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I am meeting with my parents attorney, along with my parents to discuss their Medical and financial POA's and advanced directives. I live hundreds of miles away, across many states, and I am anticipating that they will want a local close friend to be their primary POA and for me to be secondary.
Is there really any benefit in this day and age with electronic communications, or is having a local POA important for getting things taken care of in the event my parents fall ill or incapacitated?
This close family friend is also named as co-trustee of my parents trust, and when I asked why, the explanation was because she was local. At a previous visit, the attorney said that as co-trustees of the trust, we could act independently from one another, we didn't need to both agree or both sign everything.
However, I have heard that with POA if we are co-agents, we will have to both sign and agree on everything. So we will have to determine a primary.
I'm not going to lie, I am offended that I wouldn't be chosen as primary unless being local really makes a difference.
I'm already offended that I'm not primary trustee of the trust. I feel that the real reason is because of lack of trust, although I have given no reason. I'm a very responsible adult. They have assured me that it has more to do with distance.
When it comes down to it, I'm going to take care of my parents regardless, because I am that type of person, but I worry that they are making it harder for me!
I have yet to convince them to move to where I live, I've tried.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Just a comment on signatures - back in the early 2000s attorneys were phasing into use of electronic signatures, whereby someone executed a document, it was scanned in and e-mailed to attorneys for another party. That alleviated all the frantic Fed Ex'ing shortly before it was too late for someone to zoom over to the nearest Fed Ex office or drop box to mail a document for signature.

The final documents were assembled, with "executed counterparts", which weren't the original pages but were print-outs of executed pages.

This enabled closings and document execution to occur more rapidly than had been possible when all parties had to sign in front of each other.

Signature pages were prepared for electronic execution and notarization by notaries in the specific jurisdictions.
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Thanks everyone for your input, perhaps I am taking it too personally. I guess I just feel like it's my job to take care of my parents, and I'm used to taking care of things.
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Local POA is more effective. Papers need to be signed. Sending papers back and forth via Fedex is not a solution and it's expensive. Notaries also sometimes need to be brought in, which is another good reason for a local POA. Local banks are much easier to work with in person than long distance because of the amount of scammers out there. Living arrangements...check ins...keeping an eye on things...all better done locally. You are taking this personally and it's business, your parents business. Be glad they are being proactive!
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I vote for the local route. If everything is running smoothly a distant POA can certainly take care of things on-line but if some sort of crisis comes up things could become very difficult. I think of my most recent crisis with my mom. Mom fell in late August. There were all types of medical decidions to be made first at the hospital and then in rehab. Then money came into the picture when I had to move mom from rehab to AL with deposits, signing AL related agreements and even paying some rehab as the Medicare stopped but we had to self pay for a few days until the AL apartment was ready. Then on to buying a new walker, hiring additional caregivers, setting up new pharmacy practices. AL didn't work out - on to finding a NH - more deposits and contracts, multiple trips to the bank to transfer money from one account to another...weeeee! On and on it went until we spent over $25,000 between late August and mid-November. Countless meetings regarding care plans... You get the picture. I can't even fathom how difficult this would have been if I had to re-explain everything to a seperate person who controlled the money and decisions. The frustration if I weren't able to get ahold of the POA when I needed an answer, frustrations if money transfers were delayed - which is common with large amounts- then figuring in bankers hours...forget about it! I'm not saying it would be impossible, just very difficult and very frustrating which are two things a person trying to do their best to look after another adult(s) doesn't need.
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I think the local issue is more important for medical decisions; someone local can observe more than someone distant how a person changes medically, can accompany to the ER if necessary and make decisions on the spot with information from the doctor.

A distant proxy might not be as familiar with the medical situation simply because of the inability to observe it upclose.

However, as to the financial and legal issues, a proxy can handle them remotely, as WindyRidge, one of our posters, is doing for his parents 1200 miles away.

The attorney is right: proxies can be named to act jointly or independently, as set up for my father in both his DPOA, Will and Trust. It was set up that way for my sister as well. That way, either person can make the decision for financial or legal matters. You don't have to determine a primary proxy.

However, given that this person will have financial and legal authority, I think it would be wise for you and her/him to agree on certain ground rules and standards or baselines on handling their finances.

There's no reason why you can't handle checking, bill paying, investments, etc. from a distance. If it comes to a house sale, sale of stocks or disposal of other assets, I think you should be involved and not leave this to a close friend.

It wouldn't hurt to establish some procedures whereby you each divide the responsibilities, and/or provide each other of notifications when you act on behalf of your parents.

I can understand your position; I would feel a bit insulted as well, but I think your parents in their own minds feel the issue of proximity is important.

Do you know this friend at all?
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It is much easier if the POA is local. The POA may have to take care of things like paying bills, banking, and property tax. There may be things like dealing with the companies your parents deal with. It is much easier when these things are local.

My parents named my brother who lives across the country as their financial POA. It was a matter of feeling that business was a man thing. I am the healthcare POA. I guess you could say they trusted me with their life, but not their money. :-/ We got around the problems this caused by adding my name to the bank accounts and I set up their utility accounts to be managed online. I got a special POA to handle the property tax and we file their income tax online. So I do all the functions of the financial POA without having the actual POA.

It was rather funny. My mother's friend lawyer went through extra trouble to get a form for the property tax POA. He didn't want to do the simpler regular POA for me. He said I would have the power to wipe my mother out if he did. What a dummy. I'm on her accounts. If I wanted to wipe her out, I could do that without a POA. (roll eyes) Strange how some people assume the worst in others without knowing their character.

Anyway... if your parents' friend is trustworthy, it would probably be easiest if he/she had the POA. I don't believe that their has to be agreement between POAs for either of them to act on your parents' behalf. It just means that they have given two people the authority to do things for them when they can't.
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