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Old 12-31-2010, 08:52 AM   #21
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Finances and parents is very difficuly. MY FIL was the bill payer and entered a nursing home Feb 2010. MIL has early dimentia and has no clue about household costs, and cannot write a check correctly. Trusts all, and anyone who puts a check in front of her-she would sign it. DH and self have POA for each of them, and are paying their bills for them. Siblings uptight about it all. Now MIL informed us last night she wants the checkbook back- so she can "feel like a person". UGH!
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:04 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by FreeAtLast View Post
Three years ago the just came to us and told us that she needed help with her finances and basically dumped everything on us at once. When we got involved her memory of thing was much worse than we realized and had to piece thing together...

After going through what I had to with my mom, I still don't know what I could have done differently.
A few years back a now-departed member posted this as a recommended template for a "death or incapacitation" letter. I used it as a guideline and created a letter for both our daughters so they won't have to go on a scavenger hunt when the time comes. I update it every December and give each a copy in a sealed envelope when they visit during the Christmas holidays.

If they don't get a revised copy during their visit they will know it's time to open it...
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:43 AM   #23
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A few years back a now-departed member posted this as a recommended template for a "death or incapacitation" letter. I used it as a guideline and created a letter for both our daughters so they won't have to go on a scavenger hunt when the time comes. I update it every December and give each a copy in a sealed envelope when they visit during the Christmas holidays.

If they don't get a revised copy during their visit they will know it's time to open it...
That is an excellent document . I write a yearly letter to my daughter with most of that information but this includes things I did not think of .
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:23 PM   #24
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Finances and parents is very difficuly. MY FIL was the bill payer and entered a nursing home Feb 2010. MIL has early dimentia and has no clue about household costs, and cannot write a check correctly. Trusts all, and anyone who puts a check in front of her-she would sign it. DH and self have POA for each of them, and are paying their bills for them. Siblings uptight about it all. Now MIL informed us last night she wants the checkbook back- so she can "feel like a person". UGH!
Humm.. My MIL went through that phase. See if you can establish a small account upon which she can write checks where the bank would not honor a check if it were over-drawn. Let her know that this is a spending account. If she usually goes to a specific branch to cash a check visit them. Give them a recent photo of her and ask that they divert her if she presents a check over say $50. That may not be practical but you want to enlist their assistance.

In dealing with sibs under this circumstance have you considered sending them a 'Mom & Dad' cash flow statement monthly or meeting with each do discuss their circumstances. Sometimes they get suspicious because they don't have information.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:17 PM   #25
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My father was always really good about sharing his finances with me. My mother died when I was eleven. My father immediately put me on his checking account and taught me how to balance the account. From that point forward I always knew where he was financially. It made me a lot more responsible too--money didn't grow on trees!

In contrast, my husband's father was extremely private, wanted no advice, and distrusted any advice that might be given. I learned that you must not interfere, even if what he was doing was wasteful. If he had a more open relationship about money with his kids going back, he might have trusted them a lot more as he aged. As it was, because he never shared he never developed a trusting relationship with them.

Think about your kids discussing your finances with as you get age. Maybe you are starting to lose it and they think you are making strange or bad decisions. If you have always communicated with them about finances it will be easier for both of you to have discussions later in life on these issues. I know a lot of people here are very private about their financial situation, even with their own kids. There may be a downside to this attitude. I bet you would be more likely to tell your kids to shove off when they start making suggestions for you. I bet this would be less likely if you had a long history of discussing financial matters, both your matters and your children's.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:41 PM   #26
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Now MIL informed us last night she wants the checkbook back- so she can "feel like a person". UGH!

My mother had dementia and said the same thing. Thought always she was a financial wizard when really she was just super frugal is all. Some financial wizard: she changed checkbooks like Kleenex and, even when using the same checkbook from the same bank, skipped checks around like #48, #321, #67, etc.
I took the checkbooks and let her whine about it. She got over it. In fact, she forgot about it after awhile. Sometimes common sense and reality makes you stand your ground, cause heaven only knows what she would have paid for if I hadn't done that. And when I got to her house there were 4 different moochs--including her attorney--trying to take advantage of her. That stopped after they saw I was there. Like I said, stand your ground with her and become the parent.
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Old 12-31-2010, 03:30 PM   #27
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I think once your parents hit Social Security age, it is time for at least one of their kids to try and understand their financial situation. As Orchidflower and Bizlady say the situation doesn't get easier as they get older and once dementia hits it become much much harder.

It seems to me that tensions generally rise right after retirement happened with my parents,my sister, and my grandparents. So this particular incident is probably a relationship issue and I have no advice other than avoid taking sides.

However, since they already trust your financial advice I'd take this opportunity to set up a budget for them. Even if they don't follow it at least you'll know what type of financial situation they'll face in the future.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:34 PM   #28
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I would definitely bring the subject up in a nonthreatening way. You could start when Mom gives you one of the UPS gifts. "Mom, you shouldn't have! Now that you're retired and all I hate to see you wasting your money on me. So how are you two doing, financially I mean? Is everything OK? Anything you need my help with?"

If you are rebuffed, I would back off, but offer to help periodically, share some of your own experiences and ask for their input on some of your own financial issues. Hopefully they will begin to trust your motives and open up over time.

This is how I approached my own parents years ago. Eventually they provided me with a complete list of their assets "just in case anything happened to us", and I found out that they were better off than I had anticipated.
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