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Need advice .
I know he can't handle finances but he insisted and I gave him control. How do I untangle myself financially? He was never officially deemed incompetent. Help

Imho, you should not resign financial Power of Attorney until you know the ramifications of doing so.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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It is my understanding that a doctor does not make the ultimate decision that someone is legally incompetent. A petition must be filed in court and it is a legal matter for someone to become guardian over another person’s finances or person.
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Reply to VickiRuff
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For a few years I "helped" my mom with her finances. In the beginning she and I sat down together and talked about what she wanted done. Since my handwriting and computer skills were better than hers, I wrote checks and did the computer stuff at her direction. That's when I got the PoA. When she couldn't understand paperwork, I looked it over and explained it to her. If it was too much for her, I "took care of it." Over the years she passed more and more to me without any complaints. One summer she started sorting things and getting rid of unfamiliar items including papers she didn't understand any more, so I arranged for all her bills to come to my house. Now, she occasionally asks me if I took care of that thing I was supposed to take care of. I reassure her that I did.
I understood that she just wanted to feel like she had control over her life, and I gave her as much as I could and quietly took care of whatever else needed to be done.
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Reply to Cynthiasdaughtr
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I know this sounds old fashioned, but I still use checks to manage moms bills and sign everything POA. Even when I placed mom in assisted living and they wanted a signature for who was liable for payment, I signed my name and POA.  All that means is you are signing on their behalf.

Unless he goes to a lawyer and has you removed as POA, you still have that role.

 If you  do not have "guardianship" of him, he is responsible for his own actions.  That doesn't mean as his daughter and POA that you won't be cleaning up whatever mess he makes, but you are not personally liable for his actions.  He is.  I agree with other posters to stay on top of his bank account and charge cards so that you can address things quickly when you see something isn't right....like making a double payment or no payment at all.  Or making a crazy purchase, etc.

My mom had been sending checks weekly (donation) to a food bank but was not making her house payment. :-(  Then she would hide her checkbook and tell me someone broke in and stole it.  That's when I finally took things over.

Good Luck
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Isthisrealyreal Feb 25, 2021
Jamesj, you do not have to go to an attorney to revoke POA from someone. A letter dismissing them is sufficient. It must be in writing is the only requirement.

Just wanted to let you know what is actually required so you don't get caught out.
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I wouldn't give it up but go over the finances with him and give him piece of mind. I bet he will get tired of it after a few meetings.
Id also keep an eye out of scammers. They do cold calls and actually pay for lists from unscrupulous merchants. Thats why an email is never good enuff. They always want your phone number too. Ridiculous.
So someone needs to monitor whats going on. And make sure your dad is protected.
If you turn it over to him and you relinquish POA your going to have to fight to get it back if he is infirm or something happens. Thats an unnecessary cost. Dont do it. Good luck
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Reply to Jasmina
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Please take him to his regular primary care doctor for an "annual physical" and ask the doctor to make a referral to a neurologist to test for dementia (there are 3 types). The neurologist, or an on-the-ball primary care doctor, can determine if he is "mentally incompetent." If he is mentally incompetent, then you should resume care of your father's finances. You'll have the legal right to do so.

In the meantime, many people with dementia do not realize that they have a problem - sounds like your dad. I suggest you streamline his finances to make it easier on him - and you. Get as many bills paid automatically from his account. Also set up online access with all financial institutions so you can track his expenditures. Tell dad that this will allow you to check to make sure his accounts do not get hacked. If he is likely to share his account information without discernment, consider getting him a reloadable gift card from one of the major credit card companies as his regular credit card/debit card. That way he can only spend the amount your place on it and keep him out of financial hot water. Make sure to "store" his bank information, credit card, debit card, checkbook in a secure location - at your house.
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Reply to Taarna
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Here’s my 2 cents...

I agree with JoAnn29 that you can still play an active role by monitoring his expenses. That means you must have access to his credit card account, update his CC to alert you of every charge on the card, have access to his bank acct, utilities accts, etc.. - everything! You are still in the driver’s seat and he’s only an authorized user.

Don’t give up your POA role. Very messy later.
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Reply to Worriedspouse
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Don't give up POA, but keep records!! I have a notebook that I record everything. I too am POS for dad in NJ. But he is feeling he is losing control of his life! So talk to him. Which bills would be like to take over?? Start with only one. You say, dad I took over when you had a stroke because I didn't want your bills to be forgotten but you sound like you would love to do them yourself. So Which Bill would you like to start with. Let him pay one bill, maybe phone bill? I was in same situation, dad also had a stroke, in and out of hospital and rehab. So I let him start with the Star Ledger, figured if he didn't pay he just wouldn't get his paper. I am able to go online and check what he was doing in his checkbook. I originally had statement sent to me I'm in Florida, but then he was worried, where was his money. Etc. So I had bank send statements to his home. So now he can see where the money is going. After paying his paper bill, he decided it was easier for me to do it. So just remember, he is losing the life he once knew, poor guy. He needs some control to feel better about himself. My dad is 98. And does do the "why am I still here?" dance, but I tease him as mom doesn't want you up There yet! ! We go a couple of weeks being happy and then he starts again. But he always had a great sense of humor, so I find another funny excuse why. Let me know if you need anymore help, I am in same situation as you!!
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Reply to Barbeem
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jacobsonbob Feb 25, 2021
Barbeem, it looks as if you have worked out an excellent plan!

BTW I grew up in Union Twp, NJ, so five states later your mention of the Star-Ledger brings back memories!
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If I were you I would contact an Elder law Attorney , they are not cheap but it will give you piece of mind . My Attorney charges $225 for the first hour and it was well worth it to me .
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Reply to Goesel7
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Mare Sure your Dad signs something and have it notarized that he releases you and you are no longer his POA.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Your profile says Dad had a stroke, is this why u became POA and started handling his finances? If your POA says needs a diagnosis from one or two doctors claiming he is incompetent to be in effect, then not much you can do if there is no diagnosis.

First, as long as you paid Dads bills online or by check you have a paper trail. His bank statements will show the transactions. If you paid out of pocket and reimbursed yourself then I hope you kept the receipts. I used an envelope. Stapled the recipes together with the check number I used on them. I only reimbursed myself once a month. Had them by year. As long as you haven't used any of Dads money for yourself, you should be ok.

You are not responsible for what Dad does. I am on my nephews accounts. So I can see where the money goes. I transfer every month from hiscannuity to his cking acct what he needs to live on. My daughter just set automatic bill pay for herself. Can u do that with Dad?

As said, I would not give up the POA. It is an important tool you may need later.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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You're not liable for anything if he wants to handle his own finances and still has the faculties to do that. You say you “gave in”. Does that mean he rescinded his POA? I hope not. You can still be his agent and let him do his own finances. If he does that, you might want to monitor as closely as you can just what he is spending his money on. For you to take over his finances he doesn't have to be incompetent, unless he has a springing POA which would define what incompetency means, who has to declare it, and what triggers your involvement. A durable financial POA becomes effective when it is signed. This means you can sign for him as POA immediately. This could be the case where he forgot to pay a bill and you have to send the check. If you are handling his assets, you will be held accountable to insure that what you do is in his best interest. You must keep records of anything you do on his behalf. If he rescinded the POA, you have no say in his financial matters.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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You are only responsible for the financial transactions that you did on behalf of your dad.

Keep the records in case he or someone decides to claim impropriety on your behalf.

If your dad has not been declared incompetent he is legally able and allowed to handle his finances, even if he is making a huge mess of them.

Please do not resign from being his POA. You are not responsible for his actions but, you will have a hard time getting him to reassign you as POA when he will need it the most.

A POA means that you can act on your dads behalf, as he has requested or as he would personally do if he was of sound mind. It makes you a fudiciary and you are accountable to only use his money for his wellbeing. You can not benefit from this position, unless it specifically states that you are to be paid.

I recommend that everyone goes to their states attorney general website and read what it means to be a POA for someone and what you are legally responsible for. This will help you understand and be confident in your role as his legal representative.

Again, please do not resign until you fully understand what you are responsible for according to your state laws. You will find that you need this authority in the future. The only thing that I would recommend, if you are joint account holder with him on any accounts, remove yourself, because you will be responsible for those accounts as a joint owner. Have him assign POD if he intends for you to get the money after his death.

Good luck. It is such a challenge when they are in that in between state. I know.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Holyo, kudos to you for being your dad's financial POA for a year. In your profile you don't list dementia or incompetence among your dad's problems, but your current post suggests you think he should now be determined to be incompetent. In answer the question about your own liability, given that you've been doing his finances for a while, I suggest that you write, sign, and have notarized a letter resigning your POA appointment and give copies of that resignation to all of your dad's financial institutions. Then, if you want to try to protect your dad, you could follow the steps outlined by AlvaDeer involving Adult Protective Services, possibly, but not necessarily, culminating with a guardianship petition. These are hard decisions to make and some of the processes will be hard on both you and your dad. Best wishes for both of you on this journey.
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Reply to bicycler
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If your Dad was not deemed incompetent at any point you are ABSOLUTELY NOT liable. He is considered competent. A POA is something he asked of you, conferred upon you and he has now retrieved it. Were this my Dad and he refused evaluation, before I "untangled" myself I would open an Adult Protective Service file on him, telling them that you feel he is incompetent, he gave you POA and you are currently doing his finances. I would have all records I have kept at hand. I would ask for wellness check and with assist in getting Dad evaluated and guidance on how to get guardianship. NONE of this would be easy and it would be necessary that Dad is DEFINITELY VERY incompetent, as he would otherwise win in any court case for guardianship in which he would be provided counsel at law. Were you to lose you would pay court costs, which can be large; were you to win his estate pays.
Only you know how much danger Dad is in now. If he is somewhat competent then this is his choice. Go to banks and other entities and explain you have been removed by your Dad. Walk away and do not walk back. Be there for Dad in some other way, and assume that yes, his money is no longer safe. Explain to your Dad that you will never help in this way again, that you won't abandon him, but you also will not take him in when his money is gone, nor protect him financially again. Let him go to a paid Fiduciary in future.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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A POA doesn't come into effect until the person for whom the POA is for is deemed incompetent, so if your father hasn't been deemed incompetent yet, then your roll as POA is null and void until he is, and whatever he does with his finances is on him, not you. Best wishes.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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Tothill Feb 23, 2021
This is true in some cases but not all.

I know personally of several cases where for reasons that did not include being deemed incompetent a person has assigned POA to someone else. In some cases in a limited manner, POA prepares the person's income taxes, but the person handles the rest of their finances.

Another where the husband was a spendthrift and when the house was sold to protect the funds from him, they were divided between them and a POA put in place to handle each of their funds.
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