Q: Our Dad is deeply involved in a financial scam. He has sent between $6,000 and $15,000 to scammers for “taxes” for the prize he has won. He has had 3 months of Social Security checks diverted to some jagoff we don’t even know. He has finally admitted he was deceived but still talks to them on the phone and still talks of sending them money. Sometimes he seems fine mentally and other times he doesn’t. So far, Dad hasn’t agreed to POA, but we think he is coming around. We don’t know if that will be strong enough. What should we do? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: It is a delicate situation. If he is competent to sign a POA and you can get him to, you may be able to safeguard his bank accounts in such a manner that he cannot withdraw without your (the Agent’s) approval. However, if he will not sign one and/or is beyond control due to dementia, you may need to have a family member appointed as guardian. Being guardian will provide more control of his affairs. However, a guardianship requires court involvement and monitoring. I suggest a consultation with a lawyer who handles guardianships.