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Ebenifits, Fiduciary Duty



I'll try and make this brief,

#1) My 86-year-old, air force retired biological father's health has declined to a point where I have contacted his VA primary care doctor to determine his ability to drive safely.  His GP agreed with my assessment and sent the DMV a retest required suspension.  After talking with my father, he admitted he would not be able to pass a driving test, so he has voluntarily given up his license and now has a ID card only which I was directly involved in.  I have sold his truck and paid off the loan that he had on that vehicle.

#2) I have been added to my father bank account where his social security is being deposited

#3) I have recently had him fill out
a. Advanced Health Directive 
b. Durable Power of  Attorney
Both of which are notarized.

#4) I have created and account in MyHealthEVet, and upgraded that account to premium so I can review his medical care and direct message his healthcare team (which I have been doing)

#5) The MHV login credentials allow me to log into VA.GOV under his username.

#6) I have created an Ebenifits account for him, however after multiple attempts to upgrade that account (he is not able to successfully recall the answers to the challenge questions in the allotted time).  After speaking with the Ebenifits DS Login staff on the phone (multiple times) while my father was present we were still not able to upgrade his account.  Recently, My dad and I again called the DS login tech support staff to try and work out the upgrade problem, but I was told that his account is now LOCKED due to suspicious and or fraudulently (me and my dads)  activity and would be available for upgrade status in 31 days.  What a Fng shit show.

#6) I believe it's prudent for me to apply for Fiduciary responsibility for my father for the following reasons.

a.     I asked his wife, (my step mother) about his service connected disabilities and she said the only thing he gets from the VA are free hearing aids and medical care.  When looking around in MHV and VA.GOV I found that for the past ten years he has been service connected for PTSD (Viet Nam Combat) and is also SC for hearing loss.  VA.GOV shows that his combined SC is 40% and is paid approximately $750 dollars each month.  After recently asking my father several times if he was aware of any service-connected benefits from the VA, if he has ever applied for such benefits or if he is aware of any monthly compensation for SC disabilities.  He said no.  I don't; know if his mental decline prohibits his ability to remember, or if he simply doesn't know.  In either case, I feel that this needs to eventually be brought to his attention for the following reasons. 

b. My father’s Airforce retirement and his SC disability income are direct deposited into an account controlled by his wife (my step mother) which he has no realistic access to.   My father is ware that his retirement income is deposited into this account, as is his wife's retirement income and that this account is used for the expenses related to the home, utilities, mortgage, tax and related expenses.  He has no idea of the balance oif this account, or what the money is being used for.  He certainly does not know that SC income from the past ten years is being deposited into this account.  After speaking with his wife, I inquired with her about becoming a co-signer on this account but she is reluctant to do so.

c. I am not suggesting any nefarious action or motive by his wife of 50+ years, as she has historically managed the finances within there relationship from the beginning.  However, there relationship after 50 years if marriage from my point of view is rather caustic and I believe that they remain married (sleeping in separate rooms) for financial convenance more than anything else.

d. My stepmother is aware that I now possess a notarized durable power of attorney relating to my father’s health and financial well fair.  However, I am curious about the reluctance of my stepmother to allow me direct access to the joint account where my fathers retirement and SC disability is being deposited.  Also, I am curious about the SC disability and how she claims she does not have knowledge of that income.  Especially considering COLA notification and other VA letters specifically describing topic pertaining to SC income.

For the past few months, I have worked with my stepsister (whom I get along with well-but does not have a positive relationship with my father) in working out the details of a TRUST that is being put together by a local lawyer.  The trust will be designed to instruct me and my sister on the distribution of assets and keep a surviving spouse from transferring the property into his/her name and excluding the other children.  I will mention that the estate after expenses (eg, Mortgage to Value) appears to be very low if not negative.

I have purposefully not been more aggressive in attempting to find out the answers to the above questions, until the TRUST is finalized, which will happen sometime late April.

Now, the question(s)

#1) Do you believe I should apply for fiduciary responsibility for VA and also SS income and all of my fathers related expenses?  (If so, where would I start)?

#2) Do you believe I should mind my own business and not risk stirring up trouble which would possibly lead to the remaining years of my stepmother and fathers’ lives being even more caustic and complicated? 

If you have made it this far, thank you for letting me explain my situation and ask the two questions?


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Having been through the loss of both my parents and my spouse's parents, maybe I can help.  

1. As far as "applying for fiduciary responsibility", are you even sure that is what you want to do?  Based on what you posted, the estate (may have a negative value), so Im guessing "your only motivation" is your fathers care, not any money motive.  

Since you said this is his spouse of 50 years, she probably knows your father better than you do, as you probably did not spend most of those 50 years with him.  

     If this were me, I would likely "MYOB" (mind your own business) and stay out of this.  I can see little benefit for you to apply for fiduciary responsibility..his spouse apparently has that..and your DAD made that choice, apparently, when he was in better health and better able to make that decision.  

    Your Dad's choices "are your Dad's choice's to make", not yours.  I did not want my father making my choices, once I reached 21, and I doubt that he would like you reversing his choice that he made when he was more sane.  

    2.  Yes.  Even if your "assessment" of their relationship accurately reflects that reality, then remember, he chose her.  Your dad is in a much better position to "judge" his relationship with your step mom, as he lives with her, and you probably dont..but do visit once in a while.  

     Sometimes, what we observe in a short period of time viewing another's relationship may not truly reflect the long term aspect.  Perhaps your father or step mother had a bad day, and "what you saw" does not accurately reflect the totality of their relationship.  

    I know its tempting to "want to take over".  

    Instead, I would have a frank heart to heart talk with your dad..take your time.  Get him to talk about it.  Mostly, as far as possible, you should honor his requests "unless you know for certian" those requests will harm him and are made when he is not fully sane.  

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Thank you broncovet, that's exactly why I came here for advice.

"Instead, I would have a frank heart to heart talk with your dad..take your time.  Get him to talk about it.  Mostly, as far as possible, you should honor his requests "unless you know for certian" those requests will harm him and are made when he is not fully sane. "

Considering your well thought out comment above, my father would insist that I take over.  And I am also certain my father and his wife, would be much worse off than before I got involved.

It's easy to understand when you explain it that way.  Much respect to you sir!

I'll just focus on keeping my dad and stepmom safe and comfortable with the least amount of grief during this last phase of life.

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"If" you speak to your father about it, and "if" he decides you should be POA and have the control, then "its his choice", and he will be much more "on board" with your "suggestions" since he was the one who put you in charge!  

On the other hand, if you "take over" against his will, then you will likely alienate him, and maybe your step mom, too. 

You only want to apply "muscle" when kindness and everything else fails.  

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