But I don't wanna be his guardian.....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by timer lady, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    While wm lives in foster care yet because I'm his "legal guardian" I have to do various things that are a bit over my head of late.

    The latest & greatest is setting up a bank account for my son....don't want to do it as I am his legal guardian & I know wm's ability (NOT) to manage money. It will bite me in the butt, I just know it will.

    I let the team know that if I didn't want my name attached to anything financial of wm's. Period. I really do not want to be this child's legal guardian. I want the GAL to take over & do this stuff. Hmmmmmm
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Do NOT do this. It will just result in further stress and trauma for you and ammunition for wm to use to "prove" to himself that you don't love him and everyone should pity him and give him everything he wants whenever he wants as many times as he wants.

    I don't think they can force you to do this, but they could take advantage of your current challenges to manipulate you into it. Such as giving you papers to sign and not explaining what they really are.

    Don't you have a GAL or advocate who can help you with this? Let them say no for you and support you.
  3. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Dumb question, Linda - why does he need a bank account?
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I guess they're trying to teach him independence?

    Does he work? I would take him to the bank with me and have him cash his check and open up the account with-you. Otherwise, it's way too abstract of a concept and he'll just think it's manna from Heaven.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Linda, don't they know that you turned over your banking because of your own problems? That doesn't make any sense to me at all. Hugs. DDD
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't blame you for not wanting to do this at all. What can they really do if you just say no?

    And did I misinterpret something before? I had it in my mind that someone had mentioned you turning over guardianship before but then you didn't want to- or was that regarding only kt?
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Another who agrees that you shouldn't take this on!
  8. Jena

    Jena New Member


    why can't the gal do it anyway that's kinda their job? what do they want you to do anyway be the co signer on his bank account? than the bank will come after you if he bounces checks, etc.

    oh sheesh
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Is this to be his representative payee for his social security? I wouldnt go there either with him. They have other type folks who can do that. I think they are called institutional payees.
  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    wm has a job at his school ~ they want to teach wm money management. "They" want wm's account attached to mine (NOT). In wm's mind if there is a check or a debit card there is money. I let wm know that I would meet him with staff & get his checks cashed but I wouldn't in any way open an account with my name attached to his account. He's hurt & angry.

    I'm just angry. wm is on disability however that is going toward payment of his foster care placement. I'm going to get wm's GAL involved - she's the one pushing me to continue as wm's guardian after he hits 18. She's not happy I'm not willing/able to do that.

    The state has changed laws about signing over parental rights for cause here ~ it's not going to happen tho it had been in the works for a while now. wm doesn't have a permanency plan nor does he need one. Mental health case manager knows that it isn't safe for wm to be here & the state/county is okay with that. I don't want to "dump" wm off on someone else yet this is a safety issue - not much more can be said. If wm refuses services (help) when he becomes 18 he's on his own even tho he's operating at the 6-8 year old level.

    This was more a vent than anything.....need to move on with my day.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    "They" are idiots. If wm cannot even meet you at a bank to cash his check with any assured degree of safety unless he has staff with him, why on earth would it be safe to have your money intertwined with his?? Makes me want to tell them to grow a brain - if he thinks he can intimidate you to cover his bad checks or whatever if he writes them - and your accounts are linked, then he WILL.

    Let the GAL handle this. Or his caseworker.

    I really hope he will realize that he needs the services when he is 18 but it doesn't seem likely. This is even more reason for him to have an account that is just his so that he can learn to manage it now. Having you involved would slow down his grasp of the concepts because he would know that you would have to pay the $$ and he wouldn't have to pay attention to it or the rules.

    I am sorry that they keep trying to involve you in things that are just unwise and poorly thought out.
  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Stand strong. Why can't foster mom cash his checks for him?
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Why can't he have his own bank account? Our kids here have school student accounts, they take pocket money to school and deposit it in their account. Later they can adapt the account as they need.

    difficult child 1 was useless with money. difficult child 3 is not much better at the moment. We made sure the only money in their account, was their money. We would not top it up at all, except with pocket money as agreed. We certainly wouldn't bail them out. And ANY money in the account, the kid would empty. And the consequences were - he had to wait until he earned more. It was the only way he could learn. If we had put money in the account of our own and said, "That $500 is ours, don't let the balance go below $500," the account would have been empty in days.

    Because we stood firm, difficult child 1 learned to manage his money. And difficult child 3 is learning. The hard way. It's the only way for some kids.

    Anything else is ludicrous.

  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I just had another thought.

    Linda, you said he gets disability, but that pays for his upkeep. How is that managed in practical terms? Does it all go into wm's bank account then wm withdraws it and pays cash over the counter? If not, why not? Or does the money get automatically taken out, and then any leftover goes to wm? If it's done this way, then why?

    Those are rhetorical questions. But they are pertinent. If they cannot trust wm to pay his own way with his own disability, why should they want you to have your money mixed in with his? Long before they ask you to fund wm's bank account, they should be paying all wm's disability into wm's personal account, and working with him to pay his own bills from it. THAT is the starting point.

    And if they're not prepared to do that, then you are certainly not being unreasonable to refuse.

  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Marg, until he's 18 he can't sign a contract (even a bank account) without a parent or legal guardian also signing.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    In most places in the US a case can be made in court to link you to your child's debts if you are on ANY of his accounts and he is a minor. Parents/guardians must sign for an account and if you have an account in the same bank the bank often will do all it can to link his account to yours. If you are on his account and his drops to a negative balance, you will be just as liable for the debt as he is. With linked accounts (sometimes just having them at the same bank works, depending on the state and specific bank) the bank may just automatically take the funds from you and apply it to him - I worked in a bank that did this regularly. I refused to have any account with them except the one they gave me and put my check into. the money got transferred to another bank the day it was deposited because they did this. I just didn't want to take any chances.
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's bizarre! I'm so glad we don't have anything like that!

    Here, of course we as parents sign to indicate our kids are opening the account with our knowledge and permission, but it doesn't mean it's our bank account in any way; in no way are the kids' accounts ever tied financially to parental ones. If a kid over-draws, then it's the kid's money and once he's out of money, he's out of money. No 'top-up' from parents. A kid with debts, such as a kid who gets a credit card and spends thousands - the kid is legally responsible and the bank might come after the parents. Usually though, especially for a kid over 16, they pay their own bills unless an adult chooses to bail them out. Mostly the bank cuts it losses if it can't get the money from the kid, especially if the parent is on record as saying they do not give permission for that credit card to be issued.

    We have student bank accounts. They are fee-free and usually begin with the school student account which almost all kids get opened for them when they are 5. Needs parental permission, but the kids learn early on how to operate their own bank account. Usually with only a couple of dollars. difficult child 3 still has his student account, it remains a student account (fee-free) while he is on disability and also a student. Even after he is 18.

    We've set it up so there is no way difficult child 3 can get a credit card. He has a debit card but it operates on his account only, which is only his pension money and nothing else. husband & I are with the same bank, so are the other kids. When difficult child 1 was looking like having to declare bankruptcy, there was absolutely no hint that the creditors would be able to touch even his wife's bank accounts. Any joint accounts were a target, but if she could prove that a certain amount was hers, they couldn't touch that. Rules of bankruptcy - if they owned their own home it was safe Their own car (below a certain value) was safe. Wife's assets - safe. A certain amount of income allowed to cover basic living expenses - safe. Anything else, they could take including contents of bank accounts and investment accounts. difficult child 1 had incurred his debt by writing off his car, so he immediately spent what money he had in his account, replacing it. He was entitled to a car. So when the insurance company tried to get money from him, he simply had nothing for them. And there was absolutely no ay that anybody could have come after us.

    Mind you, if we had begun to pay their bills for them, we could have been in trouble and so could they.

    SUsie, if our banking system was at all likely to take my money to pay my kid's over-spending (especially if they gave him the credit card in the first place) then I would do as you did and change banks, or even start stuffing my money into my mattress.

    But I still want to say to these people who want ANYONE to hand free money to a kid who can't handle it - "Why don't you let him have access to all his disability money, then have him withdraw money to pay his rent and facility bills in cash? If you don't think that is acceptable or appropriate, ten having his account linked to anybody else's so his spending can be out of control with no consequences, is also unacceptable and inappropriate."

    Can't have it both ways.

  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    MArg, your country has applied quite a bit of common sense to the situation - unusual in the US, in my opinion. Heck, the bank I worked with recruited employers to push their employees to open accounts with our bank. The bank then would handle direct depositing payroll to the employees at a lower rate if the accounts were with that bank (charged employers less to put the money in the employee accounts). The companies were told that the accounts were "fee free" to employees and even the first box of checks was free (big draw at the time). What they DIDN'T tell ANYONE - companies or employees - and buried in the teensiest fine print in legalese gobbledygook - was that if the employees wanted to go to a teller to deposit or withdraw money, get a cashier's check, order checks, or do almost anything else including call the bank on the telephone for anything related to the account then the bank would charge a fee of $1 to $3 depending on how long it took. Depositing a check through a teller, a basic check transaction with no cash back cost $2. Almost nothing cost the $1 fee.

    by then they had contracts with the employers that were in effect for a certain amount of time, at least a year if I remember right. Transactions done at bank owned ATMs were free, at other bank's ATms were $1, and online transactions through the bank's website were free. If you used another website to pay an account, like the utility company website, you paid fifty cents. None of this was told to you before hand and it was purposely buried in language that was hard to understand.

    How do I know they buried it on purpose? I worked next to the office of the VPs who set it up. I heard them plotting and planning how to hide these things. it was the nastiest, rottenest thing I had ever heard - how to legally scam a large group of people through their employer under the guise of the employer doing something nice for them. It was sold to employers as a way to make things easier for employees and how to save them money. It was the general tone of the business at the executive level because it was the owner's attitude to everything.

    HEre in the US a person under 18 cannot legally enter a contract. They cannot own anything unless they are legally emancipated. Parents are liable for everything. If your child damages something it comes out of the parents' pockets. Parents cannot force a child over 15-18 yrs to stay at home (age depends on the state) and often cannot even drag them home if they have chosen to leave. Those same parents CAN be sued for support if the child has left even if the parent offers a perfectly good and safe home - even if it is a better home than the one the child ran away to!! This isn't super common, but with help from a crafty lawyer or one who has been snowed by a child's lies, parents can be forced to pay support for a child who has run away from home!! If your child does something you have specifically forbidden you can STILL be forced to pay for it in some cases. There is no reason behind some of it.

    In some states children as young as 12 cannot get a bandaid in school unless parents have signed a permission form ahead of time - and sometiems still has to give verbal consent - but the same child can refuse psychiatric treatment or get an abortion or STD testing or birth control. They can also keep their psychiatric records private from the parents in those situations. Not all states do that but enough do. Few go as young as 12, some are age 14 or 16 and some are 18. A few states, like New York, say a parent cannot force a child under age 21 to leave the family home. Foster kids are out at age 18 with NO support, but children with parents must be allowed to stay at home until age 21 and with an attorney some have forced parents to pay for them to have apartments from age 18 to 21. Those parents have NO control over what the child does but must be responsible for damages the child creates. If the young person serves drugs or alcohol in the apartment the parents pay for, the parents can be held accountable if the other people are hurt or hurt others while under the influence.

    Not all states are nuts like that. Here in OK a child cannot own anything legally or consent to medical treatment before age 18. If they want to have parents kept out of psychiatric treatment or do not want the treatment to happen they can ask a judge to overturn the parents' decision. this is almost never successful in OK - one psychiatric nurse who had been in the field for over 50 years said she has seen only one case ever ruled for the child.
  19. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Marg, at this young age wm's disability goes all toward his support ~ he's not even aware that he has disability. That's a good thing. wm's disability is linked to husband's earnings which gives him a higher amount at this age.

    I've decided not to open a bank account for wm at my bank. wm is sorely disappointed as other banks will not open an account with-o my name "attached" to his. Life goes on.

    As always I appreciate all the wisdom you've given me.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Wise decision Linda. I am appalled at your system that seems to me to work against kids learning to manage their own affairs under controlled conditions. For us - we can set up whatever controls we feel are needed, or not - according to how our kids cope it is between us and the bank, the banks want the kids' business because kids grow up to be account holders without parental controls eventually!

    Something I did (not possible in wm's case, sadly) is we set up difficult child 1's account in his name, but it needed me to sign as well, for any withdrawals. ANY withdrawals. He had a much smaller amount totally under his own control, he had at most $100 to play with there. He learned to budget by often over-spending that amount and then having no money for the next two weeks. Not long before the wedding, we added daughter in law's signature to difficult child 1's account. Now, of course, it is no longer relevant because when he had that car accident while uninsured and was facing bankruptcy, they closed the account entirely and transferred all the money to daughter in law, to avoid having the whole lot taken. By that stage she had contributed to the account also.

    So difficult child 1's finances are now being managed by him and daughter in law. But if it hadn't been for our earlier system, it would not have happened.

    The worst thing you can do for a kid like this, is give them uncontrolled, unlimited access to money. difficult child 1 had to step up and take charge of his own impulses if he wanted to do things like save up for an engagement ring. We put so many brakes on, all technically imposed by the bank and with difficult child 1's own permission. But he needed our cooperation to get the account (even though we were never financially responsible for debts, because he could not incur any without a credit card) so he had to give in to us pretty much.

    We did the same thing for difficult child 3 but he actually automatically has computer access which scares us a bit. We are relying on his naivete and basic honesty, to not go in and change his account parameters online. That is something you need to watch for, for when wm does qualify for his own bank account and gets control of his own disability payments. He is basically going to need an adult somewhere, with power of attorney and also the control to actually work with wm to teach him personal responsibility. From other things you've said about him, that sounds like a tall order.