How to guard client finances against dementia

January 28, 2020

By Sarah Ovaska for The Journal of Accountancy

William Cummings first noticed his father's faltering memory when visiting his dad's out-of-state home. The power had been cut off because of nonpayment while uncashed checks stacked up inside the house.

Cummings, a CPA/PFS and president of the accounting and wealth advisory firm Concierge Financial Organization, moved his father to Tampa, Fla., and became his caretaker in 2011 following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's and other ailments. It touched off a steep learning curve for Cummings, who had been caught off guard by his father's illness despite many years of professional accounting and financial planning experience.

"I was a deer in the headlights," he said. "Google doesn't tell you what you need to know. I learned through my own trial and error in making decisions for my dad."

Cummings's father died in 2014, and the CPA financial planner realized there was a need to help others in similar situations. He wrote a book — It Wasn't on My Calendar: 13 Lessons in Working Through Elder Care and Alzheimer's — and now dedicates a fair portion of his firm's work to elder care services.

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