Ask The Expert: The bank will not let me use mom’s money to pay mom’s bills, what shall I do?

posted by: Ben A. Neiburger Elder Law Attorney

Many people who call our office express frustration that, even though they are trying to take care of their parents’ affairs, banks, IRA custodians and other financial professionals are not very helpful. Many times, they refuse to let the person have access to the accounts or even see the account balances. Having a valid power of attorney for property can solve this problem.

When a person signs a power of attorney for property, that person (as the “principal”) appoints an agent to act for them in any way with respect to most financial transactions. This will permit the person who is appointed as an agent to access these records and to direct payment for care and other expenses. However, to sign a power of attorney for property, a person must be mentally competent to do so. This means that the person must understand the contents of the power of attorney and what the implications of signing the power of attorney are. In many cases, it is too late to sign a power of attorney for property since the principal is no longer competent to sign documents. In this case, unless an adult child or other person is a joint tenant on the financial account in question, the only option would be to go to court to open up a guardianship proceeding to get access to the account.

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Posted by:jodie

9/19/2010 2:05:31 PM

My mother has exhausted all her finances while staying in a nursing home in N.J. She owns her home and my disabled sister lives there. We need to get medicaid for mom. What do we do? I know they{nursing home} want the house?

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