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The Experience of a Rookie Power of Attorney Series, Topic Three



You need to stop what you are doing and answer this question, “have I prepared a list of user names/passwords for everything I have on the internet?”. I can tell you from my experience in this journey of service for my friend, this was not done. It caused hours upon hours of research, trial and error, trying to find the information to access a great number of accounts.

Think of everything you do on the internet and put in each user’s name and password. Create a list of everything, and I mean everything. Things such as credit cards, insurance (health, car, house, long term care, Medicare, company health care programs), business owner details, memberships (clubs, chambers, rotary, fitness centers), lean holder for your car or house, magazines, newspapers, I Cloud storage, retail shoppes (Dillard’s, Macys, Dicks Sporting, Barnes and Noble). It is difficult for the POA to figure out all the various aspects of someone’s life.

These companies in the above-mentioned examples will not reveal or discuss any details about your loved one or friend’s account(s). They will ask for the POA documents to be sent, then reviewed by the legal department, and then communicated. My friend had over thirteen credit cards, and over 50 memberships, subscriptions, retail accounts, newspapers, and magazines. The list went on and on. Also include auto deductions that pay for electric bills, pool service, insurance plans, credit cards, rent or mortgage payments, etc.

What happened to my friend who was starting dementia in addition to having cancer, was she simply forgot to pay bills and they began to lapse. The electric was turned off in her condo and you can imagine the mess that resulted. The refrigerator provided a very unpleasant odor for the condo. A neighbor was kind enough to clean and throw out everything in the refrigerator, open the windows to air the place out, and return it too normal. Of course, I had the pleasure of spending too much time getting the electric turned back on, including paying a very expensive bill. So many accounts were past due and had to be reconciled, brought current, and in some cases, closed.

As POA you will also need to become a signer on the checking account(s) and potentially other types of accounts, insurance plans, and credit cards etc. The POA will need to reconcile and balance the checkbook and other types of accounts. The POA will need to locate any assets and work with the attorney to help manage and ensure the accounts are properly titled. These financial aspects of the role of POA are extremely important and take time to manage. One piece of advice that I would give to anyone in this role is to be very organized.

We live in a world that is so focused on technology and the internet that we cannot imagine just how much “stuff” we have out there. Yes, the details are in the pudding for sure!


Until next time when I present "who is family" in the series, 




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