POA & SSA

One issue that troubles me as my clients’ age, is who will handle their affairs/finances if they become incapacitated? This is keenly felt if you are single or have no children. Who is that trusted person?  We don’t like to think about our own mortality, but the issues must be dealt with sooner rather than later.  First, you need a Will with a competent executor to carry out your wishes.  Next, you need a Durable Power of Attorney to handle those details during any ineptitude, a Living Will (explains your wishes pertaining to medical care) and an Advance Medical Directive (describes the steps you want to be followed at end of life circumstances) are two very important documents to add to the mix.  By anticipating and preparing you will lighten the burden and ensure everyone follows your wishes rather than making last-minute choices in a stressful time.

In working with my clients through the years, I get to know them on a personal level.  When we have our usual consultations, we aren’t just discussing finances.  We talk about changes in their lives, their families, children, jobs, etc.  I was faced with a dilemma concerning one of my long-time female patrons.  The withdrawals she was generating on her account were concerning me.  I knew from past conversations that her son was living with her and he may be the cause behind some of those withdrawals in the form of helping to pay the bills.  I was troubled enough to call Elder Abuse Services to ask them to investigate.  To make a long story short, a lawyer/guardian was appointed; he discovered the bills weren’t being paid and stepped in to help remedy the situation. Unfortunately, we hear all the time in the news of different scams aimed at the elderly.

And then there’s Social Security!  Social Security does not recognize a Durable Power of Attorney.   And how they handle the situation of a person’s incapacities can be tricky.  A Power of Attorney document is handled through state regulations, while the Social Security Agency is federal.  Federal law trumps state law.  So the SSA gets to set their own rules and regulations concerning any financial disability.

SSA will appoint a Personal Representative when/if that time comes.  There’s no pre-planning on your part for this situation, a rep is only found once a person IS incapacitated.  A rep is not appointed for your convenience but as a necessity.  SSA will try to find a payee to handle the account who will have the beneficiary’s best interests in mind and one that can work in collaboration with the agency and beneficiary.  Strict accounting and reporting of the funds are required.

If there are no children or spouse available to serve as a personal representative, you can hire a paid guardian or lawyer to act on your behalf in accordance with the SSA guidelines.  You can also automate your finances; have your bills paid directly from your checking or savings account and have your Social Security check directly deposited. 

Be pro-active.  Create an online account at Social Security myaccount.  This will allow you to keep your information updated – addresses, bank accounts.  You can also ascertain that the deductions taken from your wages have been properly deposited to your social security account.  Mistakes can happen.  In creating such an online account, you can record your user IDs and passwords.  Then, if the time comes when you need assistance, you can leave instructions for a trusted person to access your online accounts for you.  #elderabuse #socialsecurity #powerofattorney #finances #will #durablemedicaldirective #medicaldirective #livingwill #ssa

Check our web site www.regardingyourmoney.com for more information.  Send us an email and we will send out our list of “The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die”.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.  Ben Franklin

 

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Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck