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Recently, two friends of mine found themselves stalled, or derailed, while trying to take care of an important matter for their loved one.

One involves a medical matter, the other, a banking issue.  Neither has a document in place known as a Power of Attorney (POA) which gives them the power to make decisions for their loved one if the loved one is incapable of doing so for himself or herself. One needed a POA for the general matter, the other needed a POA, for the medical matter.

I learned early on that 97% of the time, I needed a POA to take care of matters on behalf of Mom.  I obtained the needed documents (POA’s), by going to my parent’s estate attorney where he drafted the necessary documents for me.  This was done 7 years ago, and they remain a valid need to this day.  They sit on my desk, at the ready, to fax, scan or mail at a moment’s notice.

If you need advice on where to obtain the necessary Power(s) of Attorney for your situation, I would suggest calling a general attorney for assistance.   They should be able to refer you to one qualified in such matters. Or you could ask your local support group, or Google “How to obtain a POA.”  POA’s are relatively easy to obtain and absolutely mandatory in our line of work.

Be aware that obtaining any POA doesn’t happen in ten minutes.  Like everything else in our caregiving job, this, too, takes due diligence, patience and a bit of time.

 

What Is True For Me

When I found myself having to call someone on Mom’s behalf, and would probably require a POA, I listened to the person’s way of answering the phone and made note of their name.  If they didn’t give their name, I would always say, “Hi, my name is Vicki Railton.  I didn’t catch your name?” (It is more respectful and polite to give my name first when asking for theirs).

I’d make a note of their name and use it often (so their attention remains constant).  My standard opening line is friendly and warm, “Hi (Diana), My name is Vicki Railton, I’m the daughter of Marilee Railton who is a (patient) or (member) of (say their company name).  I’ve been her primary caregiver since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  I have a Power of Attorney available for your file so that I can discuss, and continue to discuss, matters with you that need immediate attention. Can you answer a few questions for me now?  Or how would you like me to provide my POA?  Fax or email?  And we can go from there.” 

That opening line and having a POA at the ready gives me the credibility and authority to handle important matters without frivolous delay.

Obtain a POA as soon as possible.  It truly is as good as Willie Wonka’s Golden Ticket.