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Problems handling Dad's affairs now that he is no longer capable
Old 10-25-2013, 02:31 PM   #1
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Problems handling Dad's affairs now that he is no longer capable

I hope someone here has some experience dealing with some of the issues I am having.

Brief background. My Dad is under hospice care in nursing home 250 miles away in a different state (close to Sister). I have POA to handle the financial affairs and all is set up with his bank (250 miles away), so that I can pay his bills etc. I also have his mail forwarded to my home address so I can take care of matters as they arise. Note that Dad is 150 miles from his hometown bank right now.

Trying to get everything set and and changes of address made has not been easy and is still an ongoing affair. The latest problem that I need some suggestions on is how to deposit checks into his bank account that is 250 miles away. I have received a half dozen checks that I want to deposit into his account. Right off the bat, I don't have a fancy phone where I can snap the front and back of a check and send it directly to his account, nor is there any local branch of his bank over here nor is there any branch of my bank over there.

I thought an easy solution would be to deposit the checks into my account then Pop Mail the same amount directly into his bank account. I can do the Pop Mail from my account into his account, but the problem is my bank will not allow me to deposit his checks into my account even when I provided them POA, etc. They said the only option was to have my Dad open an account in their banking system and assign me with POA to that account. It would require that my Dad appear in person at one of their branch offices.

Of course this is not possible for Dad to do anything at this point to set up an account. And truthfully, I would not want another account that would require minimum balances and fees, etc.

The only two other options I can think of are to 1. drive 500 miles round trip to deposit checks at Dad's bank, or 2. mail the checks to the bank for deposit. I would really be concerned the checks would get lost or stolen in the mail and can't even imagine what kind of hassles would be required trying to get replacements.

Does anyone else have experience with this type of situation? I know I will continue to get these checks in the mail and I need a solution fast. Some of these checks say they have to be cashed within 90 and it is fast approaching.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:41 PM   #2
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I'd go with the mail route, at least to start, if the bank is prepared for it. I've done that before, and it is reliable.
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:44 PM   #3
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This problem is a result of having local rather than nationwide banks. Potential solutions include

A. Moving accounts to a bank you can physically access easily
B. Batching checks and driving over to deposit them
C. Getting the technology to do it electronically
D. Couriering checks to the remote bank.
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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You can deposit them at a cash machine.

I've never had problem mailing checks. Usually credited next day.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:15 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick responses..

Mailing checks of course would be easy and I know Dad's bank would have no problems with them, but I am afraid they might be lost in the mail. Courier service is expensive.

So the bank is correct in not accepting the checks into my account even though I have POA??
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:16 PM   #6
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Mail is fine, just send them in batches, in a priority mail envelope. Take a copy of them first, if you want. We mail checks all the time, with no problems.
And when you finally get a phone that you can do mobile deposits with, you will thank your lucky stars.
DH handles his dad's finances, from about 4 hours away. I do all the banking online and via mobile deposit and online bill pay. Very easy, really.

Yes, your bank should not allow you to deposit third party checks unless they've been signed over to you.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:22 PM   #7
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One of our kids just got a good deal on a smart phone package through a prepaid plan at Walmart, if you want to try the mobile deposit route.

I plan to get a similar phone and plan. I had been resisting getting a smart phone because of the cost, but the prepaid Walmart plans were pretty reasonable and so far he has been happy with the service.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
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Mail is fine, just send them in batches, in a priority mail envelope. Take a copy of them first, if you want. We mail checks all the time, with no problems.
And when you finally get a phone that you can do mobile deposits with, you will thank your lucky stars.
DH handles his dad's finances, from about 4 hours away. I do all the banking online and via mobile deposit and online bill pay. Very easy, really.

Yes, your bank should not allow you to deposit third party checks unless they've been signed over to you.
One could also mail the checks certified mail (about $5.00 in postage), you can track the letter online, and don't need a return reciept since you can see if it got there. I agree to image the checks. Consider that a lot of bill pay services send physical checks when electronic payments are not available, and also we all used to pay most bills by mail.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:10 PM   #9
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One could also mail the checks certified mail (about $5.00 in postage), you can track the letter online, and don't need a return reciept since you can see if it got there. I agree to image the checks. Consider that a lot of bill pay services send physical checks when electronic payments are not available, and also we all used to pay most bills by mail.
Yes certified mail is a possibility...just hate to pay $6.11 to do it. I will not go the imaging checks route, definitely not an ongoing cost I want to absorb. I have no need for it myself.

If I was sending my own check to pay a bill I would be totally comfortable. I could always send another if lost or dispute it if cashed fraudulantly, but if these checks are lost it would be nearly impossible to get replacements as they are not on my checking account. To me this is a big difference.

Thanks all for your suggestions.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:19 PM   #10
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Yes certified mail is a possibility...just hate to pay $6.11 to do it. I will not go the imaging checks route, definitely not an ongoing cost I want to absorb. I have no need for it myself.

If I was sending my own check to pay a bill I would be totally comfortable. I could always send another if lost or dispute it if cashed fraudulantly, but if these checks are lost it would be nearly impossible to get replacements as they are not on my checking account. To me this is a big difference.

Thanks all for your suggestions.
I went to the USPS web site, and they list certified mail without the return reciept at $3.10 plus the .46 for postage. Since you can go to the USPS web site and track the package you don't need to spend the $2.55 for a return reciept card, nor even the 1.25 email reciept. I suggest if you are concerned to scan the checks, as well as the attached notices, which should provide addresses if need be.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:25 PM   #11
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Mailing the checks should not be a problem. You can add "For deposit only" above your signature, if you like.

I have POA for my mother, who is in a nursing home about 100 miles away. I set up new accounts at a national bank with a branch close to both me and Mom. The POA should allow you to set up new accounts.

Note that state banking laws in the state where the account was opened will apply.

P.S. I moved my mother from Florida back "Up North" last December. I feel your pain.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:37 PM   #12
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Sorry for the problems you're facing. It's been a while, be we were into much of this when my stepfather went into a nursing home.

Not for me to say, but we hired ($200 at the time) an elderlaw lawyer... (geriatric specialty) and he saved us that much ten times over, in advice and help for the many challenges that we were facing... (700 miles away). Many, many things that we understand now, but were totally in the dark about at the time.
We did have to go to the lawyer, in the town where father was living, and he was great in handling the local problems while we were far away. His daughter realized a few hundred thousand dollars in savings that might have been lost without legal help. It often gets extremely complicated, even with a cast iron will.

Best of luck...
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:03 PM   #13
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You might try your bank again. I have set up accounts jointly with people not there and returned with signature cards that never required an in-person visit. If you are an established customer with history (and a POA in hand) they should be able to set you up. You might just need to escalate to a branch mgr.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:54 PM   #14
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When I rolled over an old Megacorp 401k and pension cashout into an IRA I received two checks in the regular USPS mail the same day, one for $700k and the other for $400k. That was the first and only time I've held a million dollars in my hand. I figured if major brokerages send out that kind of money via regular mail, it's probably pretty secure, so that's what I used to send the checks on to Vanguard.
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:17 AM   #15
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You have a computer, right? Do you have a scanner?

I scan checks and deposit them at Ally Bank frequently. Maybe his bank has upgraded to receiving scanned images for deposit? Lots of banks are going this way.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:13 AM   #16
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I've mailed in hundreds of checks over the years. I've never had anything 'lost in the mail' before.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:59 AM   #17
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I decided to send the checks via regular snail mail to my Dad's bank. In all likelyhood everything will be just fine. I am only trying to do right by my Dad and don't want to unnecessarily risk losing his money.

I was reallly surprised that my bank was not able to assist me. I had a copy of POA and all required documents. They said they required the original POA, which I could supply, but seems a bit overkill. But regardless they would only allow the checks to be deposited into an account that would have to be established in my Dad's name with my name linked to the account. They were emphatic that my Dad would have to appear in person to sign something. This really ticked me off because I had just told them that Dad was under hospice care and is unable to leave the care facility.

I thought a POA, or Attorney-in-Fact meant that I represented my Dad just the same as if he was there in person. I wonder if my bank would have even allowed me to cash the checks? I have been banking there for over 10 years and my checking account has consistently maintained a balance of at least 20 X the amount of the checks in question. I guess I don't understand exactly what the POA allows me to do.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:01 AM   #18
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POA paperwork is often specific to a given bank. There are many stories of how hard it is to get a bank to accept a POA that isn't on their specific form. It can be done, but will need to be reviewed at length by their legal department.
We use Schwab for holding funds and I make a practice of mailing checks under $50k and depositing any larger than that at a local branch. These are checks that are mailed to us, and I've never had any go missing. The only reason we do the local deposit is for faster clearing of the funds.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:13 AM   #19
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You might try your bank again. I have set up accounts jointly with people not there and returned with signature cards that never required an in-person visit. If you are an established customer with history (and a POA in hand) they should be able to set you up. You might just need to escalate to a branch mgr.
+1 Or go to a different bank. We set up bank accounts for my great aunt with only a POA. There was no need for her to appear and she was incompetent at that point anyway. I was an established customer at my credit union and just went in POA in hand. In fact, my aunt (my great aunt's niece) was the POA but she lives 2500 miles away from where great aunt and I live but they set up the account with great aunt as primary and aunt and I as co-owners so either of us could manage great aunt's affairs for her.

That said, I did mail deposits for year and never had a problem.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:19 AM   #20
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POA paperwork is often specific to a given bank. There are many stories of how hard it is to get a bank to accept a POA that isn't on their specific form. It can be done, but will need to be reviewed at length by their legal department.
We use Schwab for holding funds and I make a practice of mailing checks under $50k and depositing any larger than that at a local branch. These are checks that are mailed to us, and I've never had any go missing. The only reason we do the local deposit is for faster clearing of the funds.
It seems strange (at least to me) that a bank would require POA on their specific form. Dad's POA is a legal document drawn up by his lawyer 8 years ago in a different state from where I reside. I don't understand how a bank would have any input into the creation of the POA. Wonder what would happen if Dad dealt with 3 or 4 different banks. Would each expect Dad to create a POA on their form? If so, what is purpose of the POA created by his lawyer, or is it just a worthless document that he paid good money for the lawyer to draw up?
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