We hear all about scams, and thieves who prey on the elderly.
To be honest, I don’t know if there is a bigger scam than family and the professionals we trust.
I hear all the time about how the brother or the sister would never help with mom or dad but once they died everybody came in looking for a piece of the pie. Or I hear caregivers complain about the medical care received at the last few days in their life…the hospital wanting to do CT scans, X-rays, more labs, to rack up a bill which Medicare will pay some but not all.
I see attorneys who say “Oh yes, everything’s in place…not a problem”, but after the loved one dies the estate has to be tweaked (which of course, the attorney charges for), taxes hold up the distribution, and it’s easily 6 months to well over a year before the estate is finally settled after the attorney got their fees… And more often than not, the attorney knows this nickel and dime “estate clean-up” or asking for more fees for things that we’re not covered when the trust, will, or plans were put in place puts you in a hard place and you have to “agree” in order to finally get the inheritance.
Senior facilities and siblings
So often caregivers will also tell me that they thought everything was in place with the facility that their loved one lived only to find the facility has been charging for many, many things and the caregiver had no idea how much was owed to the facility. Or a family member came in and put their name on the account as dementia was starting to settle in and when the bank account is closed the money is given to that sole sibling and no one else.
If you think your inheritance is safe, have you checked everything?
All legal matters and all financial accounts?
Do you see the monthly payout and bills coming in?
Funerals take a cut…
Many caregivers think their inheritance will cover the cost of other funeral arrangements, (like a flower). It won’t. A bouquet on a casket is easily $300. To dig that hole in the ground? $450.
Wait till you see all the added things that are tacked on to a funeral! Everything is extra these days. These little things add up. A vase after cremation? Some states make it illegal for you to bring your own so you have to pay for one…$200 on up!
How to stop the money loss…
First of all, putting your name on a joint account is not the best idea.
You’re at risk and so is your loved one if you do this for multiple reasons. Please see the article below to give you more information on this.
For more information on the pros and cons of joint accounts vs other safe options click here.
The quick solution is to put your signature on all their accounts so you can keep track of them or better yet, become a power of attorney whereby you can talk to all the attorneys, bank advisors, and insurance agents as needed. Keep these accounts close to your heart. Keep these professionals on speed dial and keep them on your phone. You have got to keep track of this money and the payouts. Make sure you have the passwords.
If you can’t get your spouse or parent to tell you anything about their finances, then all you need to do today is plant the seed.
Let it grow and let it go.
A situation will come up again which will allow you to bring up the idea of you taking over their finances and then you can plant another seed.
Some seeds will never grow, other seeds do come to fruition and when they agree to hand over maybe one small account to you… well, that’s enough for now.
As they see that you are actually helping them and taking this burden off them, they’re more apt to give you the power of attorney or the guardianship whichever works best for you and them.
Become the caregiver who is no longer worried about money, jewelry, and assets… but be the caregiver who knows where the money comes in, where the money goes…
And who gets what when the inheritance comes through…
Have these conversations now. If you think the money is safe with a sibling…get ready for a big disappointment. All assets MUST to be transparent to ALL your children or as a caregiver, to ALL your siblings, and others who have a stake in their inheritance.
If you don’t do this now…future family reunions can get ugly.