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Turn off credit?
Old 05-27-2006, 04:25 PM   #1
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Turn off credit?

We are in the final stages of getting my FIL into assisted living. He has Alzheimer's and is very unhappy (to say the least) with the plans to move him out of his house. I am concerned that he would be an easy mark for a con man / woman. Two doctors have written letters attesting to my FIL's inability to manage his own affairs. It has been too long in the making but it looks like he'll be in a safe place soon.

From all the legal types and people with similar experiences, can anyone suggest a way to totally kill the ability of someone to get anything on credit? Could he sign enforceable contracts in his situation?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 05-27-2006, 09:55 PM   #2
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Re: Turn off credit?

If your state allows it (CA does), a credit freeze would prevent
virtually all lenders from advaning him credit. This can be
accomplished with a written request and $10-15 to each of the
three credit reporting agencies.

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/cc/20030613c1.asp
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 05-28-2006, 12:19 AM   #3
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Re: Turn off credit?

might i suggest you don't tell your fil about the upcoming change. don't try to reason with him on this. if he is far enough into a.d. as to require removal from his home, then he won't be able to remember the reasoning you try to relay. such explanations only serve to upset him. as difficult as it is, you must allow roles to reverse & try to relate to your fil as your child, not as an adult. would you tell stuff to your child that would scare him (when not for entertainment purposes)?

as you've noticed, you only make him unhappy with the news of an assisted living facility. so why make him unhappy? be prepared for a horrible transition. this might require drugs (for you & him).

alzheimer's is very scary for the victim. they feel safe in their homes even when that might not be the safest place for them. i assume you've done your research and that you know he might attempt to wonder once you move him (looking for his home), so the move should be only to a locked unit of an assisted living facility.

to take complete financial control, you can take your fil to family court, have him declared incompetent and have yourselves made guardian. this is especially important if you are considering an independent (as opposed to locked) type of assisted living facility as the court will remove even his ability to remarry without your permission, which, i would think, could be more damaging then any issued credit.

a competency hearing only sounds drastic but it is actually a compassionate step and does not have to be at all antagonistic. the first place to start with any of this would be an eldercare lawyer. a little investment now might save a bunch of headache later.

Quote:
Alzheimer's Disease and Skill Abilities

Dr Reisberg has also shown that the decline typical of Alzheimer's disease is the flip side of normal skill acquisition by infants, children, and young adults:

Ability
Age of acquisition during normal development
Alzheimer's stage at which ability is lost

Hold a job. Function independently in the world.
12 years and older
stage 3... early Alzheimer's disease

Handle simple finances.
8-12 years
stage 4... mild Alzheimer's

Select proper clothing.
5-7 years
stage 5... moderate Alzheimer's
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 05-28-2006, 09:20 AM   #4
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Re: Turn off credit?

Our good son, lazy, gives good advice. I agree with the guardianship. In my state you file a petition, the court orders a doctor's examination, appoints a lawyer to make sure the petitioner isn't trying to take advantage of the person, and a short hearing is held. When a person is incompetent the process isn't too expensive or difficult.

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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 05-28-2006, 12:13 PM   #5
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Re: Turn off credit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Our good son, lazy, gives good advice.* I* agree with the guardianship.* In my state you file a petition, the court orders a doctor's examination, appoints a lawyer to make sure the petitioner isn't trying to take advantage of the person, and a short hearing is held.* When a person is incompetent the process isn't too expensive or difficult.
My wife has their powers-of-attorney. The my MIL/FIL listed each other as their primary. My wife was listed as both of their secondaries. So far in Texas, it appears that's all we need. She pulls out the POA's and the doctors' letters and everyone cooperates fully. There doesn't appear to be any need for a separate "guardianship." It has been obvious that if my wife didn't have these documents we would be in the "go to court route." I have heard horrible reports of the court in Harris County (Houston) draining assets from people to "protect" them from their children. Of course, when the money is gone they don't have to be protected any longer.

I only wish there was enough money to take advantage of them for. If managed conservatively and carefully, there should be just enough for about 10 years. Unfortunely, even at 85 an Alzheimer's patient could live longer than that. BTW, my MIL has Parkinson's and is also not in a decision making mode. Otherwise, she's also doing about as well physically as could be expected.
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 05-28-2006, 12:25 PM   #6
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Re: Turn off credit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
might i suggest you don't tell your fil about the upcoming change. don't try to reason with him on this.

to take complete financial control, you can take your fil to family court, have him declared incompetent and have yourselves made guardian. this is especially important if you are considering an independent (as opposed to locked) type of assisted living facility as the court will remove even his ability to remarry without your permission, which, i would think, could be more damaging then any issued credit.

a competency hearing only sounds drastic but it is actually a compassionate step and does not have to be at all antagonistic. the first place to start with any of this would be an eldercare lawyer. a little investment now might save a bunch of headache later.
We seem to be able to do pretty much whatever we want so far under Texas law. The assisted living facility has it set up where he can't leave without an "approved" person. Apparently, habeous corpus (sic?) doesn't apply to assisted living facilities -- that's a good thing.

You raise some good points about legal guardianship. That may be a necessary next step after the dust clears.

My FIL goes to his physician on Monday (yes, open on Memorial Day) and my wife will request some chemical help for the big day and following weeks if needed. I would like to ask for elephant darts.

My wife has been obsessed with getting him to "agree" but he doesn't. I think she is now accepting that. She has a hard time coping with his lack of capabilities. By your description, he can pick out his clothing and take care of personal hygiene. As far as personal finances, he's totally out of the game. Your chart agrees with his personal doctor's diagnosis of early phase of moderate Alzheimer's.
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 05-28-2006, 01:58 PM   #7
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Re: Turn off credit?

I really think you should consult with an elder law attorney and follow his/her advise.

My Mom has Parkenson's, Dad became manic after treatment for a brain tumor.* For her protection she and his physication asked that Dad be moved.* She asked an elder law attorney to file papers to enable me to determine where he lived.* It was money well invested, to put it mildly.
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 05-28-2006, 04:34 PM   #8
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Re: Turn off credit?

a poa can be withdrawn. could be your fil no longer has the capacity to do that but it is a risk. there is also downside to guardianship. at least here in florida, it means the courts watch everything and you have to appear before them for pretty much any major change in residence, expenses, etc.

but we have had only complete cooperation with the courts and not once have they denied one of our requests.

parkinson's and alzheimer's are closely related diseases and it is not unknown to have the victim of one develop the symptoms of the other. that must be very hard on your wife to see them go thru this especially at the same time.

very important that your wife understand the extent of the damage alzheimer's does and that she learn to relate to her dad in this new light. even at stage 5 (of 7 stages), the brain has already been about 50% destroyed. to really drive this home, you might do an image web search for brains damaged by alzheimer's. here's just one http://tinyurl.com/o8sqw

i also highly recommend meeting with a counselor from the alzheimer's association chapter in your area. you will find them very helpful. good luck.
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 05-28-2006, 04:39 PM   #9
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Re: Turn off credit?

2B, I agree with the folks who suggest you see an attorney. S/he might tell you that everything's under control and you need do nothing more, or s/he might suggest exploring guardianship and/or conservatorship. We went through all this with my Dad five years ago. My sister was appointed guardian and conservator and now manages his affairs. I won't lie and tell you that it feels great all the time, or that Dad didn't resent it, but the whole family sleeps better knowing the legal structure to protect him is in place, and that someone who loves him is charged with watching out for his welfare.

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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 06-07-2006, 01:44 PM   #10
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Re: Turn off credit?

From Clark Howard's show the other day I learned that you can freeze credit based on state law in some, but not all states. Here's a link to the different states and what their laws are and links to the appropriate agency website.

http://www.consumersunion.org/campai...2355indiv.html

Also, again from CH, you can sign up to "opt out" of some of the pre-approved credit crap junk mail by notifying the credit reporting bureaus to stop selling your information. It doesn't stop banks and other financial institutions that you have accounts with from selling your info though. That you have to do via their "privacy policies" or I guess you can just call them. The number for the Opt Out program is 888-5-OPT-OUT.
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 06-07-2006, 03:08 PM   #11
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Re: Turn off credit?

We put a credit freeze on our accounts about a year ago. IIRC it cost $10 for each of the three agencies; total of $60 for DW and me. Recommended.
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Re: Turn off credit?
Old 06-07-2006, 03:45 PM   #12
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Re: Turn off credit?

2B, good luck, living with a Relative with Alzheimers is extremely difficult, as you well know.

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