What do you do when you have no way to control the money your Dad (83) is spending? - AgingCare.com

What do you do when you have no way to control the money your Dad (83) is spending?

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And you are worried for their financial health? My dad is 83 years old and has always been a penny pincher. Over the last few years we have seen him change mentally but are unable to get medical support to back this up. He is making very bad financial choices, such as saying he is going to start a business and has several hidden storage units full of stuff he has bought. He won't tell us anything or my mom. He says it is non of our business and we don't know anything. We have no idea where to start as some days he is completely component but those days are getting more and more rare. We have talked about declaring him incompetent but they don't know if we have enough evidence as it is very hard to do. We are now getting calls from neighbors and church members that are very concerned. We feel helpless and short of letting him drive them to financial ruin we don't know what to do. Talking to him hasn't helped just makes him more aggressive and non trusting. He refuses to let us help or know what he is doing. Any suggestions of who to talk to or what to do would be appreciated.

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I agree with ConcernedDtr ... you can have a Durable POA which can be given based on his deteriorated mental capacity. Check with an attorney. It is not expensive to get that done, and you and your mom will pay for it out of their checking account.
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Do you have Power of Attorney set up? I recommend doing that. It's helped me as I handle my father's finances. I've had to work with dad's banks when he started taking out loans that now he can't afford the monthly payments. POA is easier to set up than guardianship. I agree you and your mom should talk to your local Pro Sr. which is an attorney who is knowledgeable about elder law.
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When my Dad got bad, he and mom already had a trust, and POA and HIPPA papers were already put together, but not signed off by them...waiting for the right time. If Mom is also concerned, then you and she could have an app't with the attorney who did the trust and explain your concerns. In my case, the attorney offered to be the 'bad guy' who told my folks it was time to sign off on the POA and let me help with bills and money. He pretended to call them in to 'update' the trust and then asked Dad some key questions and got around to Dad saying his memory wasn't good anymore...and got the conversations going that way. Otherwise, if MD won't help by making an assessment, you may actually need to suggest a geriatric specialist who deals in elderly care all the time. We did things in stages....and just anticipate that even if all this gets set up, there will be fighting and arguing until your Dad gets worse to where he just doesn't care about money and stuff. All the others above me have good ideas. Getting your name on the accounts does permit you then to move money to other accounts etc, especially if you have POA. You may need to leave him with an account that has 'some' money in it.....so he feels he still has control, but if he doesn't pay attention to balances, that won't work. Does he pay the bills now? Or does Mom? Would Mom agree to getting bills on auto pay, so they get covered from a different account and Dad just has spending money in his account? My Dad was missing bills, losing them, throwing them away. And he was OK with me paying bills ...but sometimes would flip into HE was in charge. He even went back to fire the attorney who had them sign for me to be POA, saying he never agreed to that. Then we had to get the two MDs to say he was no longer able. Attorney called him in and told him what doctors said. He never argued after that, and very soon, didn't even want me to show him what I had paid and how much. Lost all interest, other than to periodically ask if he still had enough money and were his bills getting paid. Now he's in a facility and has no memory of anything connected with bills or money at all. He can visit and socialize pretty well, and talks about taking Mom out to dinner and about doing things that would cost money, but has no thoughts about whether or not he has money to do the things he talks about. Course he talks about going to work and getting paid sometimes too.... But with your dad, obviously, something has changed and you and Mom do need to get to the bottom of it in order to know if you are dealing with a physical illness, a med adjustment or demential/Alzheimer's type of thing. I wish you the best....
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First get Adult Protective Services involved. The more evidence you can gather, the better your case in Court to have him declared incompetent or at the very least under a 72 hr. hold in a psychiatric hospital so he can be adequately evaluated. Sounds like a mental illness with hoarding involved and he does need help. Document all the people who are calling to address their concerns about him. Discuss his behaviors with your mother too. This requires an immediate intervention. Good luck!
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I agree with Laura. I also have durable power of attny just in case something happens and that's what helped my dad understand me being put on all accts./trusts, etc. Maybe you can get your mom a pretend drs. appt. and your dad can go along. Call dr. ahead of time to let them in on it so dr. can interact with dad and see what's going on. We did that with my mom because she wouldn't go to dr. because she didn't think anything was wrong with her. It was "all of us". After she answered the same question over and over (along with with getting impatient and angry) dr. could document what he observed. that will give you some leverage for legal matters.
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All good advice, in the meantime see if you can cut off the contacts with whom he is making these transactions. Internet, phone, mail. I had to turn the ringer off our house phone and intercept all the mail.
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Sounds like dad may have dementia. If he hasn't had a full medical workup, he needs one if you can get him there as sometimes medical issues can mimic dementia. You need 2 doctor's statements saying your dad is incapable to make complex decisions on his own. I agree you need to speak with an attorney, one that specializes in guardianship and/or elder law.
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Guardianship if your worried about him or Conservator if your just worried about his money.
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If you don't have a Durable Power of Attorney, try to get one. Tell him it is for much later and just in case he has a car wreak or something he is likely to believe. Work with his doctor and document odd behavior. He needs a diagnosis.
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If he has been financial stable his whole life then all of a sudden he starts doing irresponsible things, it sounds like something is definitely going wrong in the brain area. It could be new medication, old medication that needs to be tweaked or a combination of meds that don't interact well with each other OR that he is declining in his brain health. Even if your mother is on every account, you need to be also. Just in case something happens to her unexpectedly or even the both of them it will make things a lot easier on You. My mom has dementia/alzheimer's and luckily my dad was very compliant on this. My husband and I both have gone through a lot of care giving with his parents and now mine so my dad had seen what could happen. It's like teenagers.....they never (or adults too) think anything will ever happen to them when they do dumb things but we all know it can and does. We put doing the right things off until it's too late. If you are not on all the accounts I would get your mom to go with you and sign your name to everything. Your dad might have to sign also. I can't remember but don't think my mom had to since she was already on. We also put everything into a Trust. That seemed to throw my dad at first but now is glad we did. He thought he would be giving all his money to me but now he knows it is for tax reasons and that it will be so much easier on me when he passes. You might tell you dad (when he is in his good mind) that if something were to happen to both of them you could not get to their money and everything would fall on you. I'm not sure why it's so hard to get this documented. My mother's doctor could tell right away that something was going on and this was when she first started having trouble. People from their Sunday School class noticed it as well. Well, I guess I've gone on long enough. Could talk about this for days. Good luck to each one of you and although I don't know you personally I pray for you everyday. It's so hard.
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