Author Topic: Mom's assets  (Read 3408 times)

Uturn

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Mom's assets
« on: June 25, 2017, 03:51:03 PM »
Without going too deep into my Mom's whacky worldviews, she is now concerned that the IRS is going to drain her accounts when she dies.  She says it is some secret provision in ACA.  So she wants to cash out an annuity and her saving account and buy silver because Glen Beck says it is a good investment.  We have discussed her money many times and she says that I am just too young to understand how money and the world works.  I was finally able to convince her that metals are just too risky, so she offered to transfer everything to me.  For many reasons, I don't want this.  I cannot imagine that would improve our already strained relationship.  However, I do like the idea having a way to control her spending and make sure some scam artist doesn't get it. 

Annuity - $72k
Savings - $45k
House - paid off, worth $90k
SSN/pensions - $2600/mo

We are not talking a lot of money, but it is all she has and she is already blowing through it, mostly to charities.  My main concern is her health is never going to get better and she needs to save that money for assistance if needed.  If she wants to give the charities, she can change her will and give then. 

My idea is putting the two accounts and house into a trust that takes her approval and the approval of either me or my sister.  But I know squat about trusts.  My other idea was buying her house for a ridiculously small price and then put her money into a dual signature account. 

Basically, neither me nor my sister want to take control of her money, but we don't trust her with it either.  She is very gullible and in the last year has fallen for the car warranty scam that comes in the mail, sent money to Beck because he doesn't have enough money to do all the good that he wants to, and allowed her housekeeper to steal from her to avoid confrontation. 

Any other ideas out there that I have not thought of?

Dezrah

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 07:35:10 AM »
You're 47 and your mom thinks you're too young to know anything about money?  Sheesh.

Is it possible to move her assets into a trust such that you and your sister are the trustees?  You guys can parse out an allowance, she could leave it to you guys or charity when she dies.  You could tell her this is a safe way to keep the ACA from seizing her assets.  It will just as effectively keep Santa Claus and Big Foot from seizing her assets, but we won't tell her that part.

Laura33

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 08:27:32 AM »
Honestly, I think this is beyond both you and most of us reading this.  Please go see an attorney who specializes in elder care to understand what your options might be.  Especially given that she is still a grown, independent woman who will retain the right to blow stupid money on stupid things even if/when she turns the accounts that pay those bills over to you.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 09:56:38 AM »
Has she always been like this? Because it sounds like she's got some dementia - paranoia especially is a strong indicator.

If this is a new level, you could ask to go with her to the doctor. Getting meds out of whack, lack of certain vitamins/nutrition, even a small stroke could cause this sort of thing. It also may just be age related, but better to go in with her (hopefully fully agreeable) to discuss with a doc and run tests and get suggestions.

I would then consider (again, if she is agreeable) taking charge of the finances through a power of attorney. There's several different types, and definitely would need to discuss with other family and her, but it would relieve her burden and safeguard her remaining funds, and you could give her a small monthly spending allowance that she can blow on charity or whatever while still making sure all her bills were paid and no one is taking that much of an advantage of her. I am not a lawyer, tho so please seek professional advice.

bestname

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 10:00:42 AM »
It sounds to me like your mother is no longer capable of making decisions for her money and you and your siblings HAVE to take over her assets. I recommend consulting an elder care attorney for how best to structure it.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 02:59:31 PM »
The issue of whether she has dementia is important.  It's possible she makes bad decisions with no dementia at all.  But if she has dementia, it will get worse until the day she dies, and the unpleasant fact is her finances will be better if you run them. 

The way you find out is to convince her to visit a psychologist who specializes in testing this.  Their fee is several hundred dollars and the test takes several hours.  They issue a report a couple weeks later that gives details and can, if necessary, be used in court.

My dad got Alzheimer's.  My sister and I, thanks to arranging Power of Attorney paperwork before full dementia, eventually took over his affairs.  We did this after researching Alzheimers on Google and reading a couple of how-to books that were very helpful.  It worked out very well in the end but it was a lot of work.  I view it as repayment for his having raised me when I was not competent.  But since it's a lot of work and your relationship is already strained, I suggest asking yourself the following question:  How bad will it be if you do nothing? 

Then ask yourself:  Can I accept the consequences of doing nothing?

If the answer to second question is yes, do nothing.  Focus on being friendly, and hope the comfort you give means something to her.  If the answer to the second question is no, then duty calls and you're better off facing the music ASAP.  If so:

Legally, you can't force her into anything except by court order.  Your options are:
1. Sweet talk her into accepting your advice.  She follows it and all is well.
2. Persuade her to give you financial power of attorney.  Use it to pay her bills - the income all goes through accounts that she can't access any more, you access them instead.  Invest the annuity more wisely.  Give her a day to day allowance (via prepaid cards, cash, small checking account, whatever you think best) until that is no longer practical.  We got him to sign the POA on the basis that it wouldn't take effect "until a doctor says so", meaning until a doctor (a doctor of psychology, as in the test above) gave a professional opinion that he wasn't competent.  Note that signing the POA required him to meet privately with the POA attorney.  I think the attorney recognized the situation and gently guided him to sign.  The psychologist ruled Dad incompetent as soon as he was tested.
2b. If you get financial POA, I suggest arranging medical POA also if the cause is dementia, because she won't handle her medical decisions properly either so you're probably going to end up going to the doctor with her too.  My sister used all her sick time on Dad.  I would have too except I quit working and became the lead doctor visit chauffeur/decision maker. Yep, time consuming.
3. If she won't listen and you must intervene, you get a lawyer, who files a petition in court seeking guardianship.  You are asking the court to become your mother's guardian against her will.  This requires persuading the court she is incompetent, a tough bar even if you feel she is clueless.  If you win in court, same results as 2 and 2b, plus she's even madder at you whenever she understands what is happening. (Whenever I would blame the court for something, Dad would say, "You tell that judge to shove it up his ass!"  The joys of being the guardian.)

Cassie

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2017, 03:17:11 PM »
A neurologist can diagnose dementia and also can state if someone is incompetent.  You have to be really bad off to be incompetent such as not knowing the year and who is President.  Paranoia is a big sign.  So sorry you are going through this.

EricEng

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2017, 04:48:38 PM »
That's not dementia.  It's just an old person that watches Fox News all day and listens to conservative radio as well and believes all the fear mongering and lies they state.  Fox News is littered all day with gold and silver investment ads.  That explains the Glen Beck, ACA fears, and silver.  I have numerous family members exactly like this.

Your best solution would be to cut her off from these news sources that are poisoning her mind.  As long as she sits around all day listening to this garbage, she will continue to believe it more and more.  Might be too late.

Uturn

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2017, 04:52:37 PM »
A bit more background.  Mom and I have a somewhat strained relationship, always have.  Dad was a buffer, but since he died 2 years ago, the strain has become worse.  Also, Dad did absolutely everything for her.  Mom's "dementia" comes and goes as her wants change.  For instance, before Dad died, she stopped driving due to getting lost and just poor driving decisions.  However, when he got sick and someone wasn't around to take her to the hospital to see him, suddenly her driving improved.  She has also not had problems getting lost since he died.  She has always been a very manipulative person, which is the cause of most of our relationship strain.  I can give many more examples, but this isn't a cry about my mother thread.  She is 72 years old, has diabetes, is over weight, and requires a cane.  She has a housekeeper because she doesn't have the mobility to do housework.  Last month I removed her tub and put in a shower because she cannot step over the tub wall anymore.  These are the type health issues that I do not see improving and will probably lead to needing assistance. 

She did sign a full power of attorney to me.  I know that I can "take control" of her finances, but that is not something either of us want.  I'm really just looking for options to keep her from blowing the money she has in the annuity and saving, the $2600/mo I would just let her do as she pleases.  That is why my mind went to a trust or some other form of dual authorization vehicle.  That would protect her from her, while still leaving her some freedom. 

Bicycle_B

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2017, 06:40:49 PM »
Is the POA active?

Does she agree you need to help her protect her money against herself?

If so, couldn't you just transfer the savings to a new account that she does not have access to, and something similar with the annuity?

If not, and she's essentially capable, it's her decision whether to give gifts...  good luck with being persuasive!  :)

JAYSLOL

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2017, 07:42:10 PM »
That's not dementia.  It's just an old person that watches Fox News all day and listens to conservative radio as well and believes all the fear mongering and lies they state.  Fox News is littered all day with gold and silver investment ads.  That explains the Glen Beck, ACA fears, and silver.  I have numerous family members exactly like this.

Your best solution would be to cut her off from these news sources that are poisoning her mind.  As long as she sits around all day listening to this garbage, she will continue to believe it more and more.  Might be too late.

+1

Laura33

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2017, 06:53:59 AM »
That is why my mind went to a trust or some other form of dual authorization vehicle.  That would protect her from her, while still leaving her some freedom.

It is almost impossible to protect someone from herself, so please don't set that as your mental goal, other than "as best I can."  If she has a credit card, she can run up charges you'll have to agree to pay; if she still has mail or internet access, she can sign up for "buy-now, pay later" offers that you will be contractually bound to pay for.  Do what you can, talk her off the ledge as best you can, and then give yourself credit for trying, regardless of the outcome.

Sibley

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Re: Mom's assets
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2017, 08:21:46 AM »
That's not dementia.  It's just an old person that watches Fox News all day and listens to conservative radio as well and believes all the fear mongering and lies they state.  Fox News is littered all day with gold and silver investment ads.  That explains the Glen Beck, ACA fears, and silver.  I have numerous family members exactly like this.

Your best solution would be to cut her off from these news sources that are poisoning her mind.  As long as she sits around all day listening to this garbage, she will continue to believe it more and more.  Might be too late.

Yep. Though thankfully my dad doesn't do the money stuff, and my mom doesn't think she's capable of doing it (thanks sexism!), so she listens to me.