Oh the painful Tax Day cometh – it's complicated! Any guidance?

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Once again it’s going to be tax time again soon, and deadlines are deadlines. Mom has a whole slew of investments, and receives all the K1’s and 1099’s. Before she used to have some of them sent to my address, but during the year she managed to change it, and now many of the documents are going to her. She’s a hoarder, so no documents end up in a file; they are just hidden around in various places. For the most part she’s completely unable to take care of any financial matters – I have to do that for her. For example, while looking for documents I found refund checks she had received but never deposited. Last year when we filed the taxes, we literally had to make up the numbers. I had based them on the numbers from the year before, but I have no idea what the end numbers really are. Every time I ask for a POA she calls me a “Crook!” I know this is just part of the dementia, but last night it just wore me down too far. Anyone else find themselves in the quandary? Now here’s where it gets complicated. My mother disinherited me years ago in a trust agreement where she left everything to UCLA. There’s a paragraph in that agreement that states that if she becomes incompetent that the trustees have the right to take physical possession of my mother and her assets. That was the first thing they told me after my Dad passed away earlier this month. The second thing they asked was if the property insurance was current, and the property taxes were paid. I did think about obtaining guardianship, but that would just make me financially liable for any mistakes on my part – besides which, I really don’t care about looking after UCLA’s future assets – or pardon me, whatever is left over after the attorney in question gouges the estate for fees. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

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Mterpin, given your clarifications, I think you should at least consult with a good elder-law attorney. If you can't afford one, then call your state's Legal Aid office to see if they can provide some help. You also might ask an attorney about contacting the bar association in the state where the trust's attorney lives about your suspicion that the attorney is not following your mother's wishes.
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Thanks for all your comments.

First off let me get one thing straight - I am guestimating her income om the high side - the IRS will never have a problem with overpaying taxes, it's just when you underpay that they have a problem. But after reading the posts, I am inclined to call the IRS (or better still have the CPA call) and ask if they have records of the 1099s on file. I do get most of them sent to me, but there are a few that go to her, and those disappear.

Secondly, though her trust states that everything goes to UCLA, she wants to leave it to me - the problem is that there may be an attorney involved who is not following her wishes. I have often asked her why she always called me whenever she had a problem, and not UCLA, and her answer was always that I was her daughter. Talk about crazy-making!!

Additionally, both wills may not be honored here because there are different laws regarding inheritance down here. It's likely that even the trust will not be honored.

Besides I'm afraid of them (the attorney) taking possession of her, and moving her back to L.A. where I would not be able to see her again.
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I'm going to change my input a little and go with the comment by mek1951. Give her the name of an elder lawyer and step away. I think my way was ok, but it involves more stress for you. Do what you can and then wash your hands of the entire ordeal.
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Unless you have been legally designated to have the resposibility and liability for your Mom's finances, you don't have to do anything. I'd ignore doing a tax return for her and letting the IRS contact her if it's a problem. First off, you don't have to file a return if you owe no tax, but in order to get a refund of any withholding, you have to file. Also, if not filing is not an option, be sure her income level meets the threshold for having to file.
Next, I'd have a knock down drag out with her and let her know if she wants anymore help from you, that she'll have to "un-disinherit" you and provide you with some financial support for the work you are doing for her. So what if she calls you a crook. Your comments make it sound as if she's still living alone. What's she going to do when she can't be alone anymore. You have to be the strong one and say "this is how it's going to be, or can expect no further help from me."
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Please consider just stepping back. Put a trustworthy lawyer in touch with her, and let her do what she feels she must. If she won't let you help, you are stuck, and arranging backup for her is both ethical and kind.
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First, file for an extension, but pay what you calculate is due by April 17 (tax date this year), because you still need to pay what is due when due. Second, since you seem to know most of your mother's sources of income, call them and ask them to send her duplicate 1099s, K-1s. etc. If you ask them for duplicates sent to her, possibly some of the companies will send them without asking you to prove you have POA, which you don't. Assuming you have collected at least some of her 1099s and K-1s, from previous years, if her holdings remained the same, then an accountant should be able to determine the income values for these securities. With this collection of information, you might be able to get pretty close to her tax obligation. You still eventually will need the actual 1099, K-1s, etc.. Since your mother is still verbal, would you be able to tell her that she needs the documents to file and that you can't find them, and have her call for duplicates while you are with her?

There is still an issue of who signs your mother's return. As you probably know, even if you had POA, a separate POA is required for taxes. I am thus assuming your mother is still signing her own returns. Given all the issues, you probably want her to be legally responsible anyway!

I realize there will still be issues for the future, assuming you are not living near her if she still won't let you have POA. Get this year taken care of first!
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Good reminder to me that I need to update my files. I have always done my own taxes, but I know I may not always be able to do this. I have a financial manager who is in charge of my investments, and I have auto-pay for all my credit card bills. I first realized my late husband had dementia when he started getting late fees on his credit cards because he forgot to pay the bills.
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Since you are not her POA, you cannot legally do her taxes or have them done and signed by you. If she does not pay her taxes, they can come and take whatever money they decide that she owes them. The IRS does not care about a person's age or health (they didn't with my mother), and they will come after the money.
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mterpin,
So sorry for the loss of your dad. This is a difficult time for you, and it's time to tell UCLA it's time for them to take over your mom's affairs, as she directed when she was, presumably, in her right mind.
This was what she and your dad wanted to do, doing it will relieve you of a huge responsibility and hassle--maybe that was their intent, AND you will be in the far more pleasant position of being able to be her loving daughter and advocate instead of the "crook" who wants to worry her about finances all the time!
I would not take the advice someone gave about trying to "trick" the UCLA trustee. It is much more pleasant to be pleasant, and you will be treated with much more pleasant respect in return. I'm sure the trustee would be much more receptive of any suggestions you want to make regarding the care your mom is getting if you are helping them in any way you are able. Maybe you would like to see her get her hair done a couple times a month with her money. A trustee who is grateful for your help in sorting paperwork and cooperating about the disposition of personal effects is probably going to be more agreeable about getting your mom the care you think she needs.
If you are still trying to decide what to do about the taxes, I suggest a call to the attorney who drew up the trust paperwork. If that's the one who is "gouging," well, it's still the one your parents chose, right?
And, I wouldn't worry about the impending deadline, either. Not your problem. Realistically, if you don't even have POA, there's really nothing you can do legally about filing her taxes. They're her responsibility. So, what do you think the IRS can do? Put your mom in jail? Really?
Take a deep breath, do something you love to do, and go visit your mom with a nice bouquet of flowers or a box of candy. Smile and have a good visit remembering good times with your dad. Relax and be blessed.
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mterpin: Yes, I experienced something like this with my mother. She had her town's bookkeeper balance her checkbook. However, the bookkeeper was so bad at her job that she was $859 off FOR 8 MONTHS. My mother's response when I brought it up was "she'll get it right on month # 9." I said "No, mother, she does not get 9 chances to balance a checkbook. She either balances or she doesn't, whereby she adds or subtracts the amount to the account.
I don't think you should be "gestimating" income. The IRS is going to come aftee you with an audit.  Besides, it's UCLA's finances anyway.
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