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She does not believe she's in $55,000.00 worth of debt. She thinks that because she paid off her house which she took out a $30,000.00 equity load to do to cut down on her payments. She's only paying $ 285.00 a month on that loan.

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It will likely be impossible. Our mom had dementia and paranoia and would not allow our help. She trusted us all our whole lives and suddenly she couldn't. My father did not have dementia but was sick. He did not believe he would die. He saw no hurry to give us POA. We warned him we would be in a mess trying to manage mom without him. Then he died. Mom was hallucinating daily. We couldn't even see the bills as she would hide them. Luckily on a good day we got her to add my brothers name to her account. We began intercepting her mail to get the bills and to pay them. It was an awful time. Later we went to court to get total control. No family should have to wait until this happens. No family should have to take their parent to court. Is there any way you can get her to give you POA or add you to account?
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Before she's deemed incompetent, I would see if she will sign Durable POA and Healthcare POA, Living Will, etc. immediately. Maybe she will agree to do that if she thinks it may be needed down the road. If she agrees, I would then start to oversee her finances and gradually have the mail come to you. I would say whatever works to get that done so you can help divert a crisis.

Does she exhibit any other signs of decline?

If she refuses, then there's not much you can do except wait for it to progress. You might check with an Elder Care attorney about filing for guardianship and if you have a good case based on what has happened so far. Does her doctor say she has dementia?
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It can be very hard to get control of stubborn elders finances particularly if dementia is involved. My older brother died suddenly about 3 years ago. I was able to convince my Dad, who had mild dementia, to give me a broad POA and access to all accounts. This was quite a bit of paperwork, forms from the banks to sign etc.

My mom was in the hospital at the time and Dad saw what the future could hold for them. I used the JUST IN CASE SOMETHING EVER HAPPENS TO YOU. Logic on Dad. I have been take care of bills and finances ever since. He thinks Moms doing it it.

His dementia is such that now I would never convince him to sign anything. He thinks everthing is just fine and they need no help. The reality is, they are very close to needing assited living.
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talk your mother into letting you manage her account to pay her bills,, ARE YOU NUTS it helps {grin}

Start by engaging a elder affairs lawyer, This must not be a do it yourself project.
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Does your mom have dementia? If so, trying to logically talk to her about finances may be impossible. Tell us more about your situation.

Can you sit down with her bills and print out invoices (credit cards, mortgage, equity loan) and show her how it adds up? Why won't that work? There must be more going on, so we need more information. She understand she already has $30,000 of debt because of the equity loan, right?
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