If you are helping to care for an elderly parent now is the time to go ahead and get your power of attorney. I set up power of attorney for my father about a year and a half ago. He was 86 years old at the time. Now he’s 88 and beginning to get quite forgetful. Somehow he paid his rent in advance about six times and now has a six-month credit. He also has an outstanding penalty and outstanding tax due from his 2009 tax return. Well, now it’s 2012 so that’s three years late. Not only that, he also used his investments incorrectly and took a loan to make some payments rather than selling some stock. He is now in a margin (debit) condition which I found out it is not allowed by the securities rules.
So I had to tell his broker today to sell some stocks to eliminate the debit. Luckily I have the power of attorney paperwork from one and a half years ago and thus the broker was able to rely on my decision and use my permission to do this. At the time we drew up the power of attorney, my Dad did not want me to make any decisions for him considering finances. But now he’s more cooperative about that. He seems kind of relieved that I am stepping in now. So all I had to do was fill out an agent form from Morgan Stanley, his broker, and then attach a copy of my power of attorney paperwork.
At first I thought I was going to have to take all the paperwork to the post office and send it to his broker. But I found out that it was okay to make a PDF copy of all the paperwork and then email it. Wow! That is so much easier. The power of attorney paperwork was about 10 pages long. The agent form was a page long. And I had to add a copy of my drivers license. That was another page. So altogether I had about 12 pages to prepare into PDF.
You might be wondering how I made it into a PDF. Well, for me it was pretty easy. We have an automatic scanner at work. I fed all 12 pages in at once. It fed them through one at a time and created a combined PDF. So I have one PDF with all 12 pages in it. Oh, I almost forgot. The agent form had to be signed by a notary. Luckily we have one at our office. She was kind enough to notarize it for me. She did not ask for any compensation. She was so nice about it. Note to self: Please get Sharon a nice gift card as a thank you for her kindness. Otherwise I would have had to go to a bank. All banks have notaries. I was so glad I didn’t have to go out and find a notary or to the post office. It saved me a lot of time in a busy day and besides, it was pouring down rain.
So, please, if you are caring for an elderly parent, go out right away and get the power of attorney paperwork drawn up by an attorney and put it away in a safe place. You never know when you will need it!