About that bookkeeper

It is a bookkeeper for my aged father. The lawyer thinks he should have one as it is difficult to act financially for someone or help them with finances from out of state, you need to be present. I know this from experience, and can give details. I have qualms about the idea of my brother or myself trying to take over and was completely convinced by the lawyer that this is a good idea.

Everyone in the legal and financial professions I have asked about this also says this lawyer is right. The reason I understand this is that I have over the past four years helped my parents with some financial operations. I have learned how very important it is to be physically present, for legal reasons, when you are acting for someone else. I also understand how complicated it would be to set us up so as to be able to work legally from a distance.

My brother thinks the bookkeeper is too expensive but she is just over half the cost of the ones in San Francisco and here, and she does not have to put in many hours. My father can in fact afford her. It is arguably one of the most important services he could be paying for in terms of avoiding costly and scary screw-ups, and peace of mind for all of us. I would also be a lot more comfortable having a professional with full professional qualifications doing this, and someone outside the family.

In addition, the $100 per hour can be deducted as the cost of taxes and/or as a cost of Dad’s medical condition. And it will only amount to about $200 per month. To be stingy about this is to be penny wise and pound foolish. It is true that for the amount to be spent on the accountant my brother could fly in every three months or so ($300 flight, $300 lodging) but wouldn’t it be nice to spend that visit doing something other than banking? After all, there will be other things Dad needs–help shopping for clothes and other items, encouragement and support in health events. If we do not have to manage finances, we will have more time and energy to help with these things and also, just to have fun with Dad.

What would in fact be expensive is if Dad were ever declared incompetent and assigned a curator, or if a bank officer were hired to manage his affairs. The point of having the bookkeeper is to avoid both situations. The bookkeeper is not taking over, but merely helping, so Dad retains control of his affairs and my brother and I are both aware of what is happening and able to ask questions.

The bookkeeper would put accounts in QuickBooks so that we could all see them online, and would help us learn to use Quickbooks ourselves. I would like to suggest we at least go ahead for a trial period to see how much it would actually cost once the sustem is up and running with a bookkeeper. She will be able to provide an estimate and cost out both the set-up and maintenance.


2 thoughts on “About that bookkeeper

  1. According to my advisors, cost of bookkeeper should be tax deductible, either as part of tax preparation or as part of costs of state of health. I have to keep emphasizing this. Also, could ask attorney to write 2-3 sentences on why bookkeeper is necessary from her p.o.v.

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