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Service Account Cancellations, Financial Affairs and Powers of Attorney

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A recent article in Salon.com highlighted the issues that can arise when a loved one suffers a serious medical problem and is unable to cancel service accounts that are no longer needed, such as cable television, newspaper subscriptions and other services. This article focused on an elderly woman who suffered a massive stroke and was left unable to manage her own affairs. Lacking a power of attorney, her son and daughter were faced with the task of canceling these and many other accounts that their mother subscribed to.

Her cable television provider refused to cancel her account unless a power of attorney could be produced which gave the power to the writer or his sister to manage their mother’s financial affairs. While they were ultimately able to resolve the issue without a power of attorney, they could have saved a significant amount of work and time if they had been able to provide a signed financial power of attorney.

Debilitating medical problems (such as a stroke) can cause significant problems for relatives to deal with in terms of managing the financial affairs of their loved one. Financial institutions will uniformly require evidence of a valid durable power of attorney before making any changes to a financial account, and many service providers follow suit. Powers of attorney can provide significant peace of mind and ease the burden of managing the financial affairs.

Please visit our Wills & Trusts page for further information regarding powers of attorney. For further reading about durable powers of attorney, please see this article concerning durable powers of attorney.