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Cognitive decline and finances - how to trust an outside person?
Old 06-19-2017, 10:36 AM   #1
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Cognitive decline and finances - how to trust an outside person?

I've been thinking about what elders do when they lose their cognitive skills and can not handle their own finances anymore while living at home or anywhere for that matter, especially when they don't have anyone trustworthy in their life.

DH and I only have each other...no kids, no trusting/loyal family members including nieces/nephews, and friends are our age or older. I'm a guarded person by nature. So, I wonder, if I outlive DH or vice versa, (or perhaps we both lose our marbles at the same time), who does one have in place or hire enough to trust that this hired person would not take advantage of our finances for their own personal gain? An attorney, an accountant, an elder care service - all of these can potentially steal from their "clients" without ever knowing due to cognitive decline . What does one do in this case?

As aside note: Due to the lack knowing who we'd want to handle our estate affairs, we still don't have a Will/estate docs, so we can't use this "unknown" person for the above situation - in case you were wondering. We know we need to get this don ASAP, but, without the right person...

Thoughts?
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:51 AM   #2
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I chose several people as I am in a situation similar to you and your husband.
* a trusted friend for medical power of attorney
* a different trusted friend for financial power of attorney
* a local estate services firm as executor of my estate

This is a leap of faith (leap of trust?) you need to make. Keeping financial affairs out of the medical picture was important to me. Yes I do have family, but none that I would want involved in settling my estate/making medical decisions/handling money (because they are beneficiaries), and yes it will cost more.

BUT there is that independent estate services firm keeping track of liquidating and paying out to the beneficiaries of my estate. The attorney who writes your will generally cannot act to probate your will, and my attorney recommended finding an estate services firm to act as the executor in my situation.

Spend a little time understanding what your state mandates in terms of these power of attorneys documents. It's worth the time with an estate attorney just to understand options. My take was they didn't expect quick decisions from you, but would work with you to get to your final instructions.

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Old 06-19-2017, 11:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deej View Post
I've been thinking about what elders do when they lose their cognitive skills and can not handle their own finances anymore while living at home or anywhere for that matter, especially when they don't have anyone trustworthy in their life.

DH and I only have each other...no kids, no trusting/loyal family members including nieces/nephews, and friends are our age or older. I'm a guarded person by nature. So, I wonder, if I outlive DH or vice versa, (or perhaps we both lose our marbles at the same time), who does one have in place or hire enough to trust that this hired person would not take advantage of our finances for their own personal gain? An attorney, an accountant, an elder care service - all of these can potentially steal from their "clients" without ever knowing due to cognitive decline . What does one do in this case?

As aside note: Due to the lack knowing who we'd want to handle our estate affairs, we still don't have a Will/estate docs, so we can't use this "unknown" person for the above situation - in case you were wondering. We know we need to get this don ASAP, but, without the right person...

Thoughts?
This is something we have to work through too. I have younger siblings, but are they younger enough? One has a wife who is 20 years my junior, and maybe she would be up to handling some of it in a few years, or helping supervise, but currently they live on another continent!

I am 57, DH 62. So this is not a major concern yet, but by my age 75 I will be working hard to figure this out. I do plan to simplify my investments as much as possible so that we can let our investments ride.

I notice Fidelity Investments occasionally offer advice or if we need references for estate planning or CPA or whatever, and at some point I will be availing myself of whatever additional help they can provide. And I imagine we'll be hiring some professionals to help with taxes and perhaps even accounting such as bill pay. It's going to be some work to vet all this stuff.

We also want a "professional" executor to help with the estate after we're both gone with one or more of my siblings involved (as co-executor?).
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:52 AM   #4
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Interesting question. My FIL passed recently and I set up all my MIL's bills to pay automatically from her bank account. She was very grateful as she never has done the finances and is getting older too. I love this kind of stuff so I would love to help people out (she has mentioned several of her friends that need help)but I have heard so many stories of the elderly accusing their own children of stealing from them. I wonder if you set as much up as possible to pay automatically now so that you will need a lot less help later.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:56 AM   #5
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This is a good question. Since you have no trusted/loyal family or anyone im interested in following this thread. I know you dont want the courts to step in. Pick a relative that you feel is the least crooked.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:57 AM   #6
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Interesting question. My FIL passed recently and I set up all my MIL's bills to pay automatically from her bank account. She was very grateful as she never has done the finances and is getting older too. I love this kind of stuff so I would love to help people out (she has mentioned several of her friends that need help)but I have heard so many stories of the elderly accusing their own children of stealing from them. I wonder if you set as much up as possible to pay automatically now so that you will need a lot less help later.
Your a trusted DIL , the OP has no one like you
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:13 PM   #7
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We're up against the same issues. Although we have some family left, we don't necessarily trust them - not because we think they would be unethical, but because they have never been able to follow our wishes even while we are here. Too many stories to tell, but they have proven they can't be trusted. Still love them and don't think they would "cheat." Just don't think they would follow our wishes. YMMV
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:12 PM   #8
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IIRC, there are several people here of 'advanced and honorable' years who have put most of their money into the Pssssstt...Wellesly fund. Presumably, every quarter or month they withdraw some or all of the earnings and spend it to maintain their lifestyle.

Simple. Low-cost. Conservative. No guarantees, of course.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:45 PM   #9
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I'll just toss this out in case someone can use it or get an idea from it.

When I feel myself losing interest or get that vague feeling of not being able to do it anymore (like I got with bar fights about 20 yrs ago) I plan to roll half of everything into some kind of index or large cap value fund and the other half into a money market fund. Too easy. That's pretty much how I have been handling things all along anyway but with some dynamic intervention. Ten years from now I doubt I will be able to benefit from any dynamic intervention. To put a time stamp on this, later this Summer I will turn 60.

All the money accounts are set to "transfer on death" to various familial remnants in a hierarchy of who I think can use the money most.

I have very little other stuff. A small house, a small car, and very little stuff inside the house. In the next few weeks I plan to see a lawyer to rig up some kind of mechanism that, when I die, will kick in and offload the house, the car and the stuff and pay any residual bills I leave behind. I do not want any family grappling with these trivial issues since they will be in the same stage of life as I will be. ie Old and likely sick

I do NOT know how I can handle the "Medical Power of Attorney" thing. The end. I see it as an issue with no technical solution. Force Majeure. Take my chances.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:03 PM   #10
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I have a trusted former Co-w*rker and a broker friend in line to help DW with finances when I can't do it any more. I have known both for 20+ years, and have complete faith in them (they also will act as a check on each other!). This was a great concern of mine as my DW is having emotional/mental issues and the stress on me affects my memory at times. Knowing there is someone in line to handle things is comforting to me.
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:40 PM   #11
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We have similar concerns about aging. We have everything set up already for an early death situation but what concerns me more is gradual decline. We have an FA and a CPA we trust to manage our investments and taxes, respectively. However I'm thinking about the day-to-day things that often become issues. For example - paying bills, managing one's healthcare and making appropriate decisions, having an advocate in a health crisis, etc. We don't have a good solution to these concerns. Also our doctors, CPA, & FA are all around our age so the people who take over when they can't do their roles anymore may not be people we trust.

It really is hard to age well without some kind of support. Given societal trends such as people having fewer children, families being more mobile, etc., we are hoping a good solution will eventually emerge. We do have one niece and one nephew who seem to be responsible young adults but they live across the country so we don't see them often.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:07 PM   #12
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I had somewhat of a problem with getting my will, estate, and medical directives completed. I was new to the area and did not know any lawyers. I went to the local Senior Law Day at the Senior Center. (I was much younger than most of the others attending the talks.) I listened to several lawyers with expertise in different areas of senior law which by itself made the effort worthwhile. One lawyer struck a cord with me as someone I would be comfortable with in doing my will and other documents. I set an appointment with her and went over all the necessary documents and what was important to me. I reviewed the documents she created and made comments and suggested changes. She either made the changes or explained why an item should stay as it was to my satisfaction. It worked quite well for me and I now have all my documents completed with a plan for my future. In my case, I have a daughter who will take over when necessary so I can't help in that respect. A lawyer who specializes in senior law should be able to give you some worthwhile advice in how to approach your issues in your state of residence and create the documents you need.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:11 PM   #13
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I was new to the area and did not know any lawyers.
I had Jimmy McGill do our wills. Seems like a really nice guy.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:19 PM   #14
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Actually from the experience of my Grandparents a good bank trust department can do this, and they are at least examined by regulators. In my grandparents case they made managed the sale of the house, paid all the bills etc. In general IMHO every will should provide as a final choice for executor any bank trust department It will cost more but the bank can run the trust for incapacitated folks as well.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:27 PM   #15
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My oldest child is set up to be an executor because she lives nearby. For investment, I will move them to all mutual funds. No more ETFs. I don't know if my husband know how to sell them even.
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Old 06-20-2017, 01:12 PM   #16
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I had Jimmy McGill do our wills. Seems like a really nice guy.
So far, I like BETTER CALL SAUL even better than BREAKING BAD - which I really liked. YMMV
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