Hoarding Woes: Power of Attorney (POA)

The mere statement that you have the Power of Attorney does not automatically open all doors.

For the last several days my aunt’s phone service was disrupted. The line rang busy. This status of course can be she is on the line (she does not have call waiting) gabbing away. Or, it can mean she knocked the phone off the ‘hook’ and doesn’t know. Or, she has technical difficulties, or the always prevalent concern she is down and the phone is off the hook.

Call the phone company and attempt to establish if there is conversation on the line. If there isn’t then someone must go to the house and attempt to make contact. In this instance, I was out of town. My wife was not able to go to the house as she in the midst of a doctors visit. Also, I knew the phone bill had been paid but was two weeks late. I called the phone company and determined there was not conversation on the line. But, they would not tell me if the phone service had been disconnected for lack of payment, nor would they tell me if there were technical difficulties.

I advised them I had POA. Oh really they said. We don’t see you listed in our records. Fax it they said. I can’t I said. I am out of town and do not have a copy of it with me. Sorry…confidential info, they can not tell me issues protected by privacy laws.

Hmmm? I basically knew this was the case. I had not thought to file a copy of the POA with the phone or electric or investment companies. Just had to have the ability to pay bills and keep the checking account in order. Well, a greater level exists and  I have to be prepared for more complexities.

In the end, the service was down outside the home. We had a repair man there and they fixed the problem. My aunt was without phone service for 40 hours. That is a disadvantage under the circumstances.

Get you Power of Attorney docs in order and be alert for every time you ask for something on your loved one’s behalf….you will not just say you have it….but will have to prove it.


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