How do I pay my mother's bills while she's in the hospital on a ventilator with declining health?

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Be very careful about touching her bank account, this is where people are most vulnerable. I would just have the bank set up online bill pay from your end and have all of her bills come out automatically. Other than that, don't touch her bank account, and I'll explain why:

When studying about elder financial abuse, there was a very similar situation to yours where this older man ended up in the hospital. While he was admitted, his nephew came by offering to become his POA and pay his bills for him. This was a very expensive mistake on his part for signing POA over to his nephew when he should've already had all of his bills set up from his end for auto bill pay. I'm surprised your mom hasn't yet set this up. These days you actually need auto bill pay in case you become incapacitated because if you don't, you become sitting duck for vultures to rob you blind. In the case of this uncle, he didn't know he was robbed blind until it was too late and his money was gone. If I recall right, I think the money was moved to his nephew's thank account, and I think you know where this goes because once someone takes your money, it's gone unless it can be recovered. I know I'm protected from unpaid bills because I set up all of my bills through auto bill pay long ago but you only want to set them up from your end only. You don't want no one coming in and getting the money out if you can absolutely avoid it because they can rip you off. You really want to avoid having anyone come into your bank account and get their money, don't ever let anyone touch her bank account, especially with federal funds in there. If you ever have a new service that "requires" access to your bank account for payment, request a copy of the bill. If they refuse, turn them in to your state Attorney General's office. I know in Ohio, businesses are required to give you written information and if you think about it, a copy of your bill is that written information. Only shady business would refuse you a copy of the bill so you can set up your bill pay from your end and you don't want to do business with Slim Shady
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I am assuming you r not on her account or have POA. Talk to the bank and see if they can help.
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Is she able to sign a limited DPOA, although on a vent? Even though she may not be able to physically sign her own name, she could still have sufficient capacity to sign a document granting you the power to pay her bills with her money? Call an (her) attorney, don't do this yourself.
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When my mom was in rehab for a few months, I was able to pay most of her bills online with her debt card. She never signed up for any online accounts with her bills, so it was easy to set those up with her account information and my email address. Now most of them are on automatic payments so I don't have to worry about them.
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Speak to the hospital social worker. They encounter this question a lot
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Do you have access to her accounts and the information?
Do you have access to her bank account? Can you logon to her bank and use their online bill payer to pay them?

If your Mom kept this information written down somewhere...you can at least get her mail and pay the bills thought that tool.

I hope your mom can write directions out for you. If not...then collect her mail, and send letters to the creditors to explain.
It might help to ask for a temp waiver based on the situation.
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