I have POA over Mom, am I responsible for her bills she can't pay? - AgingCare.com

I have POA over Mom, am I responsible for her bills she can't pay?

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My mom live with me and my husband, she had LBD and Parkinson's. She has quit a few credit card bills that there is no way she can pay. Her only income is her SS check and she owns nothing at all. Her income goes for her meds, depends and other misc. she needs. When I get all that she usually has maybe 30-40 dollars left to her name. What I need to know am I responsible for her bills and can they come after me. I am getting letters from dept collectors to her coming and going. Thanks for any help.

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I think I will see a debt Counseling. Not worried so much about the IRS as was said they are getting theirs. As for the car my mom gave it to me the same day she made me POA as a gift. She said she couldn't drive and knows I will drive her around. At that time is was in sound mind. I don't understand why she couldn't gift me her car and I would have to pay for it.
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Maggie, the reason I suggested bankruptcy was to put a stop to all the collections, and the continued accrual of interest on debts that probably can't ever be paid off completely.

An agreement with the creditors could effect a similar result. The debts would be capped, and paydown could begin rather than continuing to accrue interest.

I don't think that a nominal payment would ever pay off the debts, though.

As you pointed out, her mother's credit score isn't that important at this stage of life, so that might also suggest that indicating a willingness to pay is also unimportant.

I'm not challenging your statement; you raise some good points. And I do agree that debt counseling with a qualified individual would provide more insight into the options available so Kiki can be more comfortable about the situation.
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You are not responsible for her bills, even tax shortfalls. Personally, I wouldn't bother with bankruptcy. I mean, do you really care about her credit score? If she can't afford to pay her bills, she can't afford to pay an attorney for a bankruptcy. If I were you, I'd use my mom's money to pay $5 a month to each of her credit cards (indicating a willingness to pay) and forget about it. Tax shortfalls, as you've seen, are another kettle of fish. The IRS will get theirs.

Pam above has the right idea. Call a debt counselor through your senior services department. They'll help you more than you know.
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To get back to the original question, a POA cannot be held responsible for unpaid debts unless they did something wrong with the assets. Unfortunately, putting the car in your name is "something wrong". A POA cannot benefit from their position. You might want to correct the error by paying for the car at the market value it had at the time of transfer.
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Vegaslady, she owed around 4k not a whole lot but enough. When she worked she would claim more dependents then she had so she could get most of her check. Then pay it back, But the last few years she worked she couldn't pay back. I don't know how she did this but she did. I know when I worked I claimed 0 then claimed dependents at the end of year. They are taking 189 a month out of ss check now to pay back.
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VegasLady, thanks for clarifying the issues about IRS levies. I was sure you could help.
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It is possible to have some IRS taxes discharged in a bankruptcy, but it's too complicated to explain here. I think Chapter 7 doesn't sound like a bad idea. It would also get the levy on her SS released. If she'll owe taxes after the bk, talk to the IRS about a voluntary payment plan. If she owes a relatively small amount that should be doable on your own without paying someone to do it for her. If you do hire someone get an accountant who deals with the IRS in collection matters or an Enrolled Agent (licensed by the IRS). Most wage earners don't owe taxes, it's usually people who are self employed. What happened with her? Would you mind giving an approximation of how much she owes in taxes? You aren't liable for her debts as explained by others. A good bankruptcy attorney could probably solve all of this.
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I wouldn't normally even suggest this and am not sure it's possible given her dementia status, but have you considered bankruptcy for her, if you have a durable power of attorney from her? It sounds as though there are insufficient assets to satisfy her debts, and if she has retains comprehension of this, it may contribute to physical and/or mental deterioration.

On the debt issues, it may take some time to determine which are valid, but I assume you're also responding in writing to the debt collectors? If you don't respond pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the debts will be considered valid, even if they aren't.

I don't think IRS debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy, and I'm not sure how much credit cards debts could be due to some legislation that was passed during the Great Recession, but it might be a way out. Just something to consider.
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Only thing I am on is her account for her SS check as I am Representative Payee and that account is only for her check to be deposited into. She has no assets any money she had she blew when she lived alone. Her car was paid for but when she couldn't drive anymore she gave it to me and it went in my name but like I said it was already paid for.
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P.S. VegasLady used to work for the IRS. Perhaps she'll have some suggestions on handling the IRS levy.
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