My father (87) was recently diagnosed with Esophogal cancer and has asked to pursue palliative care rather than surgery or chemo. I speak to him regularly but he is very discreet about his own situation. The woman from the firm that holds his POA and manages his care contacted me today with the following request:
"He is working with his attorney preparing some legal documents and needs some information. Are you able to provide the following?
Your full name
Your date of birth
Your Social Security Number"
I wanted to check first before handing over this information. I contacted my father and he confirmed that he was in touch with his attorney for his will. I contacted his attorney by email asking if I there was a time that I could speak directly to provide this information, rather than email.
The attorney responded "I can understand your wariness when asked to provide personal information. It’s unfortunate that we are living in a world where such caution is advisable." And the attorney included a detailed explanation about the POA person that made the request to me as well as a copy of the current will, testifying to that person's character, then stated "Please let me know if this addresses your concerns."
However, the attorney did not explain what my SS# and birthdate was needed for and did not provide any suggested times that I could be in touch.
Should I continue to insist on a direct contact?

Nothing would be out of ordinary to go meet with this person from firm with POA and give personal info then. Don't forward anything via email or by phone. Protects everyone.
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Reply to LuvingSon

If you are to be a heir and his estate goes thru probate, there will be some sort of distribution of estates assets paperwork filed with the court. In order to do the distribution, usually there will be W-9 filled out with the heirs name and address & SS # or Trust info if it’s going via Testamentary Trust. I bet that the law firm wants this info on you ahead of time just to have it all run smoother once he dies.

If his estate is large, he may have several folks or organizations getting $. And in order to do the distribution, everybody named in the will has to get their W9 filled out & back to the firm. It’s usually a time sensitive search done, so like if 20 heirs and 2 don’t get paperwork back after 2 or 3 attempts (based on the contact info you provided), those 2 could get left out but 18 who were good on paperwork divvy up $ by 18.

when you send the info in, I’d suggest you do so via certified mail with the return registered card (duo is abt $8.00 USPO) and have a brief memo asking for them to provide you a copy of the will or it’s codicil. I’d think they would provide that to you unless your father specifically has placed in Writing the contents cannot be shared till after death. Probate I think is open records in all states, so you can see it & get a copy from the court once it’s filed after death. But sometimes it’s helpful to know what might be coming you way as often there tax implications on inherited stuff. Also you may want to include a name & contact info for whoever is your beneficiary &/or your spouse. You never know if you might be hit by a bus and predecease 87 yr old dad.
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Reply to igloo572

Yes, I think ur wise to be cautious, given all the unscrupulous activities we hear about every day! Hope all turns out well for you.
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Reply to Tiger55

Thanks - yes the POA is listed in the will as the executor. The POA said that this information was necessary for Annuity Beneficiary documents. The lawyer said that there was a revocable living trust was created for my parents, but that the trust is defunct - meaning that it has no assets.
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Reply to sleepless44

Sleepless44, I was also thinking in the same lines as JoAnn, that maybe your Dad is having a Revocable Trust prepared. I know in my Trust, I had to give the legal full names, birthdays, and social security numbers of those beneficiaries in the Trust.
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Reply to freqflyer

I really don't see a problem here. Its a legal office. You have confirmed that the person is who they say they are. If u want, just give the last 4 digets of your Social. I do think you need a good reason for this. I looked at my probate info, and not on one paper do I list my brothers birthdates or SS. Address and phone#s is all I have.

Maybe Dad is setting up a Trust. This info is not privy to u. Maybe for tax purposes the info is needed.
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Reply to JoAnn29

It will probably be cheaper to contact the person operating the POA. You don't need to make an appointment to make the call. If it's not convenient, no doubt she can call you back.

It makes me narrow my eyes and think uncharitable thoughts when lawyers send you long, friendly emails that don't in fact answer your questions. Bear in mind that every time you contact them or they contact you, that bill is getting longer. You can't even send them a rude message saying "of course it doesn't bloody address my concerns, you didn't answer the question, fathead" without their charging your father for 'perusal' time.

Why do you require my social security number and date of birth?
How will this information be used?
How will this information be stored?

After all this, it's probably fine. But you are dead right not to hand out information without good reason, so stick to your guns.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Countrymouse

Call the office to provide the information. It is not at all unusual. My SS# appears on all of mom's beneficiary documents. My kid's SS# are on all of mine. I would definitely call them or snail mail your information or stop in to their office. Your dad is trying to get his affairs in order, the information requested is actually protecting you so someone else cannot claim your inheritance.
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Reply to gladimhere

If you were to be put on any of his accounts as a joint owner...the bank/brokerage house would have to have that info.

having your name as joint owner now prevents those assets from going through probate (you would already own it). Plus, POA ends with, this would be a good way to make that money/asset available to you immediately.

My Mom did this with me. I have done this with my Daughter.
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Reply to Katiekate

I'd contact the POA directly and ask exactly why she needs that information. I doubt there is anything nefarious about it, however I can't think of any reason other than they are jumping the gun and getting the information needed to file probate and distribute the estate in place - that isn't a job for the POA unless she is also named as the executor.
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Reply to cwillie

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