When is it time to take over your parents finances? - AgingCare.com

When is it time to take over your parents finances?


My mother is 87. She use to be as sharp as a tack. Three years ago she had a Heart attack, Had open heart surgery and had a stroke either during or right after surgery . The docs aren't sure.

Three weeks ago the electric company came to the door. Said Mom was 2 months past due. In the 63 years my parents lived here they have never been late on any bill. So, I let that one slide.

This morning as I was dealing with the service guy from AT&T at the house, Mom says there is someone at the door. I replied "no mom its the AT&T guy. Don't worry. So I opened the door to prove my point and there was this big burly guy from the Water department and a lady dressed in casual business attire at the door. They came to collect some money or they were gonna turn off the water. Holy sh*t, I had them wait outside and told mom who it was.. She said she paid it but couldnt find it in her check register.

The last check record she had was in April. They are here to collect for April thru June. So then Mom said that she mailed it and it musta got lost. I told her if she mailed it she would have recorded it in her check register. Then she blamed it on never getting the bill. That may be so but I doubt it. Never happened before. This is two times in a month that we have had people coming to the door to collect.

Now besides these two incidents she has overdrawn her bank account twice now. Once in 2017 and again just last week. the part that makes me ill is that she does not have overdraft protection but since her SS check is automatically deposited I guess BofA uses that like a savings account. So all these little $5.00 and $10.00 donations that she makes get paid but with a bank fee of $35 a pop. OMG!

Now the only thing my mom seems to look forward to is the mail. She cant wait for it to come so she can look thru every little piece thoroughly. Plus she thinks she is going to win the PCH sweepstakes.

I counted up the number of charities she donates too and I made a spread sheet. Ready for this? Eighty.

(80) Eighty different charities. She will send a check to anyone who asks. I'm not kidding. The thought has crossed my mind that maybe she is trying to buy her way into heaven. She's even had to dip into the Family trust to balance her own account out. I tell you my Father is rollin in his grave right now. She's buying all kinds of crap from PCH as well. Then if she doesnt like it I gotta run it back to the post office. (this happens quite alot. She thinks she'll be reimbursed for the shipping back and she won't be. I had to argue with her about that. She insisted to me that they will. But they won't.

So far her charity contributions equal the amount of one months SS check. so that's not bad and if it makes her happy. I cant get too p*ssed off. It's just that I feel they are taking advantage of her. Yesterday I found one that said add us to your estate. I'm like Oh h*ll no....

I told mom I'll be more than happy to take her shopping and she can buy some half way decent things that she wants instead of buying from PCH, but she wont go. I think its just hard for her in her condition and in a wheelchair to do that sorta thing anymore. I feel so bad for her.

I'm her full time, live in caregiver. And I still want her to feel some independence. But it's scaring me about the knock on the doors wanting payment. and the notices from the bank that she's overdrawn.

What do you think I should do. Wade it out a little longer or rip the last bit of her independence away from her?



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I cannot emphasize enough to everyone dealing with elders to get a general power of attorney if it is not too late. Go to a lawyer. With this document, you are legally allowed to do anything your mom is allowed to do. You won't be committing a federal offense if you have the mail sent to your house or cancel a credit card. Please keep good records of your actions as power of attorney. This is required by law and you will avoid accusations by other relatives. Well, they can accuse, but you have the receipts, etc to show you are not stealing.
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Reply to Toadhall


A couple days ago she was watching PBS. She always watches that station. So I say to her "Mom, why dont you donate to PBS, I mean you watch them all the time instead of donating to all these places and people you dont even know anything about" Mom looks at me with a straight face and says. "I dont dontate to anyone!" lmao really? she must of been joking when she said that.. hard to tell tho. Shes a little stinker i tell you.
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Reply to KrazyKat

Today i am taking back 3 books that she ordered because she already has them. She ordered them last year. So off i go to the post office again and she has to pay for shipping ""again""

Today is her birthday tho. She is 87. Happy Birthday Mom.
P.s. I think shes already broken her promise and has mail a couple donations. not 100 % sure tho.
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Reply to KrazyKat

KrazyKat: How did you make out? I thought my list covered your concerns. If I did not, please let me know. TIA.
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Reply to Llamalover47

I became guardian that is expensive I have to show accounting to court and to Soc. Security. I have had to say I will do the right thing. I talk to my mom i let her know she has money and bills are paid. But she read things over and over could not understand about the letters or bills. Tax time was so anxiety producing.Did not understand what had to be done. What we did to pay the taxes and she became very anxious. Now any mistake is my fault. Not hers. She likes blaming so it is perfect. She can blame me and she can tell anyone she wants to I make the decision. Phone calls wanting money so upsetting to her. " Call my daughter" and they hang up. Her confusion and anxiety about taxes is what alerted me to a change in her cognitive thinking. She had always been so good with accounting and money.
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Reply to Daughter20

I'll answer as follows:
#1 If they're living on a low income and gave away their last $5 to the FOP's umpteenth phone call.
#2 When they've hired a bookkeeper to "balance" their checkbook through their town's elder case worker and the person's allowed to be off $859 FOR NINE MONTHS and the elder says "she'll balance on month # 10.
#3 When they had a pension plan that was not ACTIVATED by the elder; thus they never received the monthly annuity payment that they should have.
#4 When they don't know what they're doing with life insurance policies (term or whole).
#5 When they're enabling their children or grandchildren by giving away their last dime.
#6 When they didn't know that it was not their fault their credit card payment that they mailed in got lost in the mail and THEY DID NOT CALL THE CC COMPANY TO GET AN ADJUSTMENT FOR THE LATE FEE THEY INCURRED.

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Reply to Llamalover47

It's time to step in, and protect her. The forgetting to pay bills, & donations to numerous charities, not living within her means are big red flags! Look past the thought of removing her independence-but rather saving her from herself. She's losing the ability to make good choices..do whatever you can to make things better for her long term welfare & finances.
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Reply to naia2077

She can no longer keep track of what she has paid.
Be sure to take the mail to the post office for her.
Tell her there have been reports of thieves removing checks from mail boxes, and that is why the water bill was unpaid. You will offer to take her checks direct to the post office, you are going anyway.

The utilities and phone companies have 3rd party notifications to family when a bill goes unpaid. Sign up.

Take her to the SS office, let them know she almost had her utilities turned off. They will assign you as Rep-payee and you will at least be fully in charge of those funds. She will not be able to have access any longer, you will be required to spend her money on her only, and keep it separate from yours.
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Reply to Sendhelp

To all who have answered.
I've read all your answers and want to thank you ALL for responding. This is such a cool social platform and such a blessing.

Just so you all know I have intercepted her mail and some days i feel so guilty. Then i think "Isn't it a federal offence to do this?" "Yes" but i'm doing it for good reasons. My mom is not mobile enough to sit at a desk with me . The only mobility she has it to walk 14 feet with her walker to the next room to use her port a pot. Most days she sits in the lazyboy recliner from 10am to 9pm. Unfortunately this puts her right next to the front door where the mailbox is. So when she asks me to get the mail she can tell that im up to something if i take to long doing it. I mean we are talking 5 feet away from her. Although many times i try to be sneeky and go to the garage, open the garage door and sneek my way past these windows right behind her where the mailbox is.. I slowly, quietly take the mail out closing the lid with the utmost care. and tip toe back to the garage, sort thru the mail and then tip toe back to the mail box and put it back.
Then go back in the house thru the garage. within a few minutes shell ask me for the mail and i open the door grab it and hand it to her. This works nicely but my mom is not stupid. she'll notice that every time the mailman comes i go to the garage and put two and two together. So i don't do it all the time. And of course the days i decide not to do it is when its loaded with people asking for money. I live in California where its blazing hot so it wouldn't be logical for me to wear a sweater as Moecam suggested. But it was a good idea. I have tucked them down my pants on occasion. lol

My memory is not the sharpest these days and im only 55. So anything added to my plate is a challange. And yes i have sticky notes and to do list all over this place but i still am to busy and forget to look at them. lol

My mom is Irish and as i mentioned was sharp as a tack. Yes, shes changed but shes still aware most of the time.

I have started going thru her account showing her how to balance it and where she went wrong. She forgets sometimes but not all the time thats the weird thing.

She cant remember to hook back up her feeding tube when she returns from the potty but she will remember its street sweeping day and i better move my car off the street. Hell i never remember street sweeping day but she does.

One time i opened my mouth and shared my opinion about her writing so many checks and she piped up and said mind my own business., So i just shut up after that.

I love my mom and i want the rest of her days to be peaceful and happy not stressful. But i dont want to regret not taking control after the fact. this is a hard decision and i'll need to put much thought into it.

but your answers are helping in me making this decision. I'm just not quite there yet.
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Reply to KrazyKat
Riverdale Aug 8, 2018
I know elders want to retain authority but this is serious financial issues and a lot of money that will go to places perhaps not with the best intentions unless there is not a concern for finances. I had to explain a lot to my mother but with what was happening minding my own business was not an option. I hope you find the path you need. I just know the bleeding won't stop until you act and change the present situation.
I had the same nightmare with PCH. Settled with them and told them to remove her from their records. You need a durable POA. You should change credit cards or accounts that are withdrawing from her. Doubtful many will answer the phone. You may have to physically take her to SS to have the account number changed. Do not run away unless you want her to end up penniless. I had to change 4 credit cards so that companies who would not reason with me could not continue to charge her. Your name as POA should be on both a credit card and bank account. I would not let her have access to a checkbook. This ordeal is very common and incredibly frustrating and time consuming but truly necessary. I hope you can act as quickly as possible.
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Reply to Riverdale

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