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What is the simplest way to handle my parents' finances?

My brother and I have power of attorney. Right now both of my parents are still in their own home but dad has dementia. Dad has always handled the finances and mom has no idea what to do. Mom has asked me to help with paying bills, doing their taxes, etc. What is the best way to handle everything both now and in the future when dad needs professional memory care?
Status: Open    Dec 13, 2015 - 01:11 PM

Elder Law, Finance

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Expert Answers

Jan 05, 2016 - 01:05 PM

Having the power of attorney is a great first step. If your father does not need access to the money anymore (or when this occurs) you should open a new account where you and your brother are the only signers as power of attorney. The account would still use your parent’s Social Security Numbers but your parents could not sign checks or withdraw money. Then move all of the money to the new account.

You should check on life insurance policies to see if they are being paid, are paid up, etc. It might be best to use the cash value to purchase prepaid burial plans or assign a paid up policy to the funeral home to prepay for the services. Also check the beneficiaries. If your mother were to die first it would not help for that money to be paid to your father. If the power of attorney allows it change the beneficiaries to you and your brother or a trust to care for your parents.

Next you should seek advice from an elder law or estate planning attorney as to how to protect assets for your mother in case your father needs Medicaid to pay for his care.

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