Health Care and Financial Power of Attorney

With all I’ve gone through with my mom in the last six months, I want to share some of the things I think everyone should have in place.

After a spate of funerals – seemed like people were dropping like flies – I insisted Ken and I, my oldest sister and my mom all got POA (power of attorney’s) in place.  We live in Wisconsin so my daughter found this resource – Advanced Directives

With mom being so sick in the last six months, I’ve been grateful for taking those steps.  There were other steps I had to take but the doctor’s office / hospitals all had the POAs on file.  This meant when it came to medical decisions, we were able to step in and see to it mom was treated in a way we knew she would want.

There were other things which had to be done.  No one could write out checks for her but mom.  I had to go to her bank and see what the options were.  The bank was helpful and informative.  It probably helped that I bank at the same place.  The end result – mom signed a form to make me an authorized signator on her account.  This allows me to sign checks for her.  Since I’m not taking care of her finances, it helps a lot to not have to run to her every time a bill comes in and needs paying.

Get a support system.  If it weren’t for my sisters backing me up, I think I’d pull my hair out.  Every decision is more difficult because it isn’t a decision for me – it’s a decision on what I think mom would want.  Communication is key because if people don’t know what you’re doing and why they will question you.  They might anyway but at least if you’re communicating openly, you can say I told you all of this.

Step away when you need to.  If you need a break or you can’t handle one more thing, be honest and hand it off to another family member.  Make sure you are taking care of you because if you’re down for the count, no one is able to look after your loved one.

The point is to get all of this in place for your parents, yourself, and your children (even younger ones).  Then when something happens, you can make good decisions without having the added stress of guessing what the person would want.