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Guides Offer Financial Tips for Family Caregivers in Texas

Partners in a couple act as caregivers for one another

Eddie Orum, 69, of Houston, has always been close to his aunt. So when her attorney suspected she was sending money to scammers eight years ago, it was Orum he called.

His aunt, who has Alzheimer’s disease, couldn’t remember whom she had sent the money to, but Orum estimates she lost about $10,000 before the attorney realized what was happening.

“He began talking with me about how we need to begin to put some guardrails on,” Orum says.

With the lawyer’s help, Orum obtained power of attorney so he could manage his aunt’s finances and make decisions on her behalf. The role wasn’t easy — requiring many phone calls and different forms to get access to her accounts.

It can be challenging to figure out how to step in when a loved one needs help managing their finances. To make it easier, AARP Texas has collaborated with Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit advocacy organization, to produce a tool kit for family caregivers.

“Managing Someone Else’s Money in Texas” includes six guides tailored to people serving in specific roles, such as agents under a power of attorney and court-appointed guardians. The kit also includes a fraud-fighting guide to help prevent elder financial abuse.

The guides are available in English at For Spanish-language versions of the guides, go to

In the eyes of AARP Texas State Director Tina Tran, managing someone else’s money can be scary. “You are trying to figure out all these legal terms that can be intimidating, and you certainly don’t want to make any mistakes,” she says.

Balancing needs 

The guides are based on materials produced by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and adapted to include information about Texas state law and resources, says Ann Baddour, director of the Fair Financial Services Project at Texas Appleseed. The law firm Baker Botts LLP provided pro bono legal help.

The guides cover caregivers’ obligations when it comes to financial issues, as well as how to keep records to ensure no one questions the integrity of the decisions they make, Baddour says.

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Caregivers will learn the right way to sign a document when they have a power of attorney and how to navigate common pitfalls, such as disagreements between family members. (The tool kit is not legal advice, and caregivers with questions about their responsibilities are encouraged to consult with an attorney.)

Baddour says financial caregivers should strive to allow the individual to have maximum autonomy while still monitoring their telephone and electronic communication — as well as their financial transactions — for abuse.

“Some people can manage more of their money, some can manage less,” she says. “It’s a balance between the needs of the individual and their capacity and their vulnerability to abuse.”

Scams targeting older adults are getting more sophisticated, Baddour notes.

Criminals have started to use artificial intelligence to recreate the voices of family members — making it easier to persuade people to send money.

Having conversations early

Orum, who is also a member of the AARP Texas Executive Council, says his 91-year-old aunt now lives with him and he manages all of her financial affairs.

He also recently began serving as a financial caregiver for his 92-year-old mother, who lives in an assisted living facility.

Orum says it was initially difficult for him to persuade his mom to share financial information with him, so he used what he calls “a hurricane plan.”

He asked where the important documents were (and what they were) in case she needed to leave the house quickly in an emergency.

Over time, she became comfortable with sharing information, and he now oversees her finances, as well.

Working with his mom and aunt has helped Orum recognize the importance of sharing financial details with your loved ones before a crisis.

He says he’s now talking with his children “about what the future plans should be, because I don’t want them to have to wait and learn as I did.” ■

Michelle Crouch, a North Carolina–based writer, covers long-term care and other issues. She has written for the Bulletin for more than a decade.

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