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Paperwork to ensure access to accounts.
Old 09-09-2016, 07:05 PM   #1
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Paperwork to ensure access to accounts.

Hi All,
My husband is showing some signs of memory issues at 65. While it may not be alarming, I would like to get our ducks in a row. In the past, I have been refused talking to Credit Card folks, Utilities, Insurance and Retirement accounts when there is an issue, because they are in his name.

Is there a blanket document that he can grant me access and I can grant him access? I am the one that handles the financials and any issues that need to be dealt with. He is still working.

I know the insurance company mentioned something I had to fill out, but was hoping it was a standard document.

Thanks in advance!!
CG
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:21 PM   #2
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Hi All,
My husband is showing some signs of memory issues at 65. While it may not be alarming, I would like to get our ducks in a row. In the past, I have been refused talking to Credit Card folks, Utilities, Insurance and Retirement accounts when there is an issue, because they are in his name.

Is there a blanket document that he can grant me access and I can grant him access? I am the one that handles the financials and any issues that need to be dealt with. He is still working.

I know the insurance company mentioned something I had to fill out, but was hoping it was a standard document.

Thanks in advance!!
CG
You probably want a durable power of attorney, which you can get from a Lawyer (customized to your state). In addition if you have trouble with some institutions and the POA (It seems some want their own form used) a letter from the lawyer will get the issue kicked upstairs to folks who can solve.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:14 AM   #3
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CG, I would suggest that you go through each of the utility and credit card accounts and get yourself added as a joint holder. May even be able to do most of it online.

For banks, where retirement and brokerage accounts are concerned, it is much easier to ask them for their POA forms and use those. A lot less headache and it is done without the back and forth with a lawyer to get yours accepted.

At the same time, be sure the beneficiaries on retirement accounts are correct and both of you have up to date health care POAs, advance directives, and living wills.

This is a good time to do a snapshot of everything, honestly. Also, set up online access for accounts like utilities if they aren't already done.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:27 AM   #4
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Such good advice. I suggest following both recommendations. Get the durable POA, also get added as joint accountholder to as many of the accounts as possible, and set up online access to all.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:45 AM   #5
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Such good advice. I suggest following both recommendations. Get the durable POA, also get added as joint accountholder to as many of the accounts as possible, and set up online access to all.
For banks and brokerages where you cannot get added as joint, make sure you are set as the beneficiary for Transfer on Death.

But of course Joint is best.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:26 PM   #6
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Thanks all. I wasn't sure if POA was the right document or not. I know when I called to find out if they had received a payment or why we had not received a bill, they would not talk to me unless my hubby was available. I think I need to make a list of all the potential accounts and start working through it. ..Oh joy.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:29 PM   #7
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Such good advice. I suggest following both recommendations. Get the durable POA, also get added as joint accountholder to as many of the accounts as possible, and set up online access to all.
+1 and at the same time make sure all beneficiary designations are updated on accounts solely in his name, like IRAs.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:59 PM   #8
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I will double check, but think we are good with beneficiaries. ...just can't talk to any of the companies.
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Old 09-10-2016, 02:53 PM   #9
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CG, I would suggest that you go through each of the utility and credit card accounts and get yourself added as a joint holder. May even be able to do most of it online.

For banks, where retirement and brokerage accounts are concerned, it is much easier to ask them for their POA forms and use those. A lot less headache and it is done without the back and forth with a lawyer to get yours accepted.

At the same time, be sure the beneficiaries on retirement accounts are correct and both of you have up to date health care POAs, advance directives, and living wills.

This is a good time to do a snapshot of everything, honestly. Also, set up online access for accounts like utilities if they aren't already done.
Sarah, I know that this is your career. might you have time to outline a good set of steps to follow for an uncomplicated approach to these issues?

Ha
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:43 AM   #10
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Make the POA you do has wording for "digital access" and "digital accounts". This will cover use of devices and access to accounts/passwords/email for the many things that are done online only today. If you google it, there's sample language that gives you an idea of its coverage.
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:51 AM   #11
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Sarah, I know that this is your career. might you have time to outline a good set of steps to follow for an uncomplicated approach to these issues?



Ha

Sure, it is something that is a particular passion of mine, and so incredibly important to do. What a good idea! I will write up a long post on the subject and create a new thread. It is something I've thought about doing before, but thanks for the nudge!
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:08 AM   #12
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For banks and brokerages where you cannot get added as joint, make sure you are set as the beneficiary for Transfer on Death.

But of course Joint is best.
+1

The OP'S profile says PA. When my DF passed in PA the TOD kicked in and transfered his assets to me and my siblings. Great, except the state of PA locked the accounts until they were satisfied the inheritance tax was paid, took months.

The OP being a spouse should not have to pay PA inheritance tax but it would be wise to check with a competent attorney who would be more likely to make sure that doesn't happen. DF had an attorney but he either missed this or DF didn't understand.
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:23 AM   #13
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I also live in PA. When I needed to exercise a POA for my dad due to cognitive disability, I had to get a letter from his doctor. Took his POA and letter to the county clerk and was able to get multiple certified POA documents, I think I asked for about 10 (paid a nominal copying charge.) They did it on the spot. The most important one was to the bank. They added my name to his account and my signature. I was closing other accounts, which is simpler than your situation.

There is no inheritance tax on spousal inheritance in PA. There is on offspring. I had enough cash in dad's checking account to pay the inheritance tax within 3 months (sold his condo and kept the money for his expenses.)
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:06 AM   #14
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I have been through the inheritance merry go round about 5 years ago when my parents passed.

I guess at this point, I want my name on the account, but don't have a medical reason to do so. It is just that I manage all the financials and getting both of us together during business hours to call is tough. Not to mention hubby is annoyed that we have to go that route.
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:16 AM   #15
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The issue with being added onto an account is that of liability. As an example, if you are added onto an account with a value of say, $3M and then you go out and crash into (and are at fault and the other party is injured) now the account's assets are YOUR assets and you *could* lose it.

For this reason, I have a POA for my Dad's accounts and the are already on file with them...so no issues there.
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:14 AM   #16
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Sure, it is something that is a particular passion of mine, and so incredibly important to do. What a good idea! I will write up a long post on the subject and create a new thread. It is something I've thought about doing before, but thanks for the nudge!
Thank you so much for taking on this task.

To the OP - you are smart to be addressing this now. My MIL had POA for FIL who had cognitive issues... that was great until *she* developed cognitive issues.... She refused to acknowledge she needed to give POA to one of her children - and, unfortunately, her issues made it harder to take care of FIL. It was a giant mess. No-one but her had power to make decisions for FIL's well-being. My husband, and the state, had to take MIL to court and get guardianship for FIL (emergency - so he could be put in a nursing home immediately.) and for MIL (took longer, full trial.)

Get POA for your DH. But also consider the possiblity that *you* may not be able to handle things in the future... and someone else may need POA for your DH (and yourself)... You can't sign over your POA to someone else... and at that point you DH may be deemed legally incompetant - and therefore unable to grant POA to someone else.
If you have children, consider getting an additional POA for DH in the name of one of your children as well... just in case you reach a point, in the future, where you also have cognitive decline. (and grant one to your child/children for yourself as well.)

Worst case scenario... but unfortunately, one our family faced.
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Old 09-11-2016, 01:33 PM   #17
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Excellent advice- unfortunately many people don't want to address the idea that one day they may need help with their finances. Not addressing this in advance can mean that your wishes are unlikely to be followed and your family is subjected to an even more stressful situation than simply taking care of you. It is also important to tell the person that he or she is being appointed poa and to tell him or her where the paperwork is. Also, its a good idea to submit the poa to the financial institution BEFORE a problem occurs. There have been situations where children have brought in a POA that has been revoked attempting to get control of the parents assets.
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Old 09-11-2016, 01:37 PM   #18
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Sure, it is something that is a particular passion of mine, and so incredibly important to do. What a good idea! I will write up a long post on the subject and create a new thread. It is something I've thought about doing before, but thanks for the nudge!
Thanks Sarah. I'll look forward to the post.

Ha
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:46 AM   #19
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...............................

For banks, where retirement and brokerage accounts are concerned, it is much easier to ask them for their POA forms and use those. A lot less headache and it is done without the back and forth with a lawyer to get yours accepted.

.
This is particularly important............my experience is that this is true for most, if not all, institutions............they don't seem to want to accept the generic POA.
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:30 AM   #20
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I had a brief experience trying to use a POA for my mother's bank account shortly before she passed away. The POA we had was old (5+ years) and the bank wouldn't accept it.

I'd definitely check with the bank and do whatever they advise, otherwise you may have problems accessing the accounts.
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