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I finally gave up on trying to figure out what my sister is up to in regard to mom. She texted me today that she is primary medical POA and I'm secondary. She also texted that I can handle her medical bills, nevermind I have no access to her money to pay them. I have nothing proving I'm on the POA and my limited understanding is that secondary can only take over if the primary cannot do her job. I told her as much and she claims that "under the concept of apparent authority you can act." I don't trust that, but I will call mom's insurance tomorrow and inquire. I assume they need more than just a phone call....?

You and/or your sister need to have your name(s) on your mother's bank account(s). Otherwise, problems can and will happen. When I became POA (medical and financial) for my parents years ago, we immediately had my name added to their checking account. Now I can pay bills, ask questions, get info, with no problems at all. Had my name not been on the account, I shudder to think the issues I'd have run into over the years. These billing companies act like they want a blood sample in order to take MONEY from a person trying to pay a bill, for petesake! And good luck trying to deal with Medicare and secondary insurance even WITH your name on the account! UGH. My mother has advanced dementia and is 94, yet Medicare needs to speak with HER on the phone, not me! Needless to say, I avoid calling Medicare and go straight to Anthem and even then it's like pulling teeth to get a question answered as POA and not the patient :( I will say, neither MC nor Anthem has ever asked me for a copy of my notarized POA over the years.

I have no idea what your sister is up to, but if it were me, I'd let HER handle ALL of the headache of paperwork and keep her primary POA intact with ALL OF IT! You can be the daughter who stays out of the legal end of things and is just the one who visits with mom and brings her small gifts and the beauty of your time & presence.

Good luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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As said, being Medical POA has nothing to do with paying bills. Your responsibility is to carry out Moms wishes when she no longer can and to make informed decisions concerning her care. It does not mean you pay her Medical Bills. Anyone assigned as a POA is not responsible to personally pay the principles bills. If the principle doesn't have the money, bills don't get paid. And I think Secondary means you take over if sister can't perform the duties.

I hope someone has financial because its that person who handles the bills. All bills. I was already on my Moms accounts but my financial POA was on file with the bank.

You need to explain to sister that you think she is confused in what a Medical POAs responsibilities are. That she needs to clarify her responsibilities with the lawyer who drew up the POA. That you have been made aware that Secondary only steps in when she can no longer handle the responsibility. Hopefully, she is on Moms accounts, if no financial POA, because as such she can continue to pay Moms bills. Tell her at this point you can do nothing. For one thing, you have no proof, to show anyone, that you are Medical POA. And like said, you can revoke the assignment.

Too many people are misinformed to what Financial and Medical POAs responsibilities are. This is why when assigned that person should be present and explained this and sign that they fully understand the responsibilities and they except the assignment. Unless things have changed in my state in the last 10 yrs, this is not done.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Since you are named as secondary (maybe) you should be entitled to a copy of the documents, then you can read for yourself what they actually say. My mom's POA was worded so that we could act "jointly and severally" (either or), although I actually did it all. It may be a little work at the start but if sister sets up most bills as autopay all she needs to do in the future is monitor them. Setting up online banking could allow anyone who has the passwords to pay the bills. What you CAN do is help with phone calls and research that doesn't require a POA - for instance coming to this forum with questions!
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Reply to cwillie
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Medical POA is not the same as a financial POA. It appears neither of you has the authority to pay her bills. Medical POA is only for making medical decisions.

You need to see the actual signed and notarized paperwork.
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Reply to MJ1929
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I think you are correct about secondary POA. Did you agree to be POA - to act as POA? If you did not agree, then do you want to accept and POA type responsibilities. Your sister's idea of "apparent authority" may or may not be correct BUT why would you want to even accept responsibility when you have no access to money? You are not financial POA - how would you pay bills?? Sounds bizarre. What is your sister's problem? She wants you to do the work for her? What sort of apparent authority is involved here? To act how? I've learned that it is a very very bad idea to accept responsibility without the necessary power to accomplish the task.
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Reply to rovana
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MaryFromFlorida Apr 7, 2021
Thanks for you reply. I'm not confused over medical vs. financial POA as some seem to think. Sis is telling me there is apparent authority, which is what confuses me. Does this apparent authority give me permission to pay her bills? I think not, and that seems to be the consensus. I think it makes sense that sis is primary for medical POA since mom now lives with her, but I don't know if there really is a POA. Mom has late stage dementia, so I would think it'd have to go through to a judge and would take time to process. I asked for a copy and she said she'll check the website tomorrow (whatever that means). All of our communications have been through text. Also, she is not actually expecting me to use my money for moms bills. We both have access to her online account even though we are not on her account. I've been paying her bills for her, which she gave me permission to do about 3 years ago.... Maybe that's the apparent authority? I called the hospital and left a message for the case worker who has been helping sis with all this, but I haven't received a call back yet. Sis is a lawyer so I find it difficult to believe she is confused over the different types of POA. I think she is purposely trying to confuse and mislead me. She also says the estate, there is no will that I know of, can be settled without going through probate, which I know is not true. I don't trust my sister and she likes to take control of everything, so I'm a little paranoid as to why she keeps giving me information that doesn't make sense.
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