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Another Elder Law Question
Old 06-18-2006, 06:51 AM   #1
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Another Elder Law Question

In my continuing saga with my in-laws, I have another issue.

My FIL has a series of small load mutual fund accounts and annuities. We're in the process of cashing these out to pay for his and MIL's care. This is all well and good for now but I hope to have their house sold soon which is in the $500K area -- their principal asset. I tried to open a brokerage account with my discount broker (Etrade). They told me they won't open a new account for them with my wife as POA.

Is this "normal?"

My alternatives right now are to go with CDs at their bank or use a full service high cost brokerage account he has open now. That broker want $500 to sell about $50,000 in a single stock. At Etrade it would be $10.

I have talked with an elder law lawyer. He reviewed the POA's and said they were fine. Because I wasn't trying to do the Medicaid shuffle, he didn't recommend a trust. He also didn't charge me anything. This inability to open an account is new since then. I suspect that if we did a trust the trust would be able to open an account. The brokerage commissions may more than pay for setting up the trust.

Once again, I hope to tap the legal minds on this forum.
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane -- Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Another Elder Law Question
Old 06-18-2006, 09:50 AM   #2
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Re: Another Elder Law Question

Originally Posted by 2B
I tried to open a brokerage account with my discount broker (Etrade).* They told me they won't open a new account for them with my wife as POA.*
Maybe the problem is eTrade. Have you tried Fidelity? They were quite cooperative with my father when his father was in a full-care facility.

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Re: Another Elder Law Question
Old 06-18-2006, 10:40 AM   #3
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Re: Another Elder Law Question

by no means a legal mind here. my experience in florida as legal guardian is that we've had no problem with accounts but we are very limited in how we can move money.

for sentimental reasons we've kept mom's house for her just in case "they" find a cure and can rebuild the 80% of my mother's brain which is surely gone by now. for more practical reasons we'd take a huge capital gains hit to sell before death which is likely around the corner.

the cash is all handled through guardian accounts with a national bank. florida had a history of relatives and others fleecing the elderly infirm and so holdings are limited to safe investments and strictly monitored.

so we haven't managed to grow investments much but we have been able to sustain the original capital pretty much intact minus i think less than $200k over five years.

so i guess my point being that even given guardianship, never mind just poa, there are limits and so, as you are discovering, you might not be able to freely function with their money as you can with your own.
"off with their heads"~~dr. joseph-ignace guillotin

"life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages."~~mark twain - letter to edward kimmitt 1901
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