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Old 02-01-2015, 02:57 PM
Location: Dover, DE
1,802 posts, read 3,837,275 times
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Reading these makes me glad I was an only child, as is our daughter. I had enough drama between siblings when my grandmothers died.

Once my parents were well into retirement, we sat down and went over everything and they had my name put on their checking account, as well as being named power of attorney. Mom had always taken care of all the bills, but things started to get odd after Dad died, so I had to step in and pretty much take over all he bill paying. She finally had to go into assisted living and I took over everything there. Had I not known anything about their finances it would have been difficult as I would never have been able to find everything as well as know about a couple of life insurance policies from their work.

The biggest problem that I ran into with my parents' finances is that I had an uncle who was very nosy and I felt as though he was looking over my shoulder all the time. I used to travel on business a lot and had earned a benefit from National Car Rental of the use of a full sized car for a year, which happened to be a brand new Buick Regal. When he saw it he automatically assumed that I had "stolen" the money from my parents accounts to buy the car and told everyone such. I was so angry that I told him it was NONE of his business what I did and that as long as Mom was supported what should he care. I never did tell him how I got the car. Long story with him, but suffice it to say that I was on the verge of suing him until my lawyer talked me down.

Our daughter currently knows everything about our finances. She knows approximately what we have in savings and investment accounts, what our income will be, how much the house is worth. She is financially very secure on her own and we have taught her honesty, so we have no qualms about her knowing all this. She also has power of attorney, we have wills, and is set up as beneficiary on all our retirement accounts. I even gave her an Excel sheet with all the accounts, their numbers, and the contact information. We will be purchasing a large safe for our new house and she will have the combination as well. The biggest concern that I have is when she gets married. We all know that 50% of all marriages end in divorce and I don't want him getting 1/2 of our assets. We may need to change some things after that.
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Old 02-01-2015, 03:23 PM
Location: Florida -
8,767 posts, read 10,851,233 times
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Originally Posted by mlb View Post
Spouse and I were the impetus for his parents to put everything in a family trust. We knew that dementia was setting in - they were 89 and 90 when we started to have conversations with them. A lot of what they were doing was not making sense.

When we found out they had something like 16 bank accounts with varying amounts ("they had such a good deal on interest" - which eventually went away).... we freaked. We also knew that dadinlaw was gambling in stocks and not doing well at it. We also knew they were going to need assisted living soon (dadinlaw's kidneys were failing) - and even with LTC insurance (that, BTW only would last 1.5 years) we didn't want their life savings going by the wayside just when they would need it.

Spouse has a sister who uses bankruptcy as her personal form of finance. We didn't want to work with her in the event of her parents failings..... she never showed and interest unless a check was going to be cut. She thought we should have left the parents alone - to fend for themselves. We helped them anyway ignoring her. Spouse and his sister SHARED trustee responsibilities once his parents were deceased as per the trust and their initial requests despite the parents knowledge of their daughter's incompetence with money.

We got them down to 6 bank accounts, we paid for the lawyer to draw up the trust and literally drove dadinlaw to the banks to give them the trust documents. Within 6 months his health was failing, dadinlaw had his license expired by his physician - and mominlaw failed her driving test (we anonymously reported her to the DMV). Time for assisted living. Spouse moved them, sold their condo, sold their car, and got them situated - within 3 weeks time.

Seven months later - dadinlaw dies of a heart attack. Mominlaw spirals in depression and wants to MOVE - doesn't wanna be in the same place as where dad died. She moves with spouse's help.

Prior to dadinlaw's death we have conversations with the folks that we cannot work with SIL. They agree and do not want a bank managing their money (the fees are considerable) once they die. We change the family trust to put spouse as sole trustee, POA and executor of his mother's will. Sister will get a signed notarized letter from her mother explaining the change - it will be delivered to SIL upon her mother's death.

MIL is now 94 - and still does her own bills. Writes her own checks. Spouse follows her checking account monthly. He is her healthcare POA as well.

She could live forever - and has the funds to do so. We just want her to be able to make her own choices as long as she can.

We do not strong arm her - but we do know what's going on. It's nuts not to know.
This is an example of the type of odyssey aging folks can go through with finances and healthcare. I've helped a couple of elderly folks (ministry), where their families had pretty much bailed-out --- it can be quite challenging to sort things out.

Your post (and one further above), raises another important issue that adult children need to think about while their parents are still able to think clearly: Surrogate Healthcare and POA initiatives. Without these, late-life decisions can get 'farmed-out' to others who really don't know the desires of the individual.

Also, IMO, 'Living Wills' are not what they once were. "Pulling the plug" used to involve dealing with people who were being kept alive by electronic/mechanical means. Today, drugs, feeding tubes and other treatments have replaced some of these, making it important to think about specifying contingencies in one's end-of-life decisions and plan. -- These, healthcare issues may, however, be better discussed in another thread.
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Old 02-01-2015, 03:36 PM
Location: Wisconsin
17,056 posts, read 17,376,569 times
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Originally Posted by rothbear View Post
The biggest concern that I have is when she gets married. We all know that 50% of all marriages end in divorce and I don't want him getting 1/2 of our assets. We may need to change some things after that.
Although I live in a marital property state, as long as the person inheriting the money or property keeps it in their own name and does not mix it with their joint property/money the spouse can not ever get any of the inherited money or property, whether they stay married or get divorced.

Of course, your state may be different.

The problems can start when the spouse says "Let's use your inheritance to use as a down payment for a house (and they put the house in both names)" or the spouse says "It would be good to use your inheritance to pay off our joint bills" or the spouse is a bully and insists that the money be put in both names, or things like that.
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Old 02-01-2015, 06:02 PM
1,212 posts, read 1,863,999 times
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Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
In another thread on the financial forum, a similar question was asked in the context of young children.

But, our 'children' are now in their 40's and the subject raises another issue. How much should grown 'children' know about their parents financial situation? As we age, it seems increasingly important that our grown children not only know how much we have and where it is located, but, also to have a voice in long-term 'estate' planning. This is particularly relevant to those who plan to outlive their money and leave an 'estate' that will be determined by investment decisions today.

Ours have always said, "It's your money, spend it on yourselves and don't worry about us." But, this isn't a universal response. For example, I've seen the situation turn 'ugly' when adult children get overly focused on 'their inheritance' or even make decisions regarding things like cutting corners on nursing home care for elderly parents. Also, I've heard some express almost a sense of 'entitlement' toward their parents assets, when things like unemployment, divorce or significant financial loss arise.

Then, there is the other side of the coin, when aging parents are living much closer to financial poverty than their grown children realize.
It was a good thing for my parents to open up their finances to my brother and I, just over a year ago. Dad managed the finances, mom was clueless about how much they had in the bank. Mom has an overbearing personality and can be difficult to deal with, much less explain things to, and Dad is extremely passive and tends to just give up and let things go.

They had two (mostly) paid off houses and a property that they were leasing out for income. And over $50,000 in credit card debt, not to mention a home equity loan and car loans. All together over $200,000 in debt. They needed to downsize a house and use it to pay off high interest debt that was getting bigger and bigger.

Anyway, it was really the intervention from their children that got my parents to concede that keeping two houses (they don't trust financial institutions) was costing them more money than keeping it wrapped up as an 'investment' in a house was worth. We were in a position to help float our parents money to pay down some of the debt. And once the house was sold and all debts paid off, I got them to close all but two of the credit cards, keep track of their finances in budgeting software, simplifying their finances where Dad and Mom, especially, could figure out where their money was going. It really brought us together as a family and everyone is much happier now that there are no more secrets.

Still have a ways to go, they tend to spend a lot still without budgeting or planning (spontaneous $15000 river cruise), and when I give them a hard time about it Mom says I'm just worried about my inheritance. Grrr... they're not dead yet and won't be for quite some time and have no long term care insurance or disability insurance. At least they did get an attorney to work on a trust and some other things. I have to follow up with them about that.

It was a good thing in our family's case. However, I do have another family member who took advantage of his own parent, so it can be a bad thing too.
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Old 02-01-2015, 07:16 PM
Location: North Monterey County
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When they are in a position to harm themselves financially - and have family members who will take advantage and do them harm - damn straight we will get involved.
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Old 02-01-2015, 07:52 PM
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I have mixed feelings about all this....

1st.... there was my Mother (dementia). She took her secret finances to a whole new level. I was later told by her lawyer, that even the female lawyer tried to talk sense into her, about letting me in on the secrets, but to no avail. By the time I got involved as her 24/7 Caretaker (POA and everything)..... WHAT A MESS!!!! Mother had money scattered at 6 different banks, with multiple accounts at all. Even the bankers told me.... Mother was calling them, and stopping in multiple times per week.... transferring funds back and forth, in a manner that was crazy!

Then there was a very dear friend, that was approaching his 60's. His 90some yr old Mother had just passed away the year early. She was filthy rich, and as a result...... there was some overly impressive inheritance happening. Now this friend had 2 daughters that were in their early 20's (they would be the grandchildren of this filthy rich grandma).

I'm certain the granddaughters weren't totally stupid about their rich grandma, but I'm also certain they didn't REALIZE just how much their Dad had just inherited! And since Dad died a year later, thanks to cancer..... those 2 daughters just inherited 10 Million EACH!!! (while only being in their early 20's).

That right there.... scares the bejezzus out of me! I promise you... those 2 girls were NOT intellectually prepared for such a windfall. I don't know what has happened to them since? I can only HOPE they didn't get stupid?

The flipside of the coin is.... you don't want your kids murdering you for their inheritance? Thank Gawd I'm poor! I'm not worth murdering. And I will do everything in my power to NOT leave my kids with "debt" problems.

You have to have a true understanding of the financial and emotional MATURITY of your kids. Can they be trusted? Are they emotionally and financially responsible? Is there more you need to teach them?
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Old 02-01-2015, 08:41 PM
Location: North Monterey County
3,188 posts, read 2,858,918 times
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When my father in law died one of the inlaws family friends of many years whose wife had died 6 months prior showed up at her door with his son - and proposed marriage to my mother inlaw

Friend was up to his eyeballs in debt living with his son - he thought proposing to my MIL would save him.

She had the good sense to close the door on him.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:52 PM
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
3,396 posts, read 6,184,998 times
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My parents worked with a lawyer and financial planner to set up trusts, a will, and insurance for a variety of possibilities. They meet with them every 18 months or so to make updates as needed.

About 5 years ago they sat my sister and I down to walk through it all, and while it felt like more info than we needed, it was a very good thing to do. In general I think they could have stuck to just the procedures of what to do if they pass or begin to lose it, but it was good to know that they have any needs for assisted care living taken care of (my sister and I had both been setting money aside to deal with that if needed). It also served as motivation for me to look at what my wife and have in place and make sure it's rock solid for our daughter.
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Old 02-02-2015, 01:13 AM
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Same with us. We trust them both or we wouldn't be partners with them!
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Old 02-02-2015, 03:02 AM
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after we did our new trusts and wills we gave each one of our 3 kids an envelope explaining where to find instructions in our house as to who has what and where the origonal documents are .

it didn't take them 5 minutes before they were texting each other about how it was going to be like a treasure hunt ha ha ha ha.
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