My mother has a Bank of America account. She is losing the understanding of the need to pay monthly bills...any suggestions? - AgingCare.com

My mother has a Bank of America account. She is losing the understanding of the need to pay monthly bills...any suggestions?

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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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Reply to DeeAnna
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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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Reply to Dougiemonty1
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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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Reply to GardenArtist
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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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Reply to Dougiemonty1
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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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Reply to Dougiemonty1
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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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Reply to Dougiemonty1
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OK, Barb. I made the correction; I got to the correct subheading in Nolo. Thanks. :)
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Reply to Dougiemonty1
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Did you copy and paste it into your browser? You can also Google " convenience accounts"
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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To Barb Brooklyn: When I tried that "Nolo" URL I got a Not Found message...
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Reply to Dougiemonty1
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Thanks to all...I'll check these things out. :)
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Reply to Dougiemonty1
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