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Be careful when you set up power of attorney

Date published: 3/3/2013

Be careful when you set up power of attorney

This letter should help caregivers who have been named as representatives in a formal legal power of attorney or those naming a representative in their own POA.

My mother appointed me as her legal representative in the event she could not take care of her affairs. She reached that point years ago. I have been doing my best, except for one insurance policy.

Over 10 years ago, she took out a policy that she probably never needed and set up premiums to be automatically deducted from her checking account. It was for a short-term stay at a rehab facility if she ever had one of their listed accidents.

She is now in a nursing home in Alabama under hospice care, unable to communicate to any degree due to deafness and COPD, and is wheelchair-bound. She can make no move without assistance.

I have tried to terminate this policy since 2010. At first, I was just trying to get information about the policy because I thought she had aged out of their coverage. But no one would discuss the policy with me. They refused to honor the POA, even though it is properly notarized and signed. They continue to debit the checking account for their premiums. This company is taking money we dearly need for other expenses.

The bank cannot easily stop the deductions once they are set up. My only recourse is to close the checking account and open a new one, which I hate to have to do when she has so little time left. I have tried to spend my time with her rather than dealing with red tape.

If you are setting up a POA for someone to represent you, be careful how you set up automatic debits from your accounts. In the end, your money may not go to places that will benefit you.

Janet Lynn Taft