How a Family Member Acting as a Trustee for His Niece Found Relief and Support with True Link
For every person who receives a True Link Visa® Prepaid Card, there is a unique story of how a family or professional uses our tools to enhance quality of life. Recently, we learned of a family trustee who discovered True Link from an online community of people who have family members with disabilities. Here’s his story:
A family member’s rocky start as a trustee
Brad hadn’t planned on acting as a trustee for his niece’s trust. But just before his sister Susan passed away, she asked him to take on the role for her daughter (whom we’ll call Natalie). Brad was reluctant, not knowing exactly what this role entailed, but promised his sister he would do his best. Unfortunately, Brad ran into some difficulties when he stepped into his role as trustee.
Natalie struggles with mental health challenges and substance abuse disorders and during harder weeks, can be inclined to spend most of her money on alcohol. Her mom, Susan, knew this would be a challenge and had worked with a knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney to draft a trust agreement with clear parameters on how funds could be used. Natalie had a hard time accepting the new boundaries placed around her spending. She was used to her mom buying what she needed and handing over her credit card with no resistance, so it was difficult for Brad to introduce a new process for requesting money and making purchases.
Brad and Natalie’s relationship quickly became tense, Natalie was frustrated that she had to jump through hoops to pay for routine, everyday purchases — such as a haircut or getting a ride to a friend’s house — and Brad was overwhelmed by how often Natalie was texting and calling him for money. He found it difficult to navigate this arrangement, as he wanted to help his niece the best he could, but he knew he needed to maintain trust requirements which were put in place to protect Natalie and her financial wellbeing.
An online community offered a recommendation
In search of support from those in similar situations as his, Brad found an online group for people who care for loved ones with mental health challenges. One day, he came across a post from someone who got their son a True Link Visa Card. The mom talked about how the Visa card made it easier for her son to buy what he needed on his own without her having to approve every single purchase. To Brad’s surprise, this sounded exactly like something that could help him address the challenges he was facing as a trustee for his niece.
How True Link offered some relief
After learning more about True Link and how the Visa card was used by other family members who were trustees, Brad decided to order a Visa card for Natalie. And while True Link doesn’t address all of Brad’s challenges as a trustee, it has made it easier to:
Get Natalie what she needs without all the back and forth
Before True Link, Natalie was calling Brad nonstop when she needed money. Now, she knows that Brad loads $100 on her True Link Visa Card every Monday and that she can use the Visa card at her local salon, thrift store, and for ride-shares via Lyft. If Natalie needs to make a bigger purchase — like buying a new winter coat — Brad can temporarily adjust the settings and send more money to her Visa card without needing to go to the bank or accompany Natalie to the store.
Help protect against harmful spending
Because Natalie struggles with substance abuse, her mother stipulated in the trust that she not receive any funds in cash. In addition to blocking ATM withdrawals and cash back transactions using the True Link Spending Monitor, Brad can block trouble spots like bars and liquor stores. He can also set up alerts that notify him whenever Natalie uses her Visa card or if she tries to make a purchase from a blocked merchant or store type. This helps alleviate some of Brad’s worries and helps protect Natalie against some harmful spending habits.
Maintain better family relationships
Brad wants the best for his niece Natalie, but his role as a family trustee has created a lot of tension between them. Now that they have True Link, requests for money and frustrations about finances no longer dominate their interactions. And while their relationship still has its challenges, Brad appreciates the moments when he’s able to connect with Natalie in a more meaningful way.
Oftentimes, the responsibility of being a trustee for a loved one can be overwhelming, as it can be difficult to balance wanting to help them while keeping their best interest in mind. Using True Link has helped Brad feel better equipped to manage his role as Natalie’s trustee. There are still hard days, but True Link has given Brad a little more breathing room to support Natalie as best as he can.