This is a touchy subject! Let’s say, for the sake of example, that you realize that you are aging. Yes, nobody wants to admit to getting older, but of course it happens to the best of us. As you come to this revelation, you give access to your bank accounts to one or more of your adult kids. OR you name them as your Power of Attorney (POA)? OR as Trustee of your trust? After all, you realize that you may soon need help so you want to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
Then, much to your dismay, you start to notice money slipping away. First a little. Then after a period of time – a lot is flying out of your account. Here we are again, not wanting to admit the issue, but like our aging, we must face the truth.
Trust is at the Heart of ‘Trustee’
I have often said that the root word of “Trustee” is “Trust”. Most of the time, parents love their children and naturally think they can trust them, so they have no problem adding them to their accounts or putting them in positions of authority in their legal documents. Fortunately, most of the time, the kids are honest and things work just as they should.
But sometimes, having access to money changes things. If the kids are having money problems of their own, then having access to Mom’s checking account is sometimes too tempting. It’s easy to rationalize a few expenditures.
It may start with “I’ll fill up my tank with Mom’s debit card – after all, I’m spending a lot of gas to drive to see her anyway.”
Then the rationale eventually evolves into “I’ll just take this money now to finish paying off my mortgage – Mom doesn’t need it and won’t miss it anyway!”
The Fine Line of Trust
You may have planned for your child to use your money to purchase your groceries, pharmacy supplies or other goods. Likewise, you may have even told them to fill up the gas tank occasionally to reimburse their travel expenses.
But there is a fine line between legitimate expenses and financial abuse of the elderly (which is a huge topic in and of itself).
So if you are a senior reading this, or if you are one of the adult kids who has been placed in a position of authority on your Mom’s accounts, what do you do to make sure that everything is as it should be? Here are a few tips.
Tracking Mom’s Money
Before you blindly trust, it’s always good to have a Mom Centered Family Meeting to get everything on the table.
- What does Mom want?
- What are usual necessary expenses?
- Who is authorized to spend her money on her behalf?
- Will any family member be paid? How much and for what?
- Try to avoid cash transactions. Debit cards are better.
- Set up Direct deposit for recurring expenses.
- If appropriate, can family members view accounts expenditures and deposits online?
Of course, there are other items to be discussed, but clarity and transparency are the name of the game. Especially in situations where there are several siblings, the Mom Centered Family Meeting will ensure that everyone is in the loop.
We wish you the best as you work to help your parents, work with your siblings, and with the professionals in your life whom you can trust to craft a great plan for Mom and for your family.
Shocked During the Holidays?
Were you shocked over the Holidays when you visited your parent and realized things are worse than you thought? You have your own life, work and responsibilities. What will you do?
We’ve been there & we understand.
That’s why we wrote a book to help you make the best decisions for your parent as quickly as possible.
We want to be friends!
Ok. That might come off a little fast, but you can trust us. We want to help! We fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver – including personal experiences with burnout.
In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. We understand the emotions involved while making necessary decisions. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust as Family Caregiver. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community! There is nothing more cleansing for our situation than knowing that we are not alone!
We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, direction and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.
Please Invite Someone to Our Newsletter
Being an Adult Kid who is helping mom as she is declining can be a scary, frustrating and lonely place lacking stability. You feel like you are solely responsible for solving Mom’s problems while managing yours. Some occasional input and a community you can trust would help, especially when facing burnout! This is a way that all of us can be working together as caregivers!
Many others that you may personally know are having to figure it all out by themselves. Most of them have no community. Please take a minute and do them a favor. Copy this link ~> help.mom/cc <~ and send it to them in an email or private message. They can click on it and subscribe to our newsletter for free.
Then they can enjoy weekly tips and encouragement. They no longer have to feel so alone in their family caregiver journey. They will appreciate the favor! Thank you for thinking of them!
Nothing herein is intended to be legal advice. These are just things that we have seen various families try when struggling with this difficult issue. Each situation is unique and requires specific professional assistance to resolve. Please contact your local medical or legal advisors to seek assistance in appropriately resolving this issue for your family.
Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!