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I also could sign on my mother's checking account. It was not a joint acc't, which might not be a good idea, but I was added as a signer. All her bills were sent to me and I was then able to take care of all her business even though I lived 800 miles away.

I had a care giver living with her and I was able to keep her at home much longer that way. I also sat in on her will making and knew where all the necessary papers were. I eventually did have to move her into a nursing home, but I was able to take care of the sale of her house with a POA and the help of her attorney.

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