Duty 4: Keep good records and communicate your actions

You must keep true and complete records of Martina’s money and property as well as each action you take and decision you make as Martina’s agent. Your records need to include money or property you received or paid on Martina’s behalf as well as Martina’s money or property that you managed. Also, you must tell Martina about your actions on her behalf in a timely fashion. Texas law permits Martina to review your records to check up on you.

Practice good recordkeeping habits:

  • Keep a detailed list of everything that you receive or spend for Martina. Records should include the amount of checks written or deposited, dates, reasons, names of people or companies involved, and other important information. 
  • Keep receipts and notes, even for small expenses. For example, write “$50, groceries, ABC Grocery Store, May 2” in your records soon after you spend the money.
  • Avoid paying in cash. Try not to pay Martina’s expenses with cash. Also, try not to use her ATM card to withdraw cash or write checks to “Cash.” If you need to use cash, be sure to keep receipts or notes.
  • Getting paid? To be safe, you should only get paid if Martina’s power of attorney says so. If you are getting paid, be sure that you charge a reasonable fee. Anytime you get paid, you should make sure that you have detailed records showing what work you did, how much time it took, when you did it, and why you did it. 

Can Martina get any benefits? 
Find out if Martina is eligible for any financial or healthcare benefits from an employer or a government. For instance, you could help Martina apply for other private benefits such as employer pensions or disability, or public benefits such as Medicaid, housing assistance,or food stamps (now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP”). Use the National Council on Aging benefits check-up at BenefitsCheckUp.org.

The Area Agency on Aging where Martina lives can help you find information. Find the local Area Agency on Aging through the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (“DADS”) at dads.state.tx.us/contact/aaa.cfm

Medicaid is complicated.
Get legal advice and be very careful about decisions that may affect Martina’s eligibility for Medicaid, especially before you sell Martina’s home or sign anything that affects Martina’s ownership of her home. The Medicaid program provides medical assistance and long-term care to low-income people. For more information, visit hhsc.state.tx.us/medicaid. To apply for Medicaid, visit: yourtexasbenefits.com.