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It is not just a matter of paying bills. If mom is not able to handle any of her financial affairs, including applying for public benefits, creating other financial arrangements such as trusts, or entering into contracts, the DPOA will operate.
Without this power, and if mom's capacity continues to diminish, you will at some point have to go to court and attempt to have yourself appointed her guardian. This does not always happen. A judge could just as easily appoint a professional guardian which means the appointment of a lawyer as well which means good-bye to mom's money.
It may be possible to explain this to her or it may not be. But she has to understand that if you don't have the DPOA her care and well being may become the responsibility of a complete stranger. Now how would she feel about that?
There is a possibility she may not believe you. In that case I would pay the $300 to have a lawyer come to the house and explain it. Better yet. Go to the office. It looks more official and it may (or may not) impress her (in terms of the gravity of the situation).
In the meantime, offer to help her set things up on automatic payment. Virtually all of her recurring expenses can be set up on automatic bank draft so you would really only have to look over her shoulder once or twice per month.
Similarly, you could set up electronic banking so you can keep an eye on her accounts without being intrusive.
Now that I think of it, this is probably the way to start to reduce the conflict. Then a little later move to a discussion about the DPOA, perhaps in another context like "mom, we need to do this so I can protect the house" or something like that (wish I could be more creative on this but it's been a loooooong day).
Other than she doesn't trust you will her finances, what kind of relationship do you have with her? And is the "not trusting" part about thinking you would steal from her, or not confident you are good at handling money? Is she still thinking of the credit card mess she had to straighten out when you were 16? -- lol, sometimes it is hard for parents to see even their middle aged children as grownups. My uncle took care of all the finances and when he died my aunt turned everything over to her brother to handle for her. When he, too, passed away (at 100, dear Aunt has outlived a lot of relatives) she handed it over to her oldest son. I doubt that it would ever have entered her mind to turn it over to her daughter, although they have an excellent relationship. Girls just don't do that kind of work -- better to give it to a man. So it is possible that your mother's decision is not so much about you personally as you are taking it. (Possible, but not certain, of course.)
What kind of care does she need that you are "stuck with"?
Yes, many people see it as a child's duty to assist parents in their old age. There is no duty, I hope, to take abuse or to be taken advantage of. There is no duty to give up one's own life in the process. Where do you think the line should be drawn? What are you willing to do, out of duty and/or out of love, and what to do see as inappropriate demands? When you work that out in your own mind you will be able to set some boundaries and lovingly but firmly stick to them.
Or you could walk away, justifying it on the basis of a decision she made that you don't agree with. That would certainly show her the consequences of not following your advice. How do you think you'd feel about that action a few months from now?
Sincere best wishes as you struggle with these issues.