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What are the ramifications to putting my name on elderly father's bank accounts?

Due in part to previously undiagnosed dementia Dad has bad credit, we did not realize he had problems with finances until a few months ago. We are now setting up financial power of attorney and other documents for the future. My question is will putting my name on his checking and savings accounts hurt my credit?
Status: Open    Feb 11, 2016 - 07:46 PM

Finance, Elder Law

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Feb 15, 2016 - 07:59 AM

I would suggest that you not put your name on the account. If the account became overdrawn or obligated to the bank in any way the bank could possibly take funds from any account on which your name is listed as an owner (at the same bank). Any deficiency in this account would/could also appear on your credit report. You can have full access to the account via a power of attorney. Be sure to name a pay on death beneficiary (you) so that when your father passes any money remaining will go straight to you and not have to go through the probate process.
This is a good time to find an elder law attorney in your area and go over your father's situation. There may be things you can do to protect him that you have not thought about.

Mar 23, 2016 - 10:38 AM

It is important to distinguish how you are named on the bank account. If you are merely named as an authorized person pursuant to his power of attorney then the account remains in his name alone, and you have access to the funds for his benefit. This prevents his finances and credit history from becoming a weight on yours. This is an excellent time to meet with a Elder Law attorney, even if just for a consultation, to discuss your role as power of attorney and clarify recordkeeping and other concerns that may be disputed later. It is better to act under a power of attorney with a clear understanding of what you can and cannot do than to wait and have someone question your actions.
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