I am Mom's financial p.o.a., along with my brother. Mother added me as a signer on her checking account years ago. She became completely incapacitated last winter, then recovered somewhat and is now in AL. It is around 5000 a month. Her income is 3500 a month. She had 22,000 in checking when I took over, and has over 300,000 in savings. I want to keep her checking balance above 15,000 and because of her expensive dental work that she's having done, I had to transfer 10,000 from her savings to checking. She knows that I can access her banking accounts on line logged in as her. But she keeps commenting that she can't believe her checking account is stretching so far. I have kept receipts of all spending from her checking account, to the penny, should I ever be questioned. She is very frugal and I feel it would upset her if she knew her savings had been accessed. She does not know exactly how much her AL costs, I just assure her that it's ok and she can afford it. I have not spent any of it on anything other than her, with the exception of a tank of gas she wanted to buy me one day when I was driving her around. I saved that receipt and filed it with the others. My brother tells me to just keep doing what I'm doing so that she does't worry about stuff. She is 85 . Somehow I just keep hearing that question "what could go wrong?" BTW brother is not actively involved with her finances, he is in another county taking care of our 93 yr old dad. She is aware that her living costs exceed her income, but she is not aware that I can access her savings. Tell her or not?
The first month, she had $600 in cash, spent it all and could not tell us how.
After that, she got $40 in small bills and we explained that was safer than keeping a lot of money around.
My Dad was also very frugal and he would fret at seeing the bill for Assisted Living and the bill for the caregivers.... so I slowly stopped having the facility and agency send him a duplicate of the bills. I had wanted to keep Dad in the loop, but now I see it is not to his advantage. He's happier not knowing. I do have one advantage, my late Mom always had taken care of the bills, so Dad was rarely involved.
Any time Dad starts to worry about his portfolio I keep reassuring him that is looking great, he doesn't need to worry, he can stay in Assisted Living for as long as he wants. I also keep receipts for everything, especially bills that I pay from my checking account and reimburse myself from Dad's checking.
We gave her a separate checking account with a little bit in it but she only used it for the hairdresser. She periodically obsessed about money and we did our best to distract and assure her all was fine, but we never let her see a bank statement or a bill. As time went it it proved to be a good move because she lost all concept of how much things cost.
When she went into AL, we needed to withdraw from her savings to supplement her SS and pension each month. We never told her that, or how much AL, and then the NH cost. She would have totally freaked out.
Her dementia made her really paranoid about money, but letting her wonder about it once in a while, since we could distract her, was better than if she found out how expensive her care was.
If you can get away without telling your mother, it might be better than upsetting her. But, you know best how she might react one way or the other and whether you can get away with hiding it from her.
My sister is one of those people who can't stand to tell even a "little white lie" and a couple of times (about other things) she was too truthful with Mom. Every time Mom really got upset and obsessed for weeks. Sis never quite accepted that she could not reason with Mom and always expected her to act rationally once things were "explained" to her. It doesn't work that way with dementia.
I'm extremely worried about her savings not lasting long enough and she would flip if she knew the cost of the facility let alone the private caregivers for 12 hours a day
With the cost of elder care and supplies going up every year, I am worried that Dad might need a higher level of care later on, such care is very expensive in my area.