How can I have access to father's bank accounts and pension since I am now responsible for taking care of him and paying his bills? 18 Answers as of March 04, 2014

My father who is 87 retired in 1986 after 36 years with a company. He receives a pension and social security payments. My mother died in 2004. My father remarried in 2006 and moved into his 2nd wife's home. I am now having to care for him as his current wife was no longer able to do so (she is 83). They have separate checking accounts but his wife is a cosigner on his account. I am now responsible for paying his bills with his pension and money in the account yet she and her family maintain they are entitled to a fair distribution of the cash and pension. She doesn't want a divorce and in his condition of dementia, he doesn't remember her.

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Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
You will need a power of attorney or a guardianship.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 3/4/2014
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
You need to obtain the assistance of a probate attorney who specializes in conservatorship and obtain the appointment of yourself as his conservator over his person and estate; once you have an appointment as conservator, you can set up a separate account and direct payment of the SS and pension to the new account, so you can pay his bills.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/4/2014
Law Office of Jeffrey T. Reed | Jeffrey T. Reed
If you can't work something out with the other family members you may need to petition the court for a conservatorship? That's not going to be cheap so try and work it out. You should also check with the pension plan and see if he has designated a beneficiary? Does he have a will? Do you have power of attorney?
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/4/2014
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
You need to be appointed a guardian to be able to handle your father's financial needs. Because they have separate checking accounts, it can be argued that it's separate property. If your dad was retired when he remarried, his pension only belongs to him. If he was still working, she could claim the number of years married/years working times monthly pension.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/4/2014
Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
Do you have a power of attorney from your father? You can use the power of attorney to obtain access to his accounts. If not, you will need to file for conservatorship of your father's person and estate. You should contact a local estate planning/probate attorney for assistance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    If you and the wife can?t agree, you may have to resort to having the court appoint you as his conservator.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    At this point, unless your father signed a Power of Attorney, while he was well, there is no alternative but to go to the probate court and be named his conservator. If his estate planning is not otherwise in order, then your father's accounts are likely to pass to his wife, in the event of his death, under Michigan's intestacy law. If your father and his wife signed a pre-nuptial agreement or if his estate planning DOES provide otherwise, then it is possible you will have a different result. You are not in a good position, however, particularly if this was not done.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    You will need to get a conservatorship or deal with things the way they are. As conservator, you may be able to file for divorce but I am not sure that makes sense as I don't know how long they were married and what their assets are. If this is a big issue, see an attorney about filing for conservatorship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    You need to be named guardian of him and conservator of his estate. There is no other way to do it without a durable power of attorney, which it sounds like you don't have. Contact a local attorney who does that type of law.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Your father's wife is not entitled to her "fair share" of your father's estate until he is deceased. And since she can't care for him, she will need to provide funds for someone else to care for him unless there was a prenup agreement that provides otherwise. If she won't let you use your father's own money to pay for his care, ask her if you can have access to her funds for this purpose. You may need to get a judge to make all of this clear to her.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    You will need to petition the court to be named his conservator, and maybe guardian. I strongly recommend that you seek counsel of an experienced elder law attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    You need to be appointed his legal guardian by the Court. You should employ an attorney with experience in guardianship to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    You should file a petition to get appointed his guardian and then you will be able to do everything on his behalf, including the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    File a petition for conservatorship. That will give you the authority to handle his affairs.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    You should contact a probate attorney who specializes in conservatorships. Since your father now suffers from dementia, he is unable to execute a power of attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    You are not a co-signer on the accounts. You do not have a Power of Attorney for Property over your fathers assets. You must rely upon the consent of the spouse to pay your father's bills since she must be the one to sign the checks. In the alternative, since your father has dementia and is unable to understand or handle is own financial affairs you can establish a guardianship and have a guardian appointed. The guardian, under supervision of the court, would have the authority to manage your father's assets and pay his bills and expenses. However, a portion of household income and assets must be used for the benefit of the spouse.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
    Thank you for wanting to care for your father. The circumstances, as presented in your summary are complex. It is important to navigate through the problem properly. I can't suggest much in this brief response except to encourage you to discuss this matter with an attorney. Good luck in this difficult time.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 3/4/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    Ideally, you would have a Durable Power of Attorney to handle your father's affairs directly. If he is incompetent, he can no longer provide this to you. The family is not entitled to anything as nobody has died. It is really a matter for the husband and wife while both are living. Even then, a will or trust will state your father's intentions. If he is intestate the wife will get all from the probate court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2014
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