Legal Point - Parent may make questionable financial decisions as long as Parent has not been deemed incapacitated.
Child of elderly parent wants to take control of Parent's bank accounts because Parent is making questionable financial decisions, but Parent refuses to cooperate. Child contacts me for help.
Child may not take control of the Parent's bank accounts until Parent has been deemed to be incapacitated and unable to make sound financial decisions.
A determination of incapacity in this context is made by medical physicians, not by me. The parent's financial power of attorney and/or revocable living trust will likely include a provision that clarifies how an agent or successor trustee (as the case may be) should obtain evidence of incapacity in order to take over control of a bank account. For example, the living trust document may require the parent's personal or attending physician to sign a written certification of incapacity. This document may be shown to the financial institution as evidence of incapacity. The certification is usually accompanied by a written diagnosis from a neurologist.
If the parent is not been determined to be incapacitated by medical physicians, and the parent still does not want to relinquish control of finances to the child, then use of persuasive powers is the only other legal strategy. My point is that a parent is entitled to make questionable financial choices, even if the child has a different perspective.
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Thomas J. Bouman