I suppose we should be grateful that it isn’t easy to make changes to our elder’s finances. However, I think that some of these institutions have gone way too far. I won’t name any names, but here is what we’ve had to do. Hopefully, it will allow you to avoid the mess we’re dealing with.
- 1) Send in the POA immediately: While the durable power of attorney document does have private information in it, there isn’t as much as found in a living trust. There will definitely be other documents needed, but this is the most important.
- 2) Be prepared to send the living trust: The good news is that not all institutions want such a large document clogging up their fax lines. The bad news is that some do. Make sure that the fax machine this document goes to is secure; you don’t want just anyone to be able to glance through it.
- 3) They may not give you complete information: Two institutions in particular have been both bad and ugly in this fashion. If you find yourself getting the runaround, ask for the supervisor. If it still happens, keep going up the line until you get someone who will tell you exactly what to do.
- 4) Call them…a lot: They won’t call you, and if they don’t have the right documents, that week you waited is in vain. If you have to, call them daily. Don’t expect to get any snail-mail letters, either. Those will be sent to the elder and you may never see them.
- 5) Call the bank: One credit card company has insisted that we call the bank to find out if we’ve even sent the right documents. This is an unacceptable extreme, but it has to be dealt with. Fortunately, the bank in question is familiar with the credit card company and is willing to assist us.
- 6) Call the lawyer: This is a last resort thing, but it has been necessary with one institution. The lawyer that drew up both the trust and the POA has had to step in at least once and may have to do so again…with the same company.
- 7) Be grateful for up front information: Two credit card companies were upfront with what was needed, and apologized that they had such “stringent” requirements. They only required the POA. When I thanked them for being upfront, they were surprised. Most people get angry when even that small amount of information is required.
Thus far, these are the things we’ve had to do in order to get our elder’s financial house in order. There are a lot of very unhappy utilities and creditors, but there’s nothing we can do until they get their document requests right the first time. At this point, only two have.