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Old 10-29-2009, 08:41 AM   #1
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How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

My father has a few dollars in the bank, around $30k. He lives with me in my home and does contribute "rent money," which I greatly appreciate and put to good use.

He had been diagnosed with lung cancer and upon that diagnosis (on 9/11), put my name on his account so that I could write checks on his behalf if necessary. Up until this point I had no idea what his finances were in terms of what he had, what's coming out, etc.

Because I have an account at the same bank and now have my name on his, I am able to see his account online, and was SHOCKED at the amount of money he's taking out!

For example he has written out cash to himself of $200:

8/6
8/11
8/17
9/1
9/21
9/25
10/2

$100:

10/16
10/19
10/26
10/28

His ONLY income is under $800/mo. from social security. That's IT. I looked at his checkbook and the $200 pattern has been going on for a couple of years now...no wonder he's down to the small amount he is!

He claims he doesn't go out during the day so where the HECK is all this money going? I don't spend that much each month and I'm WORKING FULL TIME! This is going to him, not to bills... I'm concerned.

But how much of a say do I have in this now that I have full view of his financials? Is it my place to say anything with regard to exactly WHAT he's doing with essentially HIS money? But what will it come to, should his chemo be successful and he lives a few more good years and continues to burn thru the money - what are his expectations as to what he's going to do? Surely his paltry $800/mo alone will force him to cut down drastically on spending sometime in the not so distant future, then what? Look to me for money to burn after he's burned thru his?

So, I guess simply put, do I have a "right" to say anything at all? Finances were not something I ever discussed with my parents; it's a silent rule that it's "none of my business," but now that he's sort of my responsibility, should I / do I have the right to get more involved now?

Any and all advice appreciated. Thank you.

 
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Old 10-29-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

why not ASK him what he's doing with the $200 ??

maybe he's giving it to someone else??

 
Old 10-29-2009, 08:58 AM   #3
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosequartz View Post
why not ASK him what he's doing with the $200 ??

maybe he's giving it to someone else??
I guess that's my question - is it my PLACE to ask him what he's doing with his own money? How much of it all is my business, especially if he's giving me money monthly as rent? Obviously I feel ill at ease with this discussion and am curious what other opinions are as to how much of his finances are my business.

 
Old 10-29-2009, 09:00 AM   #4
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

it is your place to ask, since he asked you to help out.....
if someone is conning your dad, you need to find out.

absolutely! he's going thru a couple hundred bucks every few days....you need to find out WHY

Last edited by rosequartz; 10-29-2009 at 09:00 AM.

 
Old 10-29-2009, 09:04 AM   #5
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

I don't think he's being conned as much as he's gambling. He's got to be sinking a pretty penny into playing the numbers, if I had to bet.

 
Old 10-29-2009, 09:08 AM   #6
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

ahhhh well it still needs to be brought out into the open....
he needs to know that he's depleting his account!!!
can you keep it away from him so he can't get at it?

 
Old 10-29-2009, 09:12 AM   #7
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosequartz View Post
ahhhh well it still needs to be brought out into the open....
he needs to know that he's depleting his account!!!
can you keep it away from him so he can't get at it?
Yes, I can. I am thinking of taking 1/2 of it and putting it in some sort of "safe saving" account or something that is accessible IF NEED BE but out of his hands to squander. I have an appointment at another bank this week on another matter and I think I will talk to him about this and my plan.

I fear there will be a big blowout of me either "controlling" or "stealing his money" but seriously I'm just trying to stop him from obviously blowing what he does have so he has more than the bare minimum if he needs it years down the road. Heck, around $10k of that, I would think, should be set aside for burial alone, no?

Elderly and ill parents are such a concern, especially when you're the only child and they want to let you take responsibility for them...

 
Old 10-29-2009, 09:17 AM   #8
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

I would take more than 1/2 of it.....
do you have power of attorney over his finances and his health care?
If not, now would be a good time to get it.

 
Old 10-29-2009, 09:22 AM   #9
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

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Originally Posted by rosequartz View Post
I would take more than 1/2 of it.....
do you have power of attorney over his finances and his health care?
If not, now would be a good time to get it.
I had a POA drafted on his insistence but as far as I know he's never done anything with it.

 
Old 10-29-2009, 09:35 AM   #10
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

if he's signed it, you have the power of attorney....you can make the decisions that are in his bests interest....
take what's left of the money and stash it away from him!

 
Old 10-29-2009, 03:19 PM   #11
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

The POA only kicks in if he becomes incompitent or has a bad accident and is unable to make desicions (otherwise he would not have access to his money without your permission). Just like a living will, the POA expresses whom he wants to act on his behalf when he no longer can. This is how these documents are drafted. A POA is selected "in case" something happens. If you want contol over his desicions you will have to apply for guardainship and in order to do that you must have him deemed incompitent. There is the idea of a conservatorship as well. Sounds like you need to communicate with your father. What type of lung cancer does he have.

<edited>

Have you talked with his doctor about this? Have both of you looked into support groups for cancer? Sounds like he's turning to the gamblling as a way to maintain some choice and control. As an older male adult in this society he might percieve all the loss that has been brought onto him as almost insurmountible and compensates the best he can.. A diagnosis of lung cancer is often ominous to the person. Mental health is key. I wish you and your father well. Give him a hug for me.

Last edited by mod-anon; 10-30-2009 at 10:43 PM. Reason: Please read the posting rules

 
Old 11-02-2009, 11:12 AM   #12
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyvin View Post
The POA only kicks in if he becomes incompitent or has a bad accident and is unable to make desicions (otherwise he would not have access to his money without your permission). Just like a living will, the POA expresses whom he wants to act on his behalf when he no longer can. This is how these documents are drafted. A POA is selected "in case" something happens. If you want contol over his desicions you will have to apply for guardainship and in order to do that you must have him deemed incompitent. There is the idea of a conservatorship as well. Sounds like you need to communicate with your father. What type of lung cancer does he have.
Thanks for your reply.

He certainly is not incompetent fully, at least not enough that in good conscience I could pursue getting him declared as such.

He has small cell lung cancer. From what the doctor said he is, at this time, responding EXTREMELY WELL to treatment. For example, the measurements of his liver have improved as well as the tumor marker numbers going down from 184 to 31 after just one treatment. So it sounds as though he will outlive his estimated survival time of 2 months without treatment easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyvin View Post
<edited>

Have you talked with his doctor about this? Have both of you looked into support groups for cancer? Sounds like he's turning to the gamblling as a way to maintain some choice and control. As an older male adult in this society he might percieve all the loss that has been brought onto him as almost insurmountible and compensates the best he can.. A diagnosis of lung cancer is often ominous to the person. Mental health is key. I wish you and your father well. Give him a hug for me.
The issue with my father is that he has ALWAYS lived in a "for the moment, the future will take care of itself" way, and my mother spent many nights awake, fearing they would outlive their savings with his lifestyle (she has since passed from cancer). So I don't think this behavior is a direct result of the diagnosis, although I do believe that the diagnosis has given him the absolute mental go ahead to blow his money even more since, as he told me after I tried to have a discussion about this over the weekend, "I'm not WORRIED about it - I'll be DEAD before I spent it all!"

Um, no, ya won't. And I'm not supporting your habit.

I am frustrated on so many levels these days, trying to do the right thing and constantly having to battle with him. I'm exhausted and growing plenty resentful right now.

 
Old 11-03-2009, 12:47 PM   #13
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

A diagnosis of SCLC is rough. I would suggest counseling or support groups. MY heart goes out to you and your father.

 
Old 11-03-2009, 12:53 PM   #14
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

Well, here's the deal with that. Apparently he has been responding extremely well to treatment. His tumor markers went from 184 down to 31 after just one treatment cycle, and the liver measurements are better as well, as in the liver is shrinking.

The doctor was essentially over the moon with his progress...is that common and/or a calm before the storm, usually?

 
Old 11-04-2009, 02:18 PM   #15
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Re: How much control/comment over a parent's finances?

No one can predict how these things go. Statistics vary and it is extremely individual. The doctor should be able to direct you to support services. No one should do this alone. Take care.

 
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