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Joint account problems

You are always advising against joint accounts for sons and daughters. But, the costs of caring for senile parents with guardianships, transportations when they live far off, and attorney's fees make it difficult. Why not use joint accounts in this situation? R. N.

Previous warnings against with accounts with parents and grown children were aimed at protecting the parents' assets in case problems beset one or more children. Your case is different and deserves a different approach. Instead of a guardianship that remains under control of a court, you might consider a living trust with a trustee empowered to manage your parents' assets for their care and benefit. Or, a power of attorney would enable you or another to pay bills for the parents' estate rather than you own funds.

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