (3) my health doesn't allow me to commute 60-90 minutes to a job. I will need to make some changes now that she is in a nursing home. (No hurry as she is 87 years old and will be private pay until she is age 95+.) We have 3-ring notebooks for each checking account (and each farm) which makes it easy to look up for tax time. I also do online banking with all of the accounts and I make sure that I hit “Print Screen” button during each transaction, copy the screen image to a WORD Document, print the screen image and put it in the 3-ring binders also.

Dougiemonty1, since your Mom isn’t showing much interest in her checking accounts, just show her what she is interested in and leave it at that. Have all of the bank statements mailed to you and make sure that you are on your Mom’s accounts as DPOA so that you can sign checks for her without being accused of stealing her money. Keep blank checks at your house. Do NOT put any of your own money into your Mom’s accounts due to Medicaid requirements. Sign her checks as: “Your name DPOA for Your Mom’s name”. Talk to her bank to see what requirements they have for you to sign checks as DPOA and to meet Medicaid requirements.
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She gets her deposits direct, and the only notification is in the bank statement. This is one of the things she says "Baloney!" to when I tell her.
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Doug, I see that you've posted your solution while I was typing. Still, if you can convince your mother and take her to the bank, discuss with your banker the benefits of having a joint account, with your mother's name first and yours second. The account should be set up as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship."

Then when she passes, you can still use the account. If you're merely proxy under a DPOA, that authority ceases when she dies. And believe me, you'll need that authority to sign sooner than you think as any authority under a POA ceases on death.

So think long time - what assets can you immediately access after she passes (I'm not trying to be maudlin, just realistic)? Assuming other assets have to be retitled, you need immediate access for potential last illness costs as well as funeral and/or burial costs, and as well for payment of the bills.

I'm still working on retitling asses but had a palliative care and cemetery plot costs to pay and couldn't have done it w/o access to the joint account.
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Thanks...but what I am specifically concerned with at this point is short-term costs, such as her sending me to get stuff for lunch or dinner. We might go to a fast-food place or a restaurant and I would rather she use her debit card to pay, because the bills in the wallet go fast.
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I have another problem. Though her account balance is adequate, she will not acknowledge that she even has one...all she admits to having is what cash she has in her wallet. I point out the balance and regular deposits made into her account--I have seen her monthly statements--and she says "Baloney!" I have a good mind to tell her that if she doesn't want the money in her account I will be only too happy to take it off her hands.
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I have finally succeeded in using the "secure" URL to get access to her account...we had to return to the bank and talk to an official there, and I got an "app" on my Smartphone.
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OK, Barb. I made the correction; I got to the correct subheading in Nolo. Thanks. :)
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Did you copy and paste it into your browser? You can also Google " convenience accounts"
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To Barb Brooklyn: When I tried that "Nolo" URL I got a Not Found message...
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Thanks to all...I'll check these things out. :)
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I was lucky, Mom realized years ago she was having problems. She called all the companies she paid and put me on the account to notify if payment wasn't made. When Dad died a new will was done and POA for financial and medical naming me. I was put on her bank accounts. I also called each company and found out where to send a copy of my POA so it will show on her account so I can talk to them.
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Dougie - I have Bank of America account. So, does my mother. I pay ALL my bills online. For you to pay all your mother's bills online, you need:

1) Go to secure.bankofamerica.com/login/enroll/entry/olbEnroll.go?request_locale=en_US

Copy and paste the link above. You will see two boxes asking for information.

2) Put in her account number or her ATM card number
3) Put in her social security number

Then click Continue
4) Follow the instructions to create an online ID and password
5) Follow the instructions to choose and answer secret questions.
6) You will also be asked to put in your cell phone number so that you can be sent a code when you access the account from a new computer.

Once you finish the process, you now can access the account by going to

https://www.bankofamerica.com/

From there, you can put in the ID, and password that you just create, and will have access to the account. You then can set up bill payments. You will need to know the payee names, addresses, and account numbers (utilities, credit card, etc.)

It is not difficult, just takes a little time. Once it's all set up, it's a breeze to use.

If possible, I highly recommend you open a B of A account for yourself at a branch, then have the bank rep walk you through all the steps to have online access and setting up bill payment and you can ask questions in person. Once you know how to do it, you can do the same for your mother's account.
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nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/convenience-accounts-powers-attorney.html

I think what you want to set up is called a Convenience Account.
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Dougie, if this is mom's money--her pension, SS, etc., you don't want to be the primary owner of the account. I believe, on the face of it, that would look like theft.

In addition, if you think at some point you might need to apply for Medicaid, you don't want there to be any questions raised about whose funds are whose.

I think you want to talk to her bank manager about the best way to title the account, if she agrees.
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bills.bankofamerica.com/wps8307/wps?rq=gf&sp=neutral&file=ebills_setup_autopay_full_nav_how.htmlt
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I don't even know if that's available.
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Can you set up payments on autopay?
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Yes, I know...the big problem with conservatorship (rather than guardianship, which in California refers to minors) is that we have to go to the big courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, which is about 20 miles from here. I also do legal research and writing for an attorney, and he may be able to arrange for me to get a court order to give me access to her account.
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As long as there is no disagreement with brother, and mother is still resisting, I'd probable arrange for her to sign it unknowingly. Maybe next time she goes to the doc, slip it into paperwork that she has to sign? Or fake some type of paperwork that she needs to sign for Social Security? It depends on how "with it" she is. The alternative is to go the legal route of getting guardianship, etc.
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I would likely be "primary" in that situation...my mother and I live in the same place, in Gardena, CA. My brother lives near Phoenix, AZ, and comes out here only occasionally.
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Dougie, do you think your Mom will understand what is the reason for having a Power of Attorney? It is best to have two names on the POA, like you and your brother having equal power if you both tend to think the same way. Otherwise, one of you could be "primary" and the other "secondary".

When I had taken my parents to see an Elder Law Attorney, the Attorney had to make sure that my parents understood what they were signing. Even though my Mom was in her late 90's, the Attorney let my Mom be "primary" with me being "secondary" for my Dad's POA. Similar with my Mom's POA. This worked out quite well. While there, my parents updated their very outdated Wills, made out Medical Directives which they never had before, and even a Trust.
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Well, I did get Durable Power of Attorney papers, and my younger brother will be out here in a few days...if he can talk her into consenting to P of A the battle is won...I'd hate to think we would be evicted because she doesn't understand we have to pay the rent. (I was going to tell her that I had a good mind to take some checks from a pad of new checks in her desk, write them out, and use the signature stamp she keeps in her purse (made for her by the bank) and pay the bills with those.)
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Dougie, my Dad got to a point where he was throwing out the bills thinking they were junk mail.  So I asked if I could handle his billing [I was his financial Power of Attorney] and he was more than happy to hand this chore over to me.

To get everything started, I took Dad to his bank and asked the Bank Manager what to do so that I could write out the checks plus sign them.  The Manager helped us set up the account to make that possible.  It was quite easy, the Bank Manager was so very helpful :)

Next step, I had all the bills redirected to my address, thus no fear of recycling an unpaid bill, like before :P

Then I bought some 3-ring binders so I could file the bills along with copies of the checks, just in case I needed such paperwork in the future.
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