Author Topic: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.  (Read 1341 times)

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 255
My elderly father was hospitalized this week partly due to delirium--was making no sense and seemed very confused. He took care of all the bills and finances of the household (him and my mom). My father is now in a skilled nursing facility and is expected to recover physically, but we still don't know about his brain.

My mother is left with all the bills and has never, in 50+ years of marriage, paid a single bill. It is now evident that my father was not in his right mind for the last month (went downhill VERY quickly) and we are trying to piece together which bills were paid last month and which ones weren't!

Anyway, they live in a retirement community and my mom had to pay the rent for the first time ever, but is not sure how much is in the account (like many people her age, she is afraid of the big scary internet, so can't check balance online!). I have never bounced a check in my entire life, and I'm fairly certain my parents haven't either, so this is uncharted territory for us.

So, what is the best course at this point if we are unsure about funds to cover the check??

1.) Do I contact the manager (don't totally trust this guy!) of the retirement community and tell him if the check bounces I will cover it on a cc?

2.) Do I wait for the check to bounce (if it does) and then deal with it?

AND, if I give this guy some other form of payment, how do I know he won't cash the bounced check at a later date? What happens to the actual check when it bounces? Will my mom get it back?

My main concern here is that the manager will screw them/us over and get paid twice for one month's rent. I actually doubt he would do that, but I don't totally trust him and want to protect myself!

Do you have any other advice on taking over my parent's finances, accessing their accounts, etc? I do not have power of attorney yet.

Thanks for your help.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 02:14:28 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

Greenstache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 02:02:47 PM »
Can you help your mom contact the bank?  Even if she doesn't have online access, she should be able to speak to someone to determine the account balance (and having a monthly statement would help you figure out the usual flow of transactions from the account).  This is assuming her name is on the account as well as your dad's.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 255
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2019, 02:07:39 PM »
Yes, thanks, I did tell her to call. She is overwhelmed now with everything, so I hope it happens. I live over an hour away, so cannot help her in person every day.

My parents have never asked for any help, but at this point I recognize the need to step in.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 02:11:23 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

socaso

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 616
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2019, 02:07:48 PM »
If her name is on the account you should be able to either call or go into a branch to check the balance. Go with her and ask about getting the online portion set up and teach her to do it.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4368
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2019, 03:31:26 PM »
Emergency situation - you scramble.

Bigger picture - your father likely can't be trusted to 100% manage the money anymore. Given your mother's initial reaction, having her take responsibility may or may not be possible. Which means, you. Either as oversight, or actually doing it.

Also make sure they have appropriate legal documents in place - will, POA, etc.

Marty50

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2019, 03:41:51 PM »
Could you help your mom work with the bank to set up overdraft protection? It doesn't solve many problems, but would help make sure the rent check doesn't bounce.

Zamboni

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2649
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2019, 04:39:50 PM »
I'm sorry to read about your Dad. This does seem like an emergency and you are going to spend some time helping her.

Most bank branches have very, very nice people who will happily sit down with your Mom to review her balances and look through previous checks. That's what needs to happen, although it might be easier for her if it waits until you are in town to go with her the first time.

In your shoes, I would:
1. Pay this month's rent for her out of my own account before the due date.
2. Make plans to go to her branch with her next time I am in town.
3. Sit down with the nice person at the bank to review her balances and see what checks have cleared.
4. Look though processed checks and if this month's rent got paid twice, then TA-DA! Next month's rent is prepaid a month early. Isn't that nice?!
5. Make sure she has hardcopies (like piece of paper) of the cancelled rent checks.

Help your mom with a filing system. The guy who wrote the Automatic Millionaire book, David Bach, has a good and easy hardcopy filing system that probably would appeal to someone your Mom's age. Get everything into a single file box and filed like he says. Then it will be easy for her to find things later. Even if your Dad had a filing system, I think it is worth redoing it in a way that makes sense to her so she gets to see everything.

If she's really, really not up for it, then you can offer to step in. Either way, it seems like you need to keep a pretty close eye on things the next couple of months. Good luck!

Brokefuturedoctor

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 78
  • Age: 26
  • Location: Southwestern Virginia
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2019, 07:14:43 PM »
It sounds like you and your family are going through a lot right now, and that can make things even more difficult than normal.

I think Zamboni gave some good advice, and the only thing I would add is that you should probably sit down with both mom and dad sometime soon and really discuss roles and responsibilities moving forward. I certainly can't speak to how your father will recover or if your mother wants help with the finances, but this is an opportunity for you to discuss both topics with your parents. Talking about how parents want to be cared for when they can't take care of themselves can be challenging, so I would recommend perhaps a family meeting with your mother, father, and any siblings you have if that is feasible. Additionally, it sounds like your mother isn't comfortable handling finances and she may actually appreciate you taking over as a financial POA if you aren't already in that position. I'm certainly not suggesting taking away her independence from a financial standpoint, but a FPOA would at least make it so you could more easily and legally keep tabs on how she is doing financially.

I don't presume to know your situation in it's entirety, but I hope some of these suggestions can help get the ball rolling in a good, productive direction during this difficult time for you all.

terran

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2895
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2019, 08:37:29 PM »
Do they have enough money that she can just make sure they have enough in checking to cover an mistaken double payments? If they do double pay something then just don't pay it the following month and the credit should sort itself out.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 255
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2019, 02:04:19 AM »
Thanks for the comments. Thankfully, she was able to call the bank and determine that indeed there is enough. I am going to have a sit-down with them and a financial planner in a month or so after all the dust settles here (and hopefully my dad has regained his mind), and we will go over everything, and determine a course forward.

I'm also gettng in touch with a lawyer for a consultation about estate planning, power fo attorney, etc.


Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2366
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2019, 05:34:52 AM »
BTDT. I would urge you to convince your parents to put your name on that account so that *you* can set up an online account and check on the ins and outs in any future emergency.

Help your parents make a checklist of what bills are due every month, and find a notebook to put copies of that sheet in, so that they can check them off as they are paid. A visual reminder is extremely helpful at this point.

Zamboni

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2649
Re: Finanace and checking account weird situation--need advice.
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2019, 06:40:30 AM »
Sounds like you have a good path forward. Glad they have enough to cover it.

Make sure that any planner you go to is a fee-for-time, fiduciary planner, not a kickback front-load commission crook like those guys at Edward Jones.