New to caregiving, need advice

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Latest post Thu, Jan 15 2015 5:38 PM by Vee428. 13 replies.
  • Wed, Jan 14 2015 5:41 PM

    • Vee428
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    New to caregiving, need advice

    Hello,

    My 66 year old MIL is in the process of being evaluated by a psychiatrist.  No formal diagnosis yet, but he suspects early stage Dementia / Alzheimers. 

    She has minor memory / language problems and outwardly appears OK, but she has significant issues organizing and completing tasks.  Her finances are a mess, her apartment is a mess, and she's having trouble routinely taking care of daily tasks like washing dishes and taking out the trash. She is also impulsive, so it is difficult to keep up with her daily activities and spending.

    Psychiatrist advised us to take over her finances, monitor her meds, implement financial and heathcare POA, living will, last will, and start thinking about what she needs as far as in-home help and/or assisted living. 

    She is retired, has a pension from OPM (post office), gets a small Social Security benefit, and lives alone (2.5 hours from us). 

    Questions: 

    We want to set up a separate checking account in our name, deposit her SS and OPM benefits there, and use it solely for paying her bills and sending her money.

    I’ve read conflicting information regarding whether or not it is OK to deposit SS and OPM benefits an account that doesn’t have the beneficiary’s name on it.  Does her name have to be on the account?  (it's not that we don't "want" her on it, but we need it to be separate because she will spend the money intended for bills)

    Neither OPM or SS recognize POA, they each have their own representative payee approval process.  Do we need to go this (complicated) route when she’s willing to just call them and change the direct deposit routing numbers to the new account?

     

  • Wed, Jan 14 2015 6:06 PM In reply to

    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Speak to an attorney about getting a POA for her finances and being a signatory on her account.  Once you have that get with the bank on how to get her current account set up so that withdrawals cannot be made without your approval.  You are going to need some court documents on the POA and a lawyer is the best place to start on how to set all this up to protect your MIL.  Bless you for looking out for her. 

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • Wed, Jan 14 2015 6:59 PM In reply to

    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Vee428:
    Psychiatrist advised us to take over her finances, monitor her meds, implement financial and heathcare POA

    Do I understand correctly that she has already given you or your husband financial POA?

    If so, it should be quite possible to open a new checking account (or savings account) in HER name, and just not bother mentioning the account number to her.  If her memory loss is sufficient, she won't remember the new account number even if you do tell it to her, but you don't have to do so.

    You could transfer whatever amount of money you think is reasonable as spending money into her existing account, and make sure the bank does not give her overdraft protection on that account.

    I doubt SS will allow her money to be deposited into anyone else's account, plus you expose yourself to the risk that the IRS will consider the money deposited into such an account to be taxable as YOUR income, so I don't think putting her money into an account in your name is a good idea at all.

    You should know I'm not a lawyer, of course.

  • Wed, Jan 14 2015 7:49 PM In reply to

    • Vee428
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    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Thank you.

    ClydesMom:
    You are going to need some court documents on the POA

    I'm not sure what you mean.  Will we need court documents in addition to the POA?

    We are meeting with her lawyer's assistant Friday to start paperwork for the POA and living will, and will meet with her lawyer the week of Feb 28 to sign and ask questions.  Hopefully we'll feel a little more informed after meeting with him.

    I will stop by her bank and see if they will talk "theoretically" with me about how their process works for setting up account controls.

  • Wed, Jan 14 2015 8:04 PM In reply to

    • Vee428
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    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    We are in the process of obtaining financial POA.

    karen2222:
    it should be quite possible to open a new checking account (or savings account) in HER name, and just not bother mentioning the account number to her

    Once we have POA, maybe we could open an account online at another bank and not give her the account info.

    karen2222:
    I doubt SS will allow
    and
    karen2222:
    taxable as YOUR income

    Thank you, I don't want to get in trouble with SS, OPM, or IRS.

  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 6:43 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    the laws as to POAs have changed a bit of late and are a bit quirky state by state....important to be using up to date stuff correct for her state ......and some banks are very quirky and won't deal with POA unless it is on their approved form as well.....check before you need them!

     



  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 8:59 AM In reply to

    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Are you saying she doesn't already have a "living will" (please note that a healthcare POA and a "living will" are the same thing)?  If none of the documents mentioned in your original post exist yet, then it might be worth considering a trust as part of this.

    I agree that you should speak with your bank about what will make this easiest for all concerned.

  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 10:20 AM In reply to

    • Vee428
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    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Drew:
    quirky
    and
    Drew:
    check before you need them!

    Thanks, I will do so.

  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 11:18 AM In reply to

    • Vee428
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    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    ca19lawyer2:
    note that a healthcare POA and a "living will" are the same thing

    Thank you for clarifying this.

    ca19lawyer2:
    Are you saying she doesn't already have a "living will

    OK...that is what I was saying, however, we found today that she executed a will and living will 2003.  She does not have a POA. 

    We can get a copy of the will / living will, but the original documents are lost and 11 years have passed, so I think it would be best for her to revoke the old documents and implement whatever is most appropriate now.  Please let me know if this is incorrect.

    ca19lawyer2:
    it might be worth considering a trust as part of this

    She doesn't own anything.  Lives in an apartment, no IRA, no savings, and owes more on her car than its value.

    She has OPM (post office) pension, SS check, and a life insurance policy from OPM that is currently 57K and reduces 1100/mo until it reaches 14K.  The only personal items she has to pass along to family are a few items that belonged to her mother and inexpensive jewelry.

    Since she has no "stuff", is there another reason a trust might be more beneficial to her than a will?

     

  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 12:52 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Oversimplified and NOT legal,advice:

    A simple,will makes sense to have...if at end its not needed, it gets tossed. 

    JTROS accounts are simple ways for assets in same tp pass  to other person at end and for other person  to use them as needed..they are not foolproof and are subject to,abuse if wrong person is on there .....

    A durable POA and medical directive sure makes sense to have in place BEFORE the persons capacity  to make a decision lapses.



  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 1:31 PM In reply to

    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Vee428:
    We can get a copy of the will / living will, but the original documents are lost and 11 years have passed, so I think it would be best for her to revoke the old documents and implement whatever is most appropriate now.  Please let me know if this is incorrect.

    That the originals can't be located is really neither here nor there.  However, after 11 years, she (in consultation with the lawyer) should at least review the document and consider whether updating it would be a good idea.

    With respect to the trust, as I said, it's something to consider in consultation with the lawyer.  Folks on a message board aren't in any position to say yea or nay.

  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 2:32 PM In reply to

    • Vee428
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    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Thanks to everyone for your comments.

    We are going to meet with her lawyer, get POA taken care of, see if her will and living will need updates, and ask about a trust.

    Before opening a checking account to pay her bills, we will get the lawyer's advice regarding a joint/jtros vs separate account, and ask him how to properly manage OPM and SS deposits.

    We will contact a couple of banks to see whose POA policy best fits our needs.

    I know absolutely nothing about this kind of stuff and am overwhelmed with all of the things we need to do over the next 6 months or so.  It is incredibly helpful to have a site like this where I can get some feedback from kind people like yourselves.

  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 3:12 PM In reply to

    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    ca19lawyer2:
    (please note that a healthcare POA and a "living will" are the same thing)?

    They are not the same thing. The former is document that specifies another person to make medical decisions for the principal and the extent of that power while the latter is a document that specifies what kind of care the patient wishes to receive in circumstances where the patient is incapable of expresssing directly (e.g. unconscious, etc) what kind of care he or she desires. My state has specific rules for each of these documents and also has a statutory form for the living will. In at least some states the two could be combined into one document, I suppose, though I don't know of any place where that is prevailing practice. 

  • Thu, Jan 15 2015 5:38 PM In reply to

    • Vee428
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    Re: New to caregiving, need advice

    Taxagent:
    They are not the same thing.

    You are right.  In SC where MIL is, I found the Governor's Office on Aging has separate standardized forms for a living will and a health care POA.

    This is a very brief summary, but in SC, a living will states what kinds of treatment you do not want if death is near or you're permanently unconscious.  A POA states what kind of treatment you do and don't want, covers a wider range of conditions and treatments, and gives another person the ability to make decisions for you.  You can get both documents, but the living will overrides the POA regarding near death and permanent unconsciousness.

    I guess the laws on this vary quite a bit depending on which state you live in.

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