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Power of Attorney: Whom to Name and What Powers to Give

13 Comments

how do caregivers cae for a family member whose power of attorney lives 300 miles away ?

excellent article. informative.

Totally agree. We spent the money, got a lawyer whose specialty is estate planning and were nonemotional regarding whom we named. We also plan to be living the closest to the one we feel would act in our best interest and can 'take the heat' from the five other siblings if necessary. His wife has a healthcare professional background, they have always shown financial stability, marital stability, are the closest and easiest to be around emotionally and his profession is healthcare insurance. We also have told him where the key to the safety deposit box is but nothing much else. The attorney will work with him to get things going, should we both unexpectedly pass away. If one of us is left, we are each other's POA for everything. And we are always on the same page as a couple in important areas. We have seen the disaster that denial in our parents bring, or what having some money (a parent/s) can bring to the situation, i.e., that the funds should be spent on the parent's wellbeing but a co-POA thinks of it as 'their money'. Neither my husband or I feel that going the route of 'co' is a good idea and our attorney felt that we were superior planners. We do NOT want to put any of our kids in a bad position with each other and have been extraordinarily fair, but we are realists. We did not work so hard in life to be treated in a less than desirable way.

Macares, my parents changed their PR recently, used to be sibling but they were spending parents money left & right, parents had no idea. I had to show them the cancelled check imsages and add up the total for just the past year. I also told them, this will only continue unless YOU make a change. Also I am the one who does all the driving, doctors, household work, change bedsheets, cook holiday meals for 25+ years with NO help from siblings....so when I spelled it out to folks, on paper, they clearly saw it made no sense whatsoever. They'd only chosen the oldest child because it was Traditional.....but its time to look beyond Traditions when there is someone living close by who is doing 95% of the work. So now I get to do 100% of the work. And parents money will only be going for their own needs.
If you can get your parent to understand you would be a better choice for PR then try to have them change it. You are learning a lot about your sister from her current behavior, which will likely only continue.

I just recently was told by someone that now my sister had my mother sign a letter informing the patient care coordinator. That no one could discuss things with me about my mother. And her living conditions. They could see clearly it wasn't so. Isn't this elderly abuse? I'm with my mother all thev time. My sister is only interested in control. Any one deal with this?

@macares. I don't know. I checked back at the social security Form SSA-787. There is a section 3 that specifically asks if the patient would be able to manage funds in the future. If the Dr checked No, then SS would make her the Rep Payee. My Mom's Dr stated in the explanation that my Mom has severe dementia and continues to decline physically and medically. She needs direct help and supervision with activities of daily living. She is clearly unable to make decisions for both healthcare or managing funds based on doing very poorly on mini mental status testing and progressive worsening of cognition.

After reviewing again, it appears that your sister was able to get this done with SS just based on your mother needed help managing her funds. Remember, your sister will have to answer to Social Security and explain what she did with your mother's funds.

I did speak with my mothers primary dr. He told me he signed paper for my sister. That was only that she needed help with finances. Not that she was incompetent? Anyone hear of this

This is what I was told at the Social Security Office and it was stated in a letter they sent to me that they will require a once a year accounting of what I did with my mothers money. Our Elder Attorney recommended that I write physical checks to create a paper trail (in this digital age, which I think would have been fine) and I save the images of cancelled checks to my computer so that I will have all documentation if they ask for it. Social Security even sent me blank copies of their accounting statements they will require filled out.

Social Security requires a yearly accounting? I've never heard of that. Do you have any more info on that?

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@macares: The only way your sister can contact and redirect your mother's social security payment is through your mother's doctor. The doctor is the only person who can deemed your mother incompetent to handle her own affairs which will make the person, the doctor deems the responsible recipient, the Representative Payee. Social Security will then require a once a year accounting of how the money was spent to protect your mother.