Long-Term Care & Durable Powers of Attorney

The following scenario came up recently with a Long-Term Care insurer:

The insured was in a position to need the benefits from her policy due to the onset of Alzheimer's but the insurer would not accept a claim filed by her husband and the insured, of course, was in no position to file the claim herself. What a Catch-22! No way to claim the benefits she had paid for for many years.

Fortunately, the insured had executed a Durable General Power of Attorney naming her husband and children attorneys-in-fact before the onset of her illness. The general power of attorney (POA) allowed her husband to file the claim in her place and because it was a durable POA, it continued to be valid even after she became incapacitated.

It should be noted that the insurer specifically denied a Health Care POA as granting sufficient authority to file the claim.

A durable general power of attorney, like all advance directive documents, should be drawn up by an attorney - specifically one experienced in estate planning. Planning ahead can save lots of hassle up the road.