How do you cancel credit cards for someone who's had a stroke?

Answer

You may be able to obtain 'Power of Attorney' if the cardholder is incapacitated. If this is not the case, the cardholder will have to contact the creditors to have the account closed. If there is a balance on the account, it is best to keep the account open until the balance is paid in full.

I had a very hard time canceling my mothers credit card after she had a debilitating stroke. She is 91. I was told I needed to send a POA, which I did. The first time they gave me a wrong address so I had to send the POA twice. Then they told me that a POA does not have authority to cancel an account. I was livid. After having been put through having to send the POA twice. They also told me that they needed to either have a signature or talk to the account holder, neither of which was possible. They then went as far as to say they needed a fingerprint.

Understand here that this is an account that never had a balance, was paid in full monthly and has not had a charge or balance in 9 months. I asked to talk to a supervisor who basically told me the same thing. I asked what if it was your mother. Her response was I gave you the choices.

I am not one to give up so I waited until the evening and called again knowing I would get someone else. I again explained who I was and that I had sent a power of attorney, that the card had no balance etc. To my great surprise the woman on the other end said I can cancel that for you and in about 30 seconds it was canceled.

The moral of this story is CALL CALL CALL at different times. You will always get different people. The bottom line is a POA, although a legal document, does not have to be honored. No organization is obligated to honor it. Most do, but you will always run into snags. It is not easy being a POA or executor but if you hold your ground and be persistent you will often succeed. Sometimes it is the stupidest things, like closing a meaningless credit card account that is not in use, that get you. You can transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars around but you can't close a no balance unused credit card account.