Hello- I have found ourselves in a dilemma that is becoming more and more of an issue. My 77 Year old mother has dementia. She is still very physically functional but losing her mental capabilities. She REFUSES to engage in any discussion about moving out of her home. For now, it's is a tough push because she is physically cabable and does not seem to have physical issues being alone. But, part of her mental stuggle has now developed into inability to use computers OR even manage paper bills that arrive via mail. We have had numerous utilities shut off due to lack of payment. My wife and I have offered to take over the bill paying, but she refuses. She comes from a financial background professionally and gets insulted that we would even suggest such a thing. I have tried calling the utilites but they will not work with me. In some cases, they would not even accept my credit card to pay her bill without a bunch of her information (I am simply trying to give them money---nothing else). I do have POA. It appears to do nothing. Without her consent, the utilties don't care about my POA. I simply want to be sure that her bills are paid and her utilities do not continue to get turned off. She claims that they are not sending her bills. She does not live locally to us or I would just go a and grab her bills. But friends who have visited have claimed that the bills are just sitting there and she has lost ability to manage them. Any suggestions on how I can convince the various vendors to allow me to step in and pay? Some have allowed me to add my number as an emergency contact if there is an issue (it has helped some). Others have not....without her permission....which she refuses to give. Thanks for any advice.

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I received POA for my aunt and several different companies would not accept. They want you to go to court and get a custodian POA from judge.
Luckily my aunt was well enough to go to Bank - BofA will let a POA make deposits and order and write checks but would not let me as POA do online banking. She told Bank she wanted the online banking and I was able to set up and over see her account and co-partner with her.
As far as other accounts, you need the bills and her personal info to change online.
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If she's getting paper bills, you can go online and set up the accounts for paperless billing. Create the username and password yourself. Then you'll know what is due and when and can pay it. Just an idea-that's what I did. Took quite a while to get it all figured out, but at least now all the bills are paid. And like flyer said, maybe you could do an address change from her to yours. Beats her sitting in the dark due to no electricity from lack of payment!
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SoninPA, ah, finding unpaid bills in the wastebasket or recycling bin? That is how I found out that my Dad wasn't paying attention to these items.

I asked Dad if he would mind if I got the bills and paid them from his checking account. He was more then happy. So I took home the bills I found, went into each website and changed over the "billing address" to my own billing address.

I already had a joint checking account with Dad which I used only for paying bills. Not once did I need to show a Power of Attorney. Guess it all depends on the utility company.
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It seems that utilities would be gracious enough to help you in what is not an uncommon situation! Especially since you have POA! What is their reason for refusing? Is the POA very old? Has she revoked the POA? Maybe she needs to prepare a new one. If the POA is recent and not revoked and gives you power to act for her in financial transactions, they have no legal standing to refuse you.
That said, all the utilities I've dealt with have websites where you can set up an account, view and pay bills, etc. It would require information probably found on her bills--account number, etc. If you can't visit her and obtain that, perhaps visiting friends could snap cell phone photos of the bills they see lying around and email you the photos.
I have my in-laws' bills all set up so the balance is charged on the due date to their credit card. Then the credit card is automatically paid monthly from their bank account. Maybe your mom would agree to let you set that up. She will still get the bills for review-- she just won't have to bother with writing checks, etc. Her bills would be paid on time, and (this may be an incentive for her) she can get rebate points or airline miles or whatever on her credit card. If she claims that she's not getting the bills, this could reassure her that her services won't be shut off just because the post office lost her mail.
I like Rainmom's suggestion about "this is a small thing I want to do for you." It's so much more loving and less demeaning than insinuating that she is incapable.

You really need to find out what the problem is with the POA and get that resolved before she becomes incompetent--either mentally or physically. That can develop into a bigger problem than shut-off utilities.
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BioBee Feb 2019
How do you get access to your parent's accounts online? Do you have usernames and passwords? My dad doesn't remember any of his passwords after his stoke. If I only had those usernames and passwords and wouldn't have to go through the ordeal of sending in my POA to all his creditors, investment companies etc. which entails completing their forms, getting guaranteed bank signature and/ or notary signatures etc. only to discover I still don't have access and additional documentation with more notarized signatures are required. All this just so I can change an address or pay a bill. He is incapacitated and can't give verbal consent. The companies themselves say it is a hassle and to just go online and change the address or pay the bill but when I tell them I can't because I don't have usernames or passwords then they say, well... that's a problem.
I had to basically grab Mother’s bills when she wasn’t looking. I went to their websites and set up autopay. I was able to do that for most of her bills, and for the others, she fortunately allowed me to take them over. Technology is our friend when dealing with our older and/or disabled family.
Best of luck!
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Finally! A situation with elderly parents where I can consider myself lucky - instead of commiserating.

Sorry. I know that doesn’t help you.

Both my my parents have since passed. However -

When I took over the bills it initially occurred because both my parents had medical crises at the same time and were both in rehab.

I would grab their mail to take to them, separate out the bills - then with my dad (thankfully they were in different rehabs - but that’s another thread) I would write out the checks and then one right after the other, I would have him sign the checks - telling him what each was for. This was before I had DPOA.

Once my father returned home - he was still not 100% - so we continued the practice - with him putting all the bills in a tray until I made my weekly visit. At which time we did our bill routine.

Now - since you don’t live near your mother I realize this won’t work for you. BUT - the thing was - how I got my father to let me continue paying the bills AFTER he felt he was up to it.

I played the guilt card. Yes - that little number can work both ways! I really played a trip on him about how after everything he has done for me all my life I NEEDED to feel like I was doing something for him. Even if he didn’t need me (he did) to do this for him - it made me feel good to do this tiny thing (minimizing his loss of responsibility) for him. And we continued on like that up until his death. Having him still sign the checks let him feel he still had control AND HE was doing ME a favor!

Could something like that work with your mom. Sometimes they know deep down that they can’t do it any longer but their pride - their position as the parent, etc. won’t let them admit they need help.

After daddy passed I got a DPOA for my mother - and she was happy to let me do EVERYTHING- more than I wanted to at times. Mom had let my dad take care of their finances for 62 years - she sure didn’t want to start doing the finances once he was gone. Soooo - no argument there.

Lucky me.
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Oh my. Do we have the same mother? Lol. Here's what I have learned, if it helps. I live in the same town as my mother so it may be different. Took me the longest to figure this out tho. By the way, my mother was the Vice President of a bank, back in the day. So you can imagine. Got to a point, after she gave away so much of her money, etc. that my niece and I figured this out-she just can't manage. Her memory is so just gone. Does one thing, loaning money, ten minutes later, doesn't even remember doing that. If not you, then someone needs to take over. It's so difficult to do. At one point, I was so overwhelmed, I left my car running in the parking lot at Walgreens when I went in to get her prescriptions! Anyway, the quicker you take action, the better. Whatever that action may be. My suggestion? Don't let it just gets worse.
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