I recommend that EVERYONE have one, but it is not as simple to use as most of us believe. I am embarking on a journey to use my parent’s updated Durable Power of Attorney (POA). We worked with their medical team to ensure we could have them sign a new one. The one they did in 2002 needed to be updated because MANY banks refused to accept it – several stating they would not accept one that was more than 2 years old.
In the interim, my mom and dad helped get me access by adding me to their bank account and then helping me set up online access to several of the big accounts that needed maintenance. I am embarking on a mission to get their accounts cleaned up while I have a fresh POA. I will be sharing with you the different institutions and what they are requiring of me to get access to my parent’s accounts. It takes hours, days, weeks … so I’m thankful this isn’t a critical medical emergency because I know in that case, we would NOT have access to the accounts, information and would have to cover many of their expenses had I not been added to the bank account already.
The first one I will cover is MEDICARE. I simply wanted to update the mailing address so I called from a billing summary. The mail doesn’t forward from the Post Office change of address notice and the letters are being mailed to my parent’s in Assisted Living. Unfortunately, that means I don’t see many of the bills and notices. I called to update the address and after some time navigating the automated phone system — I finally reach a human. I’m told I have to report the change of address to the Social Security Administration (SSA). They just receive the information from SSA. The person on the phone gives me a phone number to call.
When I reach a person at SSA, she is very helpful. She explains to me that I need to come in and meet with them to request to become the “representative” for my parent’s. I can bring the POA, but the most important thing I need to bring is the number to the doctor that will confirm my parent’s are unable to handle their own affairs. She offers to set an appointment and is surprised to find me one next week.
I will share with you how that meeting goes … next Wednesday … starting at 9:04 a.m. Endeavored.