Any advice on applying to the VA to become a fiduciary for my parents?

Asked by

I applied for veterans benefits for my parents last year, and Dad just received notification that he has been approved after a long battle. Now I am being told that we have to apply as fiduciary. We have not yet received the second letter instructing how to go about this, so I am curious if anyone knows about the process and how difficult it will be. My brother seems to think that Dad just has to sign a paper. However, someone else told me I have to go to a hearing before a judge to get appointed. Apparently power of attorney (POA) does not suffice for the Department of Veterans Affairs!

Answers 1 to 10 of 57
The VA can appoint a fiduciary, and so can a Judge. I would think the VA process would be simpler. You will need to be background checked. My " appearance before the judge" was simply a five minute conversation with his court clerk in his office. I never actually sat in a courtroom and never saw the judge. Go figure.
If you have a VA office close to you, I would physically go and talk to them. That way, you can get whatever forms and information you need.

The Marines help with things like this a little bit, too. They helped my Mom get signed-up for her Tricare-for-Life health benefits, but I don't know how much other help they do/can provide. The Marines, by the way, do this for all service branches, and they are truly awesome and wonderful for doing all this, but probably can't help with this more complex issue.
Top Answer
If and when the VA names you as fiduciary, the document they provide will be sufficient, IF you go to a bank that knows about setting it up. I tried 3 smaller, community banks, none of which seemed to know what they were doing and all requiring various documentation, etc. I finally called Bank of America and they knew what I was talking about and were able to set it up in no time flat. In the meantime, I spent weeks figuring this out, so I hope this will save you some time. Good luck!
Good for him! We are still waiting. Wait for the letter because VA is so-o-o particular about what they want, and if you do not do as they say, they might deny the benefit.
Congratulations on the approval. I went through this process for my mom a few years ago. Once the approval went through it was all very simple. VA sent a second letter and a form to complete for the appointment of a fiduciary. A VA representative visited and helped us complete the form and gave instructions for setting up the bank account.
I know every case is different but, as a previous poster stated, your local VA office can offer excellent assistance.
The application process was rough but since the approval everything has been very smooth. Mom's VA reps have been very, very helpful and VeteranAid.org is a great resource as is VA.gov.

Good luck!!
Recently, I was appointed fiduciary for my mother (95) as part of a process which began when we applied for surviving spouse benefits in April of 2012.

The help of the local VA office was valuable to assure the initial paper work was done correctly. Then after a year had passed without action, we enlisted the aid of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (Florida). His staff has been a big help. Even so, Mom did not begin to receive payments -- and a very small amount at that -- until September of 2013.

In addition, the fiduciary process was necessary because Mom has a medical diagnosis of dementia and is deemed by the VA to be incapable of handling her own funds. My application to serve in this capacity went in with her original paperwork in 2012. The way this works is that a regional VA office screens applications and then sends a field examiner to the prospective fiduciary's home to check out the applicant and complete the paperwork.

Since Mom qualifies for VA “Aid and Attendance,” her benefits accrue from the date of her initial application in 2012. After a fiduciary is approved, a special bank account must be set up to receive monthly benefit payments. Hopefully this will take place during the February 2014 payment cycle. We also are waiting to receive the amount accrued since her application was filed.

Meanwhile, I am plowing through additional paperwork to update Mom's application to more realistically show the non-reimbursable expenses for medical treatments and tests, prescription co-pay, personal care supplies, etc. Hopefully she will live long enough to have her benefit increased to a more helpful amount.

At every level, the VA seems to be terribly understaffed, overloaded and inadequately funded. I have contacted elected federal officials to request that they correct these deficiencies. After all, our veterans gave their service and in many cases their lives. It's just wrong for the government not to live up to the promise to take care of former military and their loved ones.

Also, the application process and subsequent paperwork should be streamlined so it's a lot more user-friendly. There is no way the average elderly person could handle this on their own.

Of course we complain to each other to let off steam. But if anything constructive is going to happen, we also must put pressure on the elected officials who represent us. Please join me in doing so. Their names and contact information are readily available via Internet.
To become a fiduciary for a family member or friend, submit a request with the beneficiary‘s name and VA file number, and your name and contact information to the VA regional office nearest you.
Any individual appointed as a VA fiduciary is responsible for managing the beneficiary‘s VA income and ensuring the beneficiary‘s just debts are paid.
I hope this helps!! Thanks

To become a professional fiduciary, submit your resume with cover letter to the following e-mail address: VA_Fiduciary@va.gov. Include your name, the name of your organization (if applicable), mailing address, and e-mail address with your request.
Wow, I could write a book here on my experience with this, but will try to make it short. I already had my POA in place when I applied for financial assistance to help with the expenses of an Assisted Living Facility. POA is not recognized by the Fed. In order to qualify, dad had to have served in the military during active wartime, and an honorary discharge from service. A physical from a VA doctor that showed he was in need of physical assistance for his care was necessary and a form signed by the doctor. (This doctor was not overly cooperative, which made this difficult. He did not want to sign the form, but finally did. I called the VA and they put me in touch with the local state VA Service Officer. He told me what forms I would need and I downloaded them, filled them out, scanned them into my computer so that I would have copies. I suggest you keep copies of EVERYTHING. Any form, must be kept. You have no idea of how many calls were made because, all of a sudden a certain must have form was missing from the file. Also, I actually sit with my laptop and type as I am speaking to any representative to keep accurate records of all phone calls. Who I spoke with, date and time. This is important when dealing with representatives of any company you are dealing with for your parents. For each person you talk to, you are likely to get a different answer. When I spoke to the rep, he suggested I have dad sign a form that waived his rights to act on his own financial needs and to indicate who he would like to have me act on his behalf. Everything was submitted by 11/1/12. That is when the 6 to 12 month wait starts. I was notified a couple of times that they were still working on it. By August of 2013, I was notified that dad qualified for assistance as of 12/1/12. There would be a retroactive payment once I had been appointed Fiduciary by the Fed for the VA. They indicated that I was to be made Financial Fiduciary but would have to meet with the VA Fiduciary Hub Field Officer to determine dad's monthly expenses and also for him to meet and to talk with my dad personally as well as myself to find out if dad was indeed incompetent and that I was competent. . We did this on 10/11/12. I was notified a couple of weeks later that everything was in order and that I was appointed Legal Custodian of my fathers finances. (The VA only recognizes their own appt, so my POA is insufficient with them). I was told to set up an account which must be set up correctly. The preferred account title is (Name of Beneficiary), by (Name of Representative Payee), representative payee. I did this 11/4/13 and notified them by phone the same day. His monthly allotment was deposited to this account but I had to "wait" for them to "process the approval for release of the retro payment of over $15,000.00. I called often and was told to wait, it could take 2 months, try to be patient. Sure, I only waited over a year. I waited until the beginning of Jan and called the State Representative to ask if they could intervene as I was getting low in funds to keep my dad at the ALF. Finally by the middle of January they released the funds. This was a 15 month long process.

Bottom line, is make sure you listen to what they say, document it, keep copies, make phone calls, make phone calls, make phone calls. Make sure you have EVERY form they want. If you forget any form, they can hold it up for a longer period of time. It is hard to wait, but your father deserves the assistance. Don't give up. I hope this helps.
You will have a background check and also if you have a prior bankruptcy you can;t qualify for fidicuary due to VA rules.
How is fiduciary different from having POA, is it just that the VA doesn't recognize POA so you need it if he goes to a VA ALF? As POA, can't you just deposit the VA check as needed and pay the bills? thanks.........

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support