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Do you have power of attorney for parents?
Old 12-17-2014, 08:20 AM   #1
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Do you have power of attorney for parents?

My parents are getting on in age - at some point it may come to me getting durable power of attorney to be able to handle their financial affairs.

How many here are in that situation now, and how 'involved' are you with the day the day oversight of accounts, expenses, taxes, payments, etc?


Or have you found someway to have an outside entity cover that?
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:35 AM   #2
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DW had a POA for her parents. They named each other as their POA but both listed my DW to be the alternate. Both of her parents were medically declared to not be capable of managing their affairs within a couple of months of each other. It required a single letter from a doctor for each one stating that. They weren't hard to get.

Your parents should have already identified (and informed) the people who will have their POA and signed the documents. It's typically something done when doing a will. If someone doesn't have this, it will be a totall living hell for whomever attempts to manage their affairs. It could even require very expensive custody hearings to try to get the legal authority to do what needs to be done.

When your parents can't manage their own affairs, someone will have to do everything they do now. If they are in some assisted living or nursing facility, someone needs access to their assets to pay the bills.

If your parents haven't assigned a POA to someone other than their spouse, they need to do it now! Sooner rather than later.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:46 AM   #3
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Yes, but I am also a joint owner on my Mom's bank accounts. Since I retired I have become more involved and am transitioning to setting up a lot of her bills as auto-pays.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:00 AM   #4
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My parents put my sister and me on their POAs when they were still relatively young (60s as I recall). When my dad became ill, they also put us as co-owners on their checking account. Made things much easier for us, especially since Mom didn't really want to deal with those details after he died.

Also make sure you are on their medical POA - because of HIPAA, you may not be allowed information or involvement in their medical care without it.


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Old 12-17-2014, 09:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BBQ-Nut View Post
My parents are getting on in age - at some point it may come to me getting durable power of attorney to be able to handle their financial affairs.

How many here are in that situation now, and how 'involved' are you with the day the day oversight of accounts, expenses, taxes, payments, etc?


Or have you found someway to have an outside entity cover that?
I manage all my mother's accounts and financial affairs, am the trustee for her trust and have signature authority (but not joint ownership) on all her non-trust accounts. I also have POA on all matters except health (my brother has that) but have the primary role in helping her with all health matters. He is executor for her will and scrutinizes my financial activities (by design, my suggestion).

This developed steadily over a decade, one small step at a time, and there were many, many conversations over that period along the lines of "how would you want this to be handled" and "if this happens, what do you want me to do?".

When her need for help became clear, we were fortunate to have some of the pieces in place, which has made it much easier to avoid some of the issues others have mentioned in threads on helping family members.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:10 AM   #6
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How can you have signatory authority and not be a joint owner? AFAIK around here they are one and the same, but it seems that would be ideal in that one could help manage their parents money but not have it at risk if you should get sued.

I'm less worried about my Mom's assets coming into play should I get sued because I have a sizeable umbrella, but I can see it would be handy in some situations.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:23 AM   #7
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How can you have signatory authority and not be a joint owner? AFAIK around here they are one and the same, but it seems that would be ideal in that one could help manage their parents money but not have it at risk if you should get sued.

I'm less worried about my Mom's assets coming into play should I get sued because I have a sizeable umbrella, but I can see it would be handy in some situations.
Have this at all her financial accounts and credit cards. It's a simple process, one form (needs to be notarized), which authorizes my signature and authority to transact but gives me no ownership rights. The financial institutions are commonly mentioned here. It's pretty common, just ask your bank.
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Do you have power of attorney for parents?
Old 12-17-2014, 09:24 AM   #8
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Do you have power of attorney for parents?

Once the documents (POA, health care POA, will, trust) were in place and access to bank accounts established, the largest use of time for me has been locating assets of my parents. Your kids don't necessarily know where everything is and eventually they get turned over to the state as unclaimed property, which can be time-consuming to locate.

It helps to have statements (or duplicates) mailed to you.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:38 AM   #9
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I was POA and MPOA for my Mom, but didn't have any involvement in her financial affairs until she went into the hospital. Then I started paying her bills and depositing her checks. It wasn't until she died that I started looking at her accounts and policies. It hasn't been too bad, except for the USAA stuff. They've been sticklers, and since I'm not eligible I can't just continue the policies, although they'd be willing to put us into some non-member policies. They've already cancelled the flood insurance out from under us, no options given for continuing that one.

It would have been nice to have a better understanding of her finances before she died. If nothing else, I would have liked to help her have a better life. But we just didn't have that kind of relationship.

I agree with the other posters, get them to set you up asap.Especially the Medical POA. I got quite a few calls from the doctors for permission to do this or that procedure on her, and I'm not sure what would have happened had I not had the power. I suspect she'd have been subjected to many more useless, painful, and expensive procedures if she hadn't had someone named. I had to turn down a number of things they wanted to try but admitted probably wouldn't improve her chances or her quality of life.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:46 AM   #10
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My parents had POA's in place. Plus an up to date will. Their finances were organized and they had pre-arranged their funeral arrangements.

We viewed this as a gift of love. We have done the same/or will be doing the same for our loved ones.

It also substantially reduced, almost eliminated, the legal bills and the death taxes (probate) that we have in our jurisdiction.
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Do you have power of attorney for parents?
Old 12-17-2014, 10:50 AM   #11
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Do you have power of attorney for parents?

No.

My father died of cancer at age 70 in 1981. There was no need for his children to have power of attorney or involvement in health care decisions because his wish was for my mother to make all decisions.

My mother died of old age in 2007 at age 98. My brother had power of attorney. As far as I know, he never used it for financial oversight because luckily she never had Alzheimer's or any sort of dementia. With her permision my brother looked over her financial accounts and investments whenever he visited her (2-3 visits/year). He would make recommendations but she would make any actual changes herself.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:26 AM   #12
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I had POA for my recently deceased uncle. Good thing. He quickly developed several conditions that impaired his thinking and ability to pay his bills, monitor his investments, work with insurance companies and so on.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:28 AM   #13
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Thankfully my mother was proactive with POA (finances and medical) as well as executor (me). We were never close, in fact had a volatile relationship for many years. However, she felt I was the most reliable and had the most common sense (middle child with four siblings). I'm so thankful she did this as it required me to be more involved in her life the past five years as she aged and became less independent. I visited her weekly the past two years and became familiar with her medical condition, bills and assets as well has helped to mend our relationship. She passed away unexpectedly this summer and I've been working through the probate process. It has been fairly routine as a result of being involved and informed. I do feel this is the best gift she could have left us.
However, DH is the executor for his parents and they are now showing signs of less independence (his mom is showing signs of dementia). He has watched me dealing with my mom the past few years and is trying to get his parents to do POA including medical. His father is refusing at this point due to stubbornness. However, he doesn't turn down DH doing maintenance around their place. I feel this is very selfish as they have real estate properties and just a general Will. This is a family that does not communicate. I have big concerns that this will end up being a mess. I'm so thankful my parents dealt with planning before it became a. necessity. Truly a gift.



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Old 12-17-2014, 11:33 AM   #14
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My parents set of wills and POAs in 2006. Mom died in 2011, Dad broke his hip 2 weeks later and very soon after that asked me to help with his finances. It was very handy that he had the paperwork already set up, he just had to tell me to go get "The Box" in his closet.

I am POA for my Dad. I am not a co-owner on his bank account, but I am an authorized signer as POA. Both of us are on the checks-

Dad's name
My name, POA

I've been paying all his bills for a couple of years and try to have billing statements sent to me when possible. He has an accountant who has been doing his taxes for many years so I prepare statements of his medical expenses, etc for him to send to his accountant. I pay bills online if I can, if not I mail a check.

My older sister lives much closer to him but he was specific that I'm the POA for financial things, not her, as she has a looooong history of poor financial decisions.

My sister and I are both added on his bank account as Transfer On Death. I'm the executor of the will and this designation keeps the bank account out of probate. When he dies, I assume I can just pay for expenses and then split the remainder with my sister, but I think I better check with a lawyer before doing anything besides paying for final expenses.

I have found it handy to have his POA docs scanned on my computer so that I can just print them off if someone needs a copy. I just did this for one of his doctors. Also, his one credit card that he keeps had a fraud alert and they wouldn't talk to me unless they had a copy of the POA.

He also has a POA for health care that lists both my sister and I.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:43 AM   #15
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Unfortunately DD passed on last month so DM decided to set up POA for me and DW. I am also going to be added to the investment and bank accounts in the next few months. I also consider this a gift from her because it will make managing her affairs much easier when the time comes to use it.

On a side note, both her RIA and attorney warned her about the power this gave us and the danger of us stealing her money. Of course I never even thought about that angle, but unfortunately this has been an issue in her area with some children given that power. That's very sad.

I actually thanked both for taking the time to review that with her. It demonstrated that they were concerned about her and it helped her make an informed decision about what access she wanted us to have.


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Old 12-17-2014, 11:57 AM   #16
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Check your state law. In many places a general / financial power of attorney can be made "springing", that is the authority is only valid if you, the person receiving the authority, can show that the person who signed the document is, at the time you want to use it, already incapacitated. If applicable law allows a springing power, my opinion is I'd rather have it signed now, than one moment after something bad happens, and instead of being able to act immediately, there needs to be a court hearing to have a guardian, or whatever the local system calls the person taking care of things for the one who no longer can.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:02 PM   #17
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Both of my parents are long deceased and neither my sister nor I ever had POA. My only child is my POA and durable POA and also the executor of my will. He is joint owner with right of survivorship on my only checking account and I have taken care to name him TOD on my non-qualified accounts as well as beneficiary on my qualified accounts. In a few years if I am sure I will stay in this house, I might transfer the house to him and just continue pay the upkeep and bills.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:04 PM   #18
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I had POA for my mother while she was being treated for cancer and was too ill to manage her finances and household. Because my parents married at 19, my father had never had to concern himself with bill paying, so my wife and I stepped in to help.

Once my mother passed, I executed a POA with my father and we continue to manage most of his month-to-month bills, etc. It's a PITA for my wife, who does most of the work. I'm afraid that if I let the my father manage himself, he'd be broke and homeless within a year. He simply has no clue what it costs to live these days, and has no interest in learning. At least he knows how to cook and do laundry. :-)
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:21 PM   #19
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My sister had POA for my dad - as backup to my step mom. She was also trustee of his trust. (They had separate trusts since they both had adult children to consider, when they met in their senior years.)

My husbands mom had POA for my husbands dad - but refused to give anyone POA for her. Unfortunately, dementia became an issue - and it impacted her ability to properly care for FIL - but she did not accept that. Social services got involved and forced the guardianship issue. (It was a family member or the state - those were our options.) My husband went through the legal court procedings of having his mother and father declared incompetant. Very ugly situation, but medically and legally necessary. FIL had much better quality of care his final year because of this. He handles all of MILs finances - and has to make reports to the state every year. He also reports to his siblings, and tries to make all big decision be made with consensus. MIL is not at all happy about the guardianship, but it was unfortunately necessary.

This would not have been necessary if MIL had ceded to a POA while she still had her mental capacity. Very sad situation.

I love my MIL, but this is one aspect of her otherwise admirable personality that I will not repeat.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:09 PM   #20
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We had to have POA for my parents after my mom got Alzheimer's and my dad got to the point that he was feeling too ill to keep up with paying bills. Plus at that point, they were running out of money and we children had to contribute towards expenses and sell some of their antiques for them to stay in their home with a caregiver. I'm happy we could help take that worry from them, but it worried us (the children) plenty!
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