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I very recently had an atty. draw up regular wills, health care directives (living wills) and POAs from each of my parents to me. The atty did the docs. but no advice how to proceed. I need a lot of info and I don't know where to begin. My mom has dementia and can't really make any decisions on her own. She agrees to everything my dad says. He is 90 now and is barely able to walk (even with his walker) or move out of or into a chair, etc.

Who do I give copies of the POAs to? All their doctors? And who else? I know their assisted living must get copies also.

I am having a very difficult time getting all the financial info I need from my dad. He gave me some account info, but not all. I also need to get specific info from him without prying it out of him. It is so difficult for me. My bro. lives far away and can't help in this regard, he can only advise me and that's not enough.

I really don't have the money to hire someone to help me with this. I recently sold my home and bought another one, because I couldn't afford my bills anymore. Almost went into foreclosure or bankruptcy.

I want to get all the financial info from my dad, before it is too late. Is it also necessary to have my name on his savings acct. and checking acct.? Will the POA allow me to do this on my own?

If anyone can give me any advice, I would be ever so grateful. Thank you!!
Wake up each day with a positive attitude and accept who you are. Like my mother always taught me, "tomorrow is another day."
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Hi, spencer.

I'm on sinus meds, which has my thinking muddled, but I'll try to make sense...

Do you have access to your folks mail and bank statements? You might want to start there. Look for direct deposits from annuities, premium payments on insurance policies, etc. As you discover each account and company, if the information is not straight-forward, get their 1-800 number and call, explaining that you are their POA and need to find out what sort of account(s) they have and the current balances. They might request a copy of the financial POA docs before they send details.

The banks can be strange. As POA I wanted to add my brother to Mom's SD box so if something happened to me, he could get to her docs. They wouldn't do it. So we went to another bank and got a SD box together, and I transferred all the original docs there. Each time I add an item, I let my brother know. He is named as secondary POA, if something happens to me.

If Dad will do it, he can ask the bank to add you, but he will have to sign... Ask your attny if you want right of survival on their accounts. It can help settle their estate, but it might leave you open to tax penalty.

I was told the VA won't honor a POA without their own forms attached... if that's an issue for you.

Do your folks have a funeral prearrangement contract? If they do, make sure the original copy is somewhere like a SD box. If not, and their finances permit, see about getting this done over the next few months, so you won't have to deal with it later.

BTW, I tell my mother whenever I use her POA to do stuff for her. She listens attentively, but the look on her face tells me she really doesn't care anymore - it's my job and she's glad not to have the responsibility anymore.

One more thing. Keep a copy of the medical POA/living will where you can find it in an emergency. Hospital ERs will accept a copy, especially on a weekend. It's a comfort, too, to be able to read it for "inspiration" if you are called on to make one of those hard choices.

Hope this helps. Keep us posted and let us know how it goes.

Thank you so much for the info, Barb. I appreciate it very much. I do have some info regarding their various accounts, and my dad gave me checks to deposit into his savings and checking accts. I copied all the deposit slips and checks for my reference.

I have also started to take business cards from my parents' apt. for contact people's names and phone numbers. I will now focus on doing what you advised me to do.

Since my dad can no longer take the mini-bus from where he lives to the bank, I will be making his deposits so I think he might be more obliged now to give me some of the missing info.

The problem is I can't even balance my own checkbook. I plan on buying "Quicken" for my financial needs as well as for my dad. This way I can make sense of the data.

Feel better soon, and again, thank you so much.

To add to the excellent advice barb gave you, also make sure you find out what primary and secondary insurances your parents have and make sure to get the POA to them, otherwise they won't talk to you even to answer general questions. Do it now while at least one of your parents can confirm their identity to the insurance company on the phone. My dad was in the military, so I had to make sure DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) had my POA as well as TriCare.
I can't think of any others to get the POA to at this time besides insurance, all doctors, the hospital and any financial institutions.
Good luck to you!
Hi, spencer.

What I did with Mom and the bank, one day, when I had her in the car and we were coming back from a dr's appt, we went by the bank. She stayed in the car and the bank officer came out to her with the paperwork for her signature. I know you've said your dad doesn't like going to the dr, but sometime when you have him for an outing, see if this is something he would do.

I know what you mean about balancing accts. Take your time and get a system worked out. You'll do fine.

Thanks for the helpful replies. Today I decided that my name should be added to their bank accounts at the very least. I picked up the paperwork necessary to add my name to their accounts. I will fill out the info, and all my dad has to do is sign. I don't think he will give me any problem about this, since I am already making deposits for him!

I will do likewise for any other bank accounts, or investments he might have. It is so important I do this now.

Yet, another question, how much money should be put aside for funerals, etc.? They do have plots, but that's all. I hate to be so blunt, but I think money for this should be in a separate account. I cannot afford to make these arrangements unless the money comes directly from my parents.

Wouldn't I need an accountant or attorney to guide me with all this stuff? It is scary doing this on my own. I need to make sure I am going about all of this in the correct way.

Please reply to me with further advice. Thank you so much!!
I've heard that you should put aside at least $7000 per person for funeral expenses.

What type of attorney did you have draw up the previous paperwork? I was advised to see an Elder Law attorney rather than an accountant or financial advisor. An attorney who specializes in Elder Law will be better able to advise you concerning Medicaid and its effect on your financial decisions, etc.

It sure is scary having to be responsible for someone else's finances and hoping you're making wise decisions for them and you. Hope this helps and good luck!

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