A POA Question about property and stocks. - AgingCare.com

A POA Question about property and stocks.

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My mother is 90. I'm an only child.
She lives across the street from me. Her house is in her name.
I am her Durable, Financial, and Health POA.
She has mild to moderate dementia. She often threatens to sell the house and move away, if, for say, I don't take her shopping for a day or two.
Can she do this? I would love to avoid probate with regard to the house, and don't really understand the difference between putting the house into a trust, and transferring it (quick claim deed) to me. I know she would fight anything I tried to do, regardless of the fact that I am on her checking account at the bank, I take care of her meals, help her with everything, and am her personal driver for every errand. I am also literally her only friend, and am her only source of socializing and entertainment.
She won't have it any other way. She pushes everyone else away. (Example: another elderly lady in the neighborhood tried to befriend her. Mom said, "I don't like her; she scares me." I said, "why?" She responded, "She's too tall.")
So you see what I'm dealing with here. Again she is 90, and I have all POA papers.
I currently live in another house across the street that is owned by my boyfriend. Someday, I may need to live in my mom's house or we may choose to move into it. I don't know.
What can or what should I do?
We live in Florida.

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Get to a elder law attorney asap!!!
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I can't speak to how to handle the house and whether you should assert your POA but I'm not crazy about the suggestion of selling the stocks for CDs or savings accounts. Neither of them is earning anything right now and the stock market has gone gangbusters in the past year. You should be able to access money from the sales of stocks pretty quickly.

I took over my folks' finances and like you, worked to get a handle on what my mom and dad had and to consolidate and re-balance what they had. My dad hadn't done too much with it in the prior five years, so things did need to be looked at. I sold a few stinker stocks and cashed out CDs when they matured and interest rates started to fall. I put the proceeds into no-load broad stock and bond indexes. My dad had his stocks in a full-service stock broker, which charged an arm and a leg for paper clips. He used to do all of his stuff by phone, so those brokers made sense then. With the internet, we didn't need that and I didn't like paying all that money for nothing. I closed that out and transferred the account to one of the big providers who have extremely low costs. But that's just my family.

Talk to several different people about how to handle the money - and don't listen to people who want to manage your mom's stocks/bonds by getting money for their sales. I made the mistake of doing that and watched my mom's money go down before I wised up and took over the management myself. I read and read and read and read and now I'm comfortable that we've got a good mix of stocks and bonds and index funds that are balanced. Another option is to go to a fee-only advisor, where you pay them for their advice and they don't manage the money, so they have no interest in making commissions off of what they tell you to do. Good luck, it sounds like your mom is a handful!
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Speak with her drs and see if you can get them to write a letter documenting her condition and invoking her DPOA. Since you already use it in some measure for banking there shouldn't be a problem. In all financial matters, make sure whatever you do you keep good records of transactions and you sign "Molly smith as DPOA for Mrs Margarite Smith".

As far as stocks, try first to conversation with mom and sort out what she has in one list. You should be able to find some info from tax returns or tax records which send you annual statements for her stock holdings. Research each on internet, check ratings and risk levels on Morningstar.com and then talk to mom about minimizing the losers and high risk ones and possibly selling and putting into short term CDs or savings acct for mom. She might be open if you tell her it's to preserve her assets and keep her liquid should she want to buy a new place, go into residential care, take a vacation, etc.

Dementia can make parents paranoid and distrustful even of their own children so do what you can with her. If she still refuses and truly has dementia, then act on her behalf and make the change for her. Whatever you do, again keep good records and make sure all that money minus transaction costs, losses, etc are accounted for and put into a CD or savings account for her.

Don't worry about selling house. If it is part of estate and part of will and she tries to sell, contest the sale and say she has dementia and not competent to authorize sale. That should stop it.

Make sure house is part of will/estate so you have something when she passes.

That's all you can do.
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Take her to tour some assisted living centers. If she finds one she likes, move her in, sell the house and use the money to pay for her care. It might help you to talk to an Elder Attorney or Financial Advisor on the proper way to handle all this.
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I forgot to mention the stocks. She has stocks all over the place. I want to consolidate them under one umbrella. Do I have the right to do this without her consent? She has no idea what stocks she even has. She wants me to pay all her bills and has no problem giving me her checkbook and debit card to hold and handle, but she wants to still feel like she is in charge...
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