Does the Durable Power of Attorney Make Assisting a Loved One Easier?

I recommend that EVERYONE have one, but it is not as simple to use as most of us believe. medicarecaredI am embarking on a journey to use my parent’s updated Durable Power of Attorney (POA). We worked with their medical team to ensure we could have them sign a new one. The one they did in 2002 needed to be updated because MANY banks refused to accept it – several stating they would not accept one that was more than 2 years old. 

In the interim, my mom and dad helped get me access by adding me to their bank account and then helping me set up online access to several of the big accounts that needed maintenance. I am embarking on a mission to get their accounts cleaned up while I have a fresh POA. I will be sharing with you the different institutions and what they are requiring of me to get access to my parent’s accounts. It takes hours, days, weeks … so I’m thankful this isn’t a critical medical emergency because I know in that case, we would NOT have access to the accounts, information and would have to cover many of their expenses had I not been added to the bank account already.

The first one I will cover is MEDICARE. I simply wanted to update the mailing address so I called from a billing summary. The mail doesn’t forward from the Post Office change of address notice and the letters are being mailed to my parent’s in Assisted Living. Unfortunately, that means I don’t see many of the bills and notices. I called to update the address and after some time navigating the automated phone system — I finally reach a human. I’m told I have to report the change of address to the Social Security Administration (SSA). They just receive the information from SSA. The person on the phone gives me a phone number to call.

When I reach a person at SSA, she is very helpful. She explains to me that I need to come in and meet with them to request to become the “representative” for my parent’s. I can bring the POA, but the most important thing I need to bring is the number to the doctor that will confirm my parent’s are unable to handle their own affairs. She offers to set an appointment and is surprised to find me one next week.

I will share with you how that meeting goes … next Wednesday … starting at 9:04 a.m. Endeavored.

12 thoughts on “Does the Durable Power of Attorney Make Assisting a Loved One Easier?

  1. I did the same for dad after mom died. It was pretty straight forward and now all his social security checks are sent to a special account where he is the beneficiary and I am the personal representative for him. Then I am also autmatically the one Medicare talks to for him also. As you saw, they don’t really care or accept the durable power of attorney.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I hope to be able to give everyone a “How To” in case they need to go through this process. Each organization seems to handle this issue very differently.

  2. Hi Kay,
    You are doing a great job of unearthing the many flaws in the system, and in the pathway towards having to take over the care of someone we love, and then reporting on them. You then take the next step of helping others navigate this treacherous road. Well done.
    With love and hope,

  3. Hi,

    I am the daughter here from Baltimore assisting with finding care for my parents who live in Seattle –
    I have learned so much. Finally with online access to numerous residental group homes I found one that I thought the best for my mother. But before I could move her my father who has brain damage due to lack of oxygen from heart failure 2 years ago (suffers from impluse control, irrationality – the list goes on) attacked my mother. The police made a decision for an involuntary commit ( he is at least receiving care for an extremely infectious foot and leg) He is also going through the court system to fight the mental hospital hold on him. In the mean time I could calmly pack my mothers clothes and have her and the oxygen machine set up for her. She has been there almost 4 weeks but she is not doing well. Anytime somebody comes to visit her she would start packing to leave. She is angry and very confused. Her doctor changed her med to decrease irratibility but unfortunately for now for the sake of the other clients nobody can visit her – it just causes utter cauos. So I have met with an attorney and have decided to have a guardianship set up for her – I am in poor health -kidney disease – and I want to know that the paper work will go forward for medicad to pay for care when her money runs out. As for my father – the state will take over – he receives all of the income – pensions, SS and now I found he qualifies for VA benefits.

    BTW – any update of a POA requires that the individuals have to be found mentally competent to sign.


    1. Hi Vickie – Thank you for the note. It’s helpful to hear all the other types of issues other adult children are facing. Yes, had we waited much longer, we would not have been able to update the POA. Thankfully, one of the doctor’s brought this up and suggested we get it done ASAP. Given all the other things going on, we didn’t think it was an option.

      Best of luck to you on the next steps in front of you.

  4. I did the POA with my mom but quickly found out it is not accepted everywhere. When I needed info from my mom’s bank for tax purposes, despite the POA being on file at her local branch and my name being on the account as a beneficiary, the phone rep said my mom had to call. I finally got the local branch’s phone number and they gave me the info. POA is important to have, but you may still have to go through a few hoops.

    1. Yes. I’m working my way through this now with several institutions. It would be nice if they would at least have similar policies. They are all over the place and put the burden on us to prove our POA is worthy of being acknowledged. FRUSTRATED!

  5. I’m really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A handful of my blog audience have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

    1. Hello – I use WordPress and have worked with a developer to manage this for me and make it work with varied web browsers. Are you using a blogging product? Most should manage this as part of the design in the template selected.

      I hope that helps. Kay

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