Legal documents like power of attorney (POA) are not just nice to have ahead of time with eldercare; they are imperative if you are going to be an effective advocate, representative or participant in the care of your parents and elders.
Well, did you think about putting your nose in their business this week? I hope so!
Last week’s blog topic was about the legal documents that allow you to act as an agent for your elders in medical situations, financial transactions and decision-making in general.
The two types of documents that we discussed were:
Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Management
Medical Power of Attorney
Just a quick recap.
Durable POA for Financial Management allows you to, either temporarily or long-term, make decisions on the part of your elder in real estate, business transactions, employment, banking, retirement benefits, trusts, insurance and several other issues dealing with money or property.
Medical POA allows you to act as your elder’s agent in medical decisions and to speak with medical personnel and caregivers on their behalf. It also permits you to see and possess their medical records.
Who needs copies of these documents?
POA for Financial Management
- Family attorney
- Banks/Investment brokers/Mutual funds
- Real Estate agents/Title companies
- Pensions/Retirement benefits adminstrators
- Insurance agencies/Brokers/Companies
- Tax professionals/CPAs/Tax attorney
- Charities where they have committed funds/gifts
- Housing/Landlord/Residence owners
- State and local records departments
- Anyone conducting business transactions with your elders
- Doctors/Medical clinics/Hospitals/EMTs
- Home health care agencies
- Insurance companies
- Pharmacies/Prescription drug insurance companies
- Residences (assisted living, nursing care, memory care, rehab facilities)
- Dentists/Audiologists/Eye care professionals
- Senior centers
- Labs/Therapists/Imaging facilities
- Any organizations handling your parents’ medical care or records
Government Agencies and POA
Government agencies do not typically recognize POA documents in the form that is given to the entities and organizations listed above. They have their own documents allowing you to act as an agent or representative for your elders (of course!). Why would this be simple??
For Social Security, a form called Form SSA 1696 allows another person to represent the individual on a variety of issues. Go to the Social Security website and search for the form. Instructions and explanations are listed.
Medicare has a form called an “Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information” (CMS-10106) that allows Medicare to discuss medical information with someone other than the insured. (Now are you surprised that the Medicare form has a long name and form number??) Go to the Medicare website for the form and instructions on how to submit it.
The Veterans Administration (VA) uses their own form (VA Form 21-0845) called “Authorization to Disclose Personal Information to a Third Party.” The VA website has the form but it will most likely need to be mailed, faxed or delivered to a VA office. In case you want the VA to release medical records information to you or a medical provider, you will need VA Form 10-5345, called a “Request For and Authorization to Release Medical Records of Health Information.” Search for the form by number on the VA website; search first for “VA forms”, then search by form number.
Other government agencies may elect to use their own forms (like the IRS) or they may recognize the forms of the agencies above. It’s best to ask each agency what their policies are for “assignment of personal representative” – the generic governmental term for POA.
Still, it remains their decision.
No matter how many forms you have, your parents retain the right to make decisions on their own behalf and can terminate their assignment of POA at any time. They can also change the order of agents or names of agents with POA authority at their discretion.
Keeping copies of these documents handy is vital to staying ahead of the next emergency. It will allow you (and your siblings or relatives) to be more focused on the decision than on the document, when the time comes that your help is needed.