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ANY Tips to Get Dad to Stop Spending So Much Money
Hi everyone! I haven't been on in a while because I've been busy with my 4 kids and their activities since school started back, and my dad had been out of state with his girlfriend for most of the summer, so things had calmed down on the AD front. However, my dad is back home and back to his old tricks, e.g. spending money like he is a Rockefeller when he is in pretty bad shape, financially. Although his girlfriend accompanied him back home and will be with him for another week to go to doctor's appointments with him, during the time he has been back home (a little over a week) he essentially treats every day like it's vacation day( or more precisely, like his girlfriend just popped into down for a quick visit for fun rather than her essentially continuing to be his caretaker). More so than when he was with her out of state in her home, since he is on his home turf, he insists that he pay for every meal out (which is at least 1 or 2 meals out every day).
His financial situation is practically dire - he hasn't paid his bills on time in 2 years (pre-AD my dad was super meticulous with bills and he actually had quite a bit of money pre-AD until some bad decisions were made with businesses he started with his ex-wife, but that is neither here nor there at this point). My sister and I took over making sure all of his bills are paid timely 9 months; ago he doesn't even know what bills he has and how much he has to pay. Also, factoring in his retirement and social security, with the money he has left in savings, he can probably afford memory care for maybe 2 years when it gets to that. His girlfriend is fully aware of his financial situation, but she doesn't feel comfortable telling him no when he insists on paying. My dad has always been a PIA on stuff like that. And so, despite being on a limited budget given the small amount he brings in from his retirement and social security, he has spent approximately 25% of his monthly income in less than a week on dining.
Apart from the money, situation, or her lack of preventing him from spending so much on her watch, she has been great for dad and loves him and takes good care of him. We don't know what to do. And he really isn't yet at the point where memory care is needed, although he clearly needs help will this important facet of his life. We have tried locking his ATM card (he has given us full access to all of his accounts and POA, so no issues there), but he can, of course, go into the branch to withdraw money. We call/text him reminders about how much money is in his account (he has no clue how little is in there and doesn't remember his login information to find out), how much he is spending, and alerting him when he is "over his budget." We tell his girlfriend the same so she is in the loop and can assist. But she is only moderately helpful and we have NO CLUE what to do to keep him from being his own worse enemy in this regard.
What have you guys done when your loved one, who isn't quite bad enough to need full-time care, can't stop spending money like they have a money tree in the backyard? Note - my sister lives in the same state as my dad, but I am out of state. My dad stayed with me for a month over the summer, and it was a disaster for so many reasons, not the least of which was that he forgot where he was every morning despite having stayed at my house a number of time pre-AD, he confused me for his girlfriend a few times, which led to uncomfortable situations where my dad tried to come into my room to sleep/hg me (I am still traumatized), he woke up my kids wandering my house, and he generally seemed to be triggered by the kid noise in my house (4 kids, lots of sounds because school was out). So, staying with me, while an option, is a bad option. His girlfriend needs a break for about a month or so, so he won't be returning with her when she leaves next week. He can stay with my sister, but she and her husband and children work/go to school about an hour away and leave at 6 a.m. and often don't return home until 7 or 8 p.m. So he'd be home alone all day. We simply don't know what to do about his spending. We know when the girlfriend leaves, there won't be anyone there to stop him from spending (not that she is helping much anyway).
Family is usually the last to see the big picture- you say he isn't quite ready for full time care- but from what you say sounds like he is sorry to say .
He isn't recognizing people leading to uncomfortable behaviors, can't understand money, or that his aunt died. And for sure shouldn't be driving - doesn't know where he is. (Esp since you mentioned "excessive drinking" in an earlier post).
The girlfriend is a money drain, but less than a memory unit (far as you know), but he can't coast between her visits any longer .
My advise- he needs to be placed or have 24/7 live in care - which will be hard to manage at a distance . And a complete cut off of fund access. Be sure your POA is a durable one.
It is a hard thing to wrap our heads around- they sound the same, smile the same but their brain can't make good calls or process info- like his money balances. 5 dollars, 5 million--- they process the same.
You and your sister need to figure where the best location is for him - a home or in home with care.
Oh, I'd lock down the money before the gf leaves next week to avoid her taking a "generous parting gift."
I'd start with his lawyer to see what his existing documents require to be able to cut off his TOTAL access to money ASAP.
And don't be surprised if gf tries to get "back pay" for her oversight. She may even have a document tucked away to spring at a future date when he can't express himself at all.
It must have seemed like a large relief to have the girlfriend become his caregiver, however; this has led to a perpetuation of much bad financial behavior, and no matter what she has said, she too has benefitted from the financial dysfunction and this is no longer working. Not a good situation. Your father can no longer process the realities and no amount of trying to educate him or argue will help under the circumstances as they are when dementia has impacted upon his brain and thought processes.
What I did when my LO was plundering accounts, was to go to the bank where I was listed as a co-owner on the account and close the accounts on the spot. If one is an owner on the account, one can do this without the other giving permission.
I closed the current accounts and instantly re-opened them under another account number with my name and my step-brothers name as co-owners and had my LO as, "right of survivorship."
I then managed all account very carefully and NEVER co-mingled any of my funds with my LOs. Each month I did a Financial Accounting Report of every penny that listed all accounts and investments with balances. I also did a report of ALL monies spent; I did this through checking. I listed each check by number, to whom written, the amount and what it was for. I used my LOs credit card for mail order prescriptions only. Each month I sent a copy of the Financial Report to each sibling. I did not provide my LO a copy as it fostered delusions and acting out. My LO had some cash given, but it was not open season on spending. I also kept every single receipt and billing for everything and filed each by category. If anyone questioned me about anything financial, it was all covered and accounted for with objective proof.
NOTE: Not knowing your particulars, it would in all probability be a good idea to seek the advice of an Elder Law Attorney in the state of your father's residence. This specialty has all the knowledge you will need for planning for the future and all legalities. You may even want to ask about Guardianship and what that entails.
Your father as you mentioned, will need to be on Medicaid at a certain point. Be sure you understand the Five Year Look Back Period that Medicaid has. If any financial questions arise about uber spending or hiding money or gifting it, the applicant will be denied Medicaid for a period of time, so be VERY cautious and get good legal advice.
It is in all probability not going to be a positive for the girlfriend to be the caregiver aniy longer under the cirumstances as they have been; this means more work in one way or another, but it seems from your writing that things cannot continue as they have been.
Your father can no longer process matters properly, has very compromised reasoning and judgment; all secondary to the damage to his brain. It is now up to the daughters to take matters into their hand and I can well understand this will not be easy. Just try your best and get good legal advice and hope that things will go more smoothly than thought.
I don't see why this : I
closed the current accounts and instantly re-opened them under another
account number with my name and my step-brothers name as co-owners and
had my LO as, "right of survivorship." didn't trigger a gift tax issue . Also, can't see a doctor notarizing a financial opinion.
You can save a fortune with string and a doorknob, but most people pay a dentist. Good luck finding an educated technically solid string & doorknob to deal with elder law issues.
Hi Victoria, we no gifting problem. I had POAs for both parents and also had written letters from the Neurologist and Primary Care MD for each parent re lack of competence.. My mothers like step-dads stated she was no longer competent to manage her own plan of care as well as no longer competent to manage her own business affairs. Forgot to mention that my step-dad's name was on the accounts with us kids as first owner. This is where any tax implications could be gleaned from, but there weren't any. Step-dad had Alzheimer's Disease and while compromised was able to understand what was going on, while Mom had FTD which is like Alz's on steroids; she was driven by delusions and dread behaviors and had no reasoning or judgment.
I had spoken to the bank manager and there was no issue. My LO had FTD which unlike Alz's, left much memory until the last of the disease, BUT had dreadful, dreadful behavioral issues. She tried to take out ALL of the money from two banks; she wanted to "burn it" she said. She had already done much financial mischief.
She had even called and bought a $10,000 golf cart even though she had never played golf and she would never have had the ability to drive it; she just liked the way it looked. Fortunately, the house cleaner heard her doing it and told me; I was able to call the company and stop the purchase as we were within those three day grace days to cancel contracts. WHEW!
ALL monies from the checking account were ONLY for paying her and step-dad's cost of living and medical needs; sometimes there was a shortfall and I had to take a bit from savings to cover the monthly bills; all of this was recorded on my monthly Financial Accounting Reports.
NOTE: When she tried to withdraw ALL the money, she could not do so. She got furious and demanded I be reported to the police. The Bank Manager let me know this would be done but not to have a worry as all was in order.
The detectives went out to the bank. They examined the funds and reviewed the checking account and found not a penny out of place. Bank had a copy of my POA as well as the doctor's letters re her lack of competence. No problem; the detectives did not even contact me. Had they done so, I had my monthly Financial Accounting Reports along with the back up receipts and bills for everything all filed in manila folders according to each topic. There would have been no problem issue.
About two years later, we had to apply for Medicaid; all accounts were in my and BILs name with step-dad, but sent in on the form as belonging to parents despite our names being on it; an explanation was provided and there was not a single question asked. Part of the application process was I had to provide statements from the banks for so many months for each account so they could puruse them. I also sent tax forms as requested. I had also included copies of the POA as asked and also sent in the two physician's letters. This of course is only one person's experience, that can change from one person to another and one state to another; so it's always good to consult an Elder Law Attorney.
Each person is unto themselves for what works, is legal and acceptable to the state Medicaid folks; this is what worked for us. Of course, once again, it is always best to speak to a Certified Elder Law Attorney, that will be the best guide.
NOTE: To momovig: It would be a good idea to run your father's name through all three credit reporting agencies to get his reports. When I did this, I found sixteen open credit accounts in my LOs name. I had to get those closed. It was really a shock to find those; each agency had some differences in what was reported, so it is good to get all three.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts! It is super helpful to have input from those on the outside looking in. I am realizing that my sister and I are simply ill-prepared for this; definitely in over our heads! Which, as a side note, I find interesting, since she is a PA and I am an attorney - you'd think we'd have a better handle on this, but we clearly do not!
As for banking, my sister went into the branch, and while she is on my dad's account (we only added her because it's a bank that we don't have where I live so there is really no point in adding me), the bank won't be able to do anything unless we have an order of guardianship. The durable POA we have isn't enough. We are hesitant to close the account (we considered it) but because my dad's automatic deposits for social security and retirement go into the account, we would have to get all of that changed before we do anything.
As for the driving, we actually are awaiting further neurological testing because my dad is up for license renewal, so we asked for that to be done. After the gf leaves, he will go to my sister's house as an interim solution. We are going to start looking into in-home - we have a few appointments set up.
We've met with an attorney already and she gave us a to-do list. There is just so much to do, and all of it sucks!
Just as information for you or others who might be in a similar situation: It takes Social Security 3 months or so to change where the direct deposit is sent. We learned this the hard way when it appeared our account had be compromised and we needed to close it. The bank was great at helping us open a new account and configuring the old one to accept deposits but not being able to make any withdrawals. I don't remember how they did it so that we had our money from the old account but it was still solvent, but it was a great help. Our SS deposits did take all 3 months to make the change. We were then able to close the old account. Hope this is helpful to someone.
Can you leave the acct open but stop any ATM and debit cards and require your sister's signature for any checks? Then open a separate acct for him, that he has no paperwork on, and move his deposits into that right away to pay his bills?
Wonder what words the bank wanted in a DPOA. Or if the person didn't have the authority to approve it.
There is only way, take away his access!!!!
Dementia patients will waste every penny they have access to. As dementia progresses it will get to the point (if it hasn't already) where they will not make the difference between $50 and $5000.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars can disappear in no time.
It seems so simple to say “Take await the access” to their money. I have to assume that there is a process to do that. I can’t imagine that I can go into my parent’s bank, even with a POA and tell them that they need to cut off access just because I say so. And I would imagine that my parent’s could call the bank or go their and demand access back.
So how do you do it?
If you have a POA that allows you access to the account you can move the funds from that account to another that they do not have access to.
If he has regular deposits coming to the account, you could try to change where it's going.
Depending on what stage he's at (https://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease/), at some point you can get them declared legally incompetent.