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Old 03-19-2012, 03:36 PM   #161
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Based on my experience any time a senior is scheduled for surgery the family should consider the possibility that they will recuperate in a skilled nursing facility. Visit those in the area and develop a list as your favorite may not have a bed when the senior is discharged. So often families must make those decisions under difficult circumstances.
Been there, done that.
I was in Grand Junction's hospital ward with my Dad, using both a geriatric care manager and the hospital's discharge coordinator.

My brother was in his city with a second geriatric care manager and his Web browser displaying Google Maps.

The discharge coordinator would come into the room and say "Here's a list I pulled from the Internet of skilled nursing facilities that have vacancies. These are also care facilities, and these have four or five stars." Then I'd huddle with my care manager, put my brother on speaker phone, and talk over the choices & locations. He'd run them by his care manager and then visit them that afternoon. (When a care facility says "Sure, come right on over!" that's generally a good sign.) He'd call me back and we'd go back to the discharge coordinator to set things up.

After two false starts we found the one where Dad is today.

The care managers were the best $1500 ever spent.
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:55 PM   #162
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It's been 15 months since my Dad moved into a care facility, and I've been his conservator for the last five months. We've spent most of our time shutting down Dad's apartment, pursuing guardianship & conservatorship, learning about his finances, and getting caught up on old business. In the middle of that we shifted our focus to dealing with multiple myeloma and chemotherapy. It looks like things are finally settling down. Dad's happy, the oncologist has finished chemotherapy for "wait and see" mode, and I have Dad's finances almost where they should be.

So last month I finally started going through his files. (There's a lot of Freudian avoidance at work here.) 15 months ago I'd given them a quick once-over and pulled out the most important ones, but I'd boxed up the rest for "later". Luckily half of the box turned out to be every tax return (both state & federal) dating back to 1953-- including supporting documentation.

I finally started paging through other files with fascinating names like "old Medicare receipts". That's when I started finding mis-filed papers. It never occurred to me that my father's incredibly neat filing system would have mistakes. I guess that's another one of my conservator's blind spots.

Dad's an electrical engineer, and he handled Alzheimer's for nearly three years of independence with rigorous calendars & checklists. Even today he wakes up with no idea where he is, but soon his wall calendar catches his eye and he reads his note to himself about where he is and what's happening that day. It's sort of a short-term memory re-boot... every morning. So I thought he'd been filing his papers in the right places, but that must have stopped soon after the Alzheimer's got started.

One of the papers is a note on an osteopath's stationery dated June 2009. Dad was probably referred by his primary doc during his treatment for high blood pressure. The note covered all sorts of causes for dementia and advised various things to do (and not do). Dad made some of his own notes on the osteopath's diagnosis, and then put a memo on top to make another appointment in September 2009. But it was filed in the wrong folder, and I bet he either forgot about it or decided that he was tired of being a "lab rat". A couple months after that consultation he wrote us letters that he would no longer use his computer, and that started our countdown timer on his independent living. If Dad's symptoms were apparent in mid-2009 then he probably started having "slipping memory" (his words) problems in mid-2008. If he'd filed the paper correctly he might have returned to his doctor and started treatment with Aricept or Namenda. But he didn't.

Another form mis-filed in the Medicare folder is a blood test from April 2010. They noted that his white & red blood cell counts were low along with his platelets. The memo attached to it asked Dad to come in for more tests, but there's no evidence that he ever did. I don't know whether this test was showing signs of multiple myeloma way back in early 2010, before Dad was diagnosed in mid-2011. We forwarded the lab results to his oncologist. I guess the tests could have reflected technician's errors or malnutrition instead of myeloma.

But now we come to the reason that this is posted to the geriatric finances thread. Most disturbing of all was a mis-filed form from his Medicare supplemental insurance company... for life insurance.

Dad's Medicare supplemental insurance comes from a company called Bankers Life and Casualty, and they have agents in his old town. Dad's "old Medicare receipts" folder had a bunch of letters from various agents over the years, where they introduced themselves or turned Dad's Medigap business over to a new agent. Then in March 2010, an agent sent Dad a "Life Insurance Buyer's Guide" and a package. I can't tell whether Dad started the conversation or whether the agent contacted him first, but somebody (other than Dad) actually filled out his application for a $92K life insurance policy.

The application's not accurate or completed, but it named us sons as beneficiaries. It was signed by Dad and witnessed by two agents. It has a policy number and it's listed as "Single premium whole life insurance". The application said it cost $67,636.94 to obtain an eventual $92,380 coverage.

You might say that I became a bit agitated. By March 2010 Dad was showing clear signs of Alzheimer's as witnessed by two doctors (and two sons). However even in mid-2011 he was still carrying on social conversations with lawyers who thought he was competent, and he actually passed two of the care facility's mini-mental state exams with flying colors. So I could believe that his social skills made him seem competent... especially to a slimy insurance agent seeking a big commission.

But $67K?!? That's not a commission, that's fraud. I searched all over Dad's records for large withdrawals or stock/mutual fund sales, and couldn't find a thing.

So I wrote to the insurance agent, included my conservator's appointment letter, and asked him to confirm the existence of the policy.

A different agent wrote back with a one-page summary. It turns out that the premium was actually $6763.69. (No idea where the "4" came from.) The coverage was still the same. The policy was paid up with that single premium, so if I hadn't noticed that life-insurance application in his medical file then I never would have learned about its existence.

(Note to self: find out if there's a national or state database of life insurance policies.)

The agent has forwarded my request to headquarters for the rest of the documentation, including a copy of the policy. Since the application had numerous typos and incomplete fields, I'll probably have to get it corrected.

I'm not sure that there's anything to be done. If anyone is getting ripped off, it's the insurance company. Dad could've bluffed his way through the whole process, especially if they filled out the policy for him. Even if the insurance agents were taking advantage of Dad for a commission, I think it'd be impossible to make a legal case out of it. The last thing I want to do is hire another lawyer, and even if Dad did get cajoled into spending $6.7K then eventually his estate is going to collect $92K. In other words it's hard to prove that anybody took advantage of Dad.

So Dad has a real no-foolin' life insurance policy, but I can't figure out how he paid for it. That really bothers me. I've gone through all of Dad's financial accounts for the last three years. (The accounts that I know about, anyway.) I cannot find a $6763.69 transaction. The agent is going to look into their records next week to see how they received payment, and I'm wondering if Dad had a cash stash or another bank account somewhere.

All this from a few sheets of paper in the wrong folder.

It's been 15 months since Dad used either of his credit cards. Both of them have expired. I have the new cards and I have not activated them, but the accounts are still active. When I went through both account histories online looking for a $6763.69 charge, I realized that one of the accounts is a Chase "rewards" card with 17,000+ points on it. I clicked on the "Redeem rewards" link and... sonofagun, I was able to claim his $150 cash rebate plus a $10 gift certificate. Another tip that needs to be added to the conservator's manual.

Dad hasn't done any flying since about 2002 and he has no airline papers in his files. I'm going to guess that I don't have to worry about any frequent-flyer miles, and they'd probably only be good for travel anyway. Not an issue.

As far as I can tell, this was the only insurance policy that Dad's taken out in over 40 years. But if anyone knows where to search for "abandoned" life insurance policies, please let me know where to get started. I've already done Colorado's website but I'm not sure whether that applies to policies where the insurer is in another state.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:48 AM   #163
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I can't remember how old your dad is but $92K for a single $6763 premium sounds like it was probably reasonable. What's that all about? Maybe he knew Alzheimer's was on the way and could still see a good deal? The bit about social skills fooling people coupled with contemporary misfilings and other clues is scary. I think a lot of us believe we will see problems coming and make sure we turn over our affairs to the kids but it is probably more likely that we will hold off until we are already vulnerable to predators or simple errors. Difficult to insure against a big screw-up.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:29 AM   #164
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Nords,

I can't believe I didn't see this thread earlier (must have been on a forum sabbatical) or you didn't PM me.

DW and I have recently ended active management of her parents assets. I sounds like you have, at least, not had to endure your father threatening you for taking over things. Be happy for that.

I glanced through the thread and you, as I would expect, have things well in hand. As for "missing accounts" all you can do is watch the mail and hope something arrives. A year is about what you may need to get this. Also, you will need to look in the "lost property" internet website for your father's name for probably the next decade. My MIL recently showed up as the owner of a couple of shares of a company she worked for several decades ago. It's a trivial amount of money but we'll apply after my FIL's estate is formally closed. There isn't enough money to justify the legal costs of opening up my FIL's estate to do this.

My father had a safe deposit box full of cash (~$17,000). I'm sure you checked his banks for the possibility of a safe deposit box. If it's somewhere else, you will hopefully get a statement for payment.

My inlaws had closets full of financial records. It took weeks to go through it all. They were total pack rats and had bank and brokerage statement going back decades. They had accounts all over town and all were relatively small. My FIL bought several variable annuities after his Alzheimer's had started to kick in further lowering (if possible) my opinion of variable annuity sales people. Did we find everything? Probably but we'll never be sure.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:08 AM   #165
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2b, your comment about the safety deposit box of cash made me think. It might be prudent to do a house search and closely inspect items in house before auctioning off items. Im sure I am not the only oddball that has cash squirreled away in my house. Though its not much, If I died today, who knows how long it would go undetected. Just last month nearby someone from an estate sent to Goodwill a bunch of items and in one container was 14k. Goodwill trying to locate the proper owner has now had 15 people officially claim it was theirs of course.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:45 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
The application's not accurate or completed, but it named us sons as beneficiaries. It was signed by Dad and witnessed by two agents. It has a policy number and it's listed as "Single premium whole life insurance". The application said it cost $67,636.94 to obtain an eventual $92,380 coverage.

A different agent wrote back with a one-page summary. It turns out that the premium was actually $6763.69. (No idea where the "4" came from.) The coverage was still the same. The policy was paid up with that single premium, so if I hadn't noticed that life-insurance application in his medical file then I never would have learned about its existence.

(Note to self: find out if there's a national or state database of life insurance policies.)
While I am not an insurance agent, I find it hard to believe that a man in his early 70s could buy a single-premium $92k death benefit whole life policy for the meager sum of $6.7k - unless he were the bionic man! Just doing a quick check on State Farm's website for policies yielded this:

5-year TERM $92,000 policy:
72 year old, non-tobacco
$6,500 ANNUAL premium

10-pay (pay premiums for 10 years) $100,000 Whole-life policy:
72 year old, super-preferred non-tobacco
$9,979 ANNUAL premium (for 10 years, total premiums paid: $99,790)

You better check that insurance policy with a fine tooth comb! Me thinks it was either an annual premium for just a term life policy, or a $6.7k premium for a $9.2k policy. Or, was this a pre-existing policy that he merely topped-off to make it paid-in-full for the rest of his life? Whole life policies send an annual statement showing the year's premium payments, deductions for the cost of insurance, and interest credited to the policy. Demand to see a copy of the latest statement for that policy, and it should show all of the above and resolve any questions.

Also, since you said you had all of dad's old tax returns, check out the Schedule B as well as any 1099s starting several years before the insurance premium payment, and a year or two after. I have a feeling your dad would have chosen an interest checking account (versus a free checking, no interest account), so if there's a bank that sent him a 1099 that you didn't know he had an account at, it might indicate he still has an account there. Since banks don't have to send you a 1099 if the interest earned is under $10, they might have dropped the interest to zero over the past year or two and he might not have received a 1099 lately, so be sure to check a while back when yields were actually non-zero. Something tells me he wouldn't have handed over $6.8k in cash to an insurance agent (or if he had, he would have had the werewithall to have demanded an iron-clad receipt stating that he turned over that cash to them, which he would have filed away)

Also, wouldn't hurt to call the local banks in the area that your father might have had a safe deposit box at and simply say you wanted to verify he didn't have any boxes there. There can't be that many, so it wouldn't take too many calls to double check it.


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It's been 15 months since Dad used either of his credit cards. Both of them have expired. I have the new cards and I have not activated them, but the accounts are still active. When I went through both account histories online looking for a $6763.69 charge, I realized that one of the accounts is a Chase "rewards" card with 17,000+ points on it. I clicked on the "Redeem rewards" link and... sonofagun, I was able to claim his $150 cash rebate plus a $10 gift certificate. Another tip that needs to be added to the conservator's manual.
The subject of checking your father's free annual credit report for open credit cards was brought up earlier in this thread - check that credit report for old cards he might have closed out earlier. Usually those closed accounts still show up on your credit report for a few years after you close them out, and sometimes they even list the monthly statement balances from several years ago...one of those old closed accounts might show a monthly statement balance of $6.7k or more.
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:28 PM   #167
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Thanks, guys. I'm glad I'm posting about it. This type of forensic financial management should be the core of the book "Conservator: The Missing Manual"...

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I can't remember how old your dad is but $92K for a single $6763 premium sounds like it was probably reasonable. What's that all about? Maybe he knew Alzheimer's was on the way and could still see a good deal? The bit about social skills fooling people coupled with contemporary misfilings and other clues is scary. I think a lot of us believe we will see problems coming and make sure we turn over our affairs to the kids but it is probably more likely that we will hold off until we are already vulnerable to predators or simple errors. Difficult to insure against a big screw-up.
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While I am not an insurance agent, I find it hard to believe that a man in his early 70s could buy a single-premium $92k death benefit whole life policy for the meager sum of $6.7k - unless he were the bionic man!
Dad's now 78 years old, and he was 76 when he bought the policy. I wish I could figure out his state of mind at the time. I doubt he remembered that he already had a dementia diagnosis. The "friendly insurance agent" is a big predator issue, especially for an elder who preferred to live like a hermit. Dad can still bluff his way through a casual coffee shop conversation for at least 30 minutes, but I would think that the insurance agents would realize what was going on... that's why I suspect they "helped him fill out the form".

I have no idea what life insurance costs... because I have no need for it, and neither does Dad. He's been widowed for 25 years. Even in Alzheimer's he remembers that I'm an ER and that my brother is close to his own FI. Dad's had a couple small whole life policies on "us kids" since the 1960s, so maybe this insurance agent sparked an old memory when they struck up a conversation about whole life.

This week the current agent at the Bankers Life branch in Dad's old town is going to look for payment records. I'm waiting on a copy of the policy from the Bankers Life HQ in Chicago. Who knows... maybe it's been suspended because Bankers Life wouldn't let their bills be forwarded. I've also written to the company that issued the other small whole life policies. I haven't seen a statement from them in over a year, so the USPS probably wouldn't forward their mail.

I think insurance companies are very familiar with vanishing clients. It's a dirty little secret. States require turning these assets over within a few years but nobody enforces it. The insurance companies don't reveal who's on their books, although at least one website promises to find out-- for an $18 fee.

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Nords,
I can't believe I didn't see this thread earlier (must have been on a forum sabbatical) or you didn't PM me.
DW and I have recently ended active management of her parents assets. I sounds like you have, at least, not had to endure your father threatening you for taking over things. Be happy for that.
Last time I saw Dad he didn't recognize me. (He thought I was his ol' college roomie.) The nurse asked him about his sons visiting him, and in front of me Dad told her "I have two sons. My older boy Doug is a smart sonavabitch. My younger boy is... a good son." So apparently I have his support. And he's generally a happy Alzheimer's patient, so we all get along when we're together.

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I glanced through the thread and you, as I would expect, have things well in hand. As for "missing accounts" all you can do is watch the mail and hope something arrives. A year is about what you may need to get this. Also, you will need to look in the "lost property" internet website for your father's name for probably the next decade. My MIL recently showed up as the owner of a couple of shares of a company she worked for several decades ago. It's a trivial amount of money but we'll apply after my FIL's estate is formally closed. There isn't enough money to justify the legal costs of opening up my FIL's estate to do this.
My father had a safe deposit box full of cash (~$17,000). I'm sure you checked his banks for the possibility of a safe deposit box. If it's somewhere else, you will hopefully get a statement for payment.
My inlaws had closets full of financial records. It took weeks to go through it all. They were total pack rats and had bank and brokerage statement going back decades. They had accounts all over town and all were relatively small. My FIL bought several variable annuities after his Alzheimer's had started to kick in further lowering (if possible) my opinion of variable annuity sales people. Did we find everything? Probably but we'll never be sure.
That's all good advice, thanks. I've had his mail forwarded for about 15 months now (and updated the senders we knew about) so USPS is probably done forwarding by now. I've had tons of magazine subscriptions and charity appeals.
I check the "lost property" websites about every six months, mainly because I think of something new to look for. I'll put this step on a semi-annual tickler.
With my conservator's court order, I've asked both his old bank and his current bank about safe deposit boxes. They say they don't have any. But otherwise I'm at the mercy of the lost property system.
I hear you about packrats. In March 2011 I threw away three 13-gallon trash bags of files. (Plus a couple more bags of newspapers and a couple more of magazines, and so on. Thank goodness he lived in a 2BR apartment.) Most of it was three decades of monthly brokerage statements and equity analysis. Most of the "important" files that I've gone through in the last couple months were still junk, except for the occasional mis-filed gem. At least Dad seemed to stick with just one bank, one insurance company, one brokerage, one doctor, one restaurant, and so forth.

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2b, your comment about the safety deposit box of cash made me think. It might be prudent to do a house search and closely inspect items in house before auctioning off items.
We did that last July and it went pretty well. My brother and his GF know antiques & collectibles and they used an appraiser for a few things. I had already tossed the place once and my brother did it again, so we think we got it all. (As far as we know!) Dad was a filer and a packrat, but at least he was not a hiding hoarder.

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Also, since you said you had all of dad's old tax returns, check out the Schedule B as well as any 1099s starting several years before the insurance premium payment, and a year or two after. I have a feeling your dad would have chosen an interest checking account (versus a free checking, no interest account), so if there's a bank that sent him a 1099 that you didn't know he had an account at, it might indicate he still has an account there. Since banks don't have to send you a 1099 if the interest earned is under $10, they might have dropped the interest to zero over the past year or two and he might not have received a 1099 lately, so be sure to check a while back when yields were actually non-zero. Something tells me he wouldn't have handed over $6.8k in cash to an insurance agent (or if he had, he would have had the werewithall to have demanded an iron-clad receipt stating that he turned over that cash to them, which he would have filed away)
Excellent point, thank you ! I knew there was a reason to save the old tax returns-- or at least no reason to toss them out.

I'm mystified where the payment funds came from too, and you're right-- it's possible that the policy has been suspended or even lapsed for non-payment. At this point I'm more interested in solving the payment mystery than I care about the insurance.

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Also, wouldn't hurt to call the local banks in the area that your father might have had a safe deposit box at and simply say you wanted to verify he didn't have any boxes there. There can't be that many, so it wouldn't take too many calls to double check it.
You would be surprised at how labor-intensive and time-consuming that is. Most of the calls go to voicemail and are never returned. If they pick up then they want evidence that you're a conservator (along with proof of ID). Even then they aren't impressed-- you're treated as if you're calling the medical clinic to see if any of your old girlfriends have been tested for STDs. It seems as if you're not already a customer, or trying to become one, then banks don't want to waste their time on you.

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The subject of checking your father's free annual credit report for open credit cards was brought up earlier in this thread - check that credit report for old cards he might have closed out earlier. Usually those closed accounts still show up on your credit report for a few years after you close them out, and sometimes they even list the monthly statement balances from several years ago...one of those old closed accounts might show a monthly statement balance of $6.7k or more.
Pulling his credit report went well. He'd lived in that apartment for over a decade so it was just the one address. He had a car loan from 1999-2005. (He sold that SUV to my brother when he went into the care facility.) But for at least the last 10 years, he was only using the two Chase credit cards that were on his report. There was a query from Cap One but that was probably just a solicitation-- no evidence that he ever signed up.

I guess I'll be going through a decade or so of tax returns after dinner tonight...
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:28 AM   #168
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I guess I'll be going through a decade or so of tax returns after dinner tonight...
My FIL had been paying a CPA firm to do his taxes for decades. I spent about 20 minutes on TurboTax and got the whole thing done. That CPA firm must have missed the easiest $600 they ever billed.

Depending on when your father began having problems, you might find an interest bearing account or two on his tax returns. It sounds like you probably won't since he wisely simplified things rather than what my FIL did.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:07 PM   #169
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The mystery payment cleared up pretty quickly once the letters got back to Hawaii.

The new life insurance policy was bought from a 1035 exchange of old whole-life policies.

Between 1964 and 1969, Dad purchased four separate whole-life policies on my brother and me. (The first I learned about this was in March 2011 when Dad was in the hospital and I was looking through his "In case of death" files.) I don't know much about life insurance-- I've only ever had military term insurance and I don't carry any life insurance today. The 1960s company was "State Mutual Life Assurance", which eventually morphed into "First Allmerica Financial".

However we know how whole life turned out. In the late 1970s the dividends began to fall short of the premiums and Dad let the difference accrue as loans against the cash value. In the '80s the tax laws changed (the interest on the loans was no longer tax-deductible) so Dad paid in more money to keep the policies current. He had four thick files of correspondence of the company asking every year for more money to pay the premiums, Dad grudgingly paying the extra, and both sides bickering over the the cash value. It takes a lot to get my Dad upset (I'm an expert on the subject), but judging from his letters this company succeeded in annoying him more than once.

Over the years the four policies grew to a total cash value of about $65K and an insured value of just over $98K. By 2010 (when he did the 1035 exchange) I'm not sure why he still kept them. I'd achieved financial independence and my brother is close, so I'm not sure how Dad felt about keeping these policies going. 40 years of habit? Sunk costs?

We still don't know who started the conversation in 2010, and the insurance agent has moved on so we may never know. However interest rates were still dropping and the old policies may have needed more paid-in premiums, so I bet Dad was pretty happy to do a 1035. The application listed their cash value at $67,636.94, and the agent recorded a one-time premium of $6763.69. Their "net surrender value" was a little over $62K and the insured value is now $92K. Those numbers don't make much math sense, but that's what's on the one-page database printout summary. Maybe I'll have better numbers when I get a copy of the policy.

By 2010, as Dad's Alzheimer's symptoms took hold, I can see how he'd think a 1035 would solve all his problems. He probably felt that he didn't need the cash (by this point he wasn't even spending his pension). Maybe he wanted my brother and I to have enough money to take care of death expenses. I wish he'd talked about it.

The old insurance company confirmed the 1035 exchange, and now I understand why they stopped mailing updates. (If they mailed a policy termination letter or some other "farewell", Dad didn't file it.) The new insurance company is getting me a copy of the new policy. Otherwise I think I'm done here, and there's no need to retain four decades of correspondence.

I looked through 10 years of tax returns, and confirmed that he'd only had one other checking account at another bank. He mentioned in an old letter that he'd closed it in early 2004, so I'm feeling pretty confident that we've found all his assets-- and this time I really mean it.

His 2010 tax return also included four 1099-Rs from First Allmerica for the 1035 event. (None of that was considered taxable.) Other than the 1099s I had no other documentation of what had happened to the old policies, and those weren't enough at the time for me to put the puzzle pieces together.

Separate topic: while I was going through Dad's records looking for insurance payments, I reviewed his credit-card website. He hasn't used his Chase cards in over a year, they've expired, and I have the new (unactivated) cards here, so there haven't been any fraud concerns. But while I was on the website I noticed a little "Redeem rewards!" button, and I saw that he had over 17,000 "Chase points". Once I'd waded through all the coupons and airline offers, waaaaaay down at the bottom was a "redeem for cash" option. I was able to request $150 in rewards checks, which arrived yesterday and will be deposited in his brokerage account tomorrow.

I've added a new book idea to my list: "Conservator: The Missing Manual"...
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:14 AM   #170
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"Conservator, a detective adventure in real life".
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:23 AM   #171
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"Conservator, a detective adventure in real life".
Perfect title another Nords book, should he decide to write one on that topic! That would really suck the reader in and ramp up the sales numbers.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:46 AM   #172
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Nords,

Sorry about your dad's condition.

Have you considered with what you have learned being the conservator of your dad's financial affairs that you might write another book on the subject.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:18 PM   #173
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"Conservator, a detective adventure in real life".
Good one-- I've added it to the list. Thanks!
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Perfect title another Nords book, should he decide to write one on that topic! That would really suck the reader in and ramp up the sales numbers.
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Nords,
Sorry about your dad's condition.
Have you considered with what you have learned being the conservator of your dad's financial affairs that you might write another book on the subject.
Those are all great therapy questions that have been occupying our Ohana Nords dinner-table conversation, and at a minimum it'd start out as another blog. Very easily done, too, since I've already written several blog posts about it. However I'm holding on to this one until I take the blog out to its own host. The transfer is already looking complicated enough.

I also know enough now to write/publish without a publisher. I'm going to have to mention that to my publisher.

It's ironic that the blogger/advertising demographic is so big in the 20-30-year-old set who are trying to get out of debt, start building their net worth, and start families. This is the same group that's soon going to be taking care of their parents. USAA is starting to see these issues among their members already, and the situation is only going to get bigger.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:10 PM   #174
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"Conservator, a detective adventure in real life".
How about Executor, a detective adventure in real life? Yep, happening to us. The only good thing is my SIL agreed to act as executor which allowed DH to decline without causing too much of an upheaval.

Preparation? None whatsoever. A sudden death. Not really expecting to be named executor. Left behind real assets, some bills, and apparently no savings whatsoever.

To help SIL with the mess, I spent several days playing "forensics accountant" going though mail, papers, files and computers to put together the state of the estate and key contacts. Files in complete disarray. No recent bank statements (he must have decided to go paperless but never printed or saved a downloaded statement). No 2011 tax filing AFAIK.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:30 PM   #175
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Reading this thread it reminded me to once again thank my father who passed in 1997 for having been very open and trusting of me (thankfully no dementia, emphysema was the cause). He had a revocable trust set up with me as co-trustee, and pretty much all he had was in a Fido account. Death certificate to Fido and within days his assets moved to my account, that was the end of it. No probate, no lawyers, no one knew otherwise so no one calling about their "investment services." Which reminds me that I need to do the same thing, I just hate to hire a lawyer to set it up.

Contrast the above to FIL, an attorney, who was moving into what I'd call mid stage Alzheimers before other problems overtook him. Unfortunately, he was involved in several civic organizations where apparently members took advantage of him, selling him products. He had many inappropriate policies squirreled who knows where. BIL handled estate (poorly I might add; inexplicably lackadaisical in responding to insurance companies to the point they were calling my wife, PLEADING with her to get BIL to file appropriate forms...go figure) and it took four years to close out.

Yes, I've been procrastinating on the revocable trust deal but I hope to have all our stuff in very easy to find file. Heck, between Quicken and access to Fido that's really all there is, except one final job 401k I have yet to move over. Hope it's a long time from now but want our final transactions to be as pleasant for our kids as possible.

And good luck Nords in your efforts. Family relations can get so complicated when it comes to these issues....
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:46 PM   #176
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How about Executor, a detective adventure in real life? Yep, happening to us. The only good thing is my SIL agreed to act as executor which allowed DH to decline without causing too much of an upheaval.
Preparation? None whatsoever. A sudden death. Not really expecting to be named executor. Left behind real assets, some bills, and apparently no savings whatsoever.
To help SIL with the mess, I spent several days playing "forensics accountant" going though mail, papers, files and computers to put together the state of the estate and key contacts. Files in complete disarray. No recent bank statements (he must have decided to go paperless but never printed or saved a downloaded statement). No 2011 tax filing AFAIK.
I'm very sorry. I've heard "executor" described as a duty that you'd wish upon your worst enemy.

It might be too early for my brother and I to have that conversation, but Dad's will sets bro up as executor since he's closer (and a state resident). I'll probably get to "help" with the financial side, and I don't mind the paperwork of obtaining a tax ID number and doing the final tax return, but I suspect that it'll be worth it to pay a lawyer. Or at least a different lawyer than we used for the conservator/guardian filing.

If it helps your SIL, Nolo has an excellent executor's guide, and it's probably at a local library.

But when you search Amazon.com for the keyword "conservator", you get over 700 listings for various historic books-- or texts on cleaning paintings & preserving statues. Most state probate courts have their own conservator & guardian guides, but the only recent book on the subject is "What You Need To Know: The Adult Child's Guide to Being a Financial Caregiver (Volume 1)" by David W Russell CFP. Which isn't at my local library, but which I'll eventually buy as a reference. It's his first & only book, so I'm not sure what he means by "Volume 1"...
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:28 PM   #177
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I'm very sorry. I've heard "executor" described as a duty that you'd wish upon your worst enemy.

It might be too early for my brother and I to have that conversation, but Dad's will sets bro up as executor since he's closer (and a state resident). I'll probably get to "help" with the financial side, and I don't mind the paperwork of obtaining a tax ID number and doing the final tax return, but I suspect that it'll be worth it to pay a lawyer. Or at least a different lawyer than we used for the conservator/guardian filing.

If it helps your SIL, Nolo has an excellent executor's guide, and it's probably at a local library.

But when you search Amazon.com for the keyword "conservator", you get over 700 listings for various historic books-- or texts on cleaning paintings & preserving statues. Most state probate courts have their own conservator & guardian guides, but the only recent book on the subject is "What You Need To Know: The Adult Child's Guide to Being a Financial Caregiver (Volume 1)" by David W Russell CFP. Which isn't at my local library, but which I'll eventually buy as a reference. It's his first & only book, so I'm not sure what he means by "Volume 1"...
Nords, you've already done the lion's share of what an executor needs to do. An attorney can be hired for a reasonable fee but be worth much more in real assistance.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:37 PM   #178
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I'm very sorry. I've heard "executor" described as a duty that you'd wish upon your worst enemy.

It might be too early for my brother and I to have that conversation, but Dad's will sets bro up as executor since he's closer (and a state resident). I'll probably get to "help" with the financial side, and I don't mind the paperwork of obtaining a tax ID number and doing the final tax return, but I suspect that it'll be worth it to pay a lawyer. Or at least a different lawyer than we used for the conservator/guardian filing.

If it helps your SIL, Nolo has an excellent executor's guide, and it's probably at a local library.

But when you search Amazon.com for the keyword "conservator", you get over 700 listings for various historic books-- or texts on cleaning paintings & preserving statues. Most state probate courts have their own conservator & guardian guides, but the only recent book on the subject is "What You Need To Know: The Adult Child's Guide to Being a Financial Caregiver (Volume 1)" by David W Russell CFP. Which isn't at my local library, but which I'll eventually buy as a reference. It's his first & only book, so I'm not sure what he means by "Volume 1"...
I would say it's "not nice" to name someone as executor of your will but not have a single conversation about it let alone pass along some key information. But anyone can name anyone.

SIL is working with the lawyer who drew up his will - someone who had been his lawyer for a long time. Hopefully she can use his prior CPA to do the taxes. He had disposed of a tiny business, but not tax wise! So she'll need help with the taxes. I think I managed to collect most of what is needed for filing. She has to wait till the will is probated before actually doing anything (like filing an extension or even talking to the CPA). We did find prior tax returns.

As far as your brother's role as the executor, handling your father's financial matters and taxes, you're already there! If you don't have to deal with a house and contents, or vehicles, you're mostly done. Beyond funeral arrangements and a few legal filings and retiring/distributing assets, it won't be different! You just have to tell your brother what to do .
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:26 PM   #179
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Note that in addition to the final 1040 one may have to do a 1041 (turbo tax business does this) for the estate if it has over $600 in income.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:35 AM   #180
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I'm very sorry. I've heard "executor" described as a duty that you'd wish upon your worst enemy.
I suppose it depends on the complexity of the estate and yours is complicated by doing it long distance.

When my mother passed I handled hers, but it was made much easier since I had been handling her finances for the previous six months so I knew all the account numbers and where everything was.

The only property was her car and furniture.

Still, it was a busy part-time job for the first few months then began winding down as time went on.
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