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I refused to sign my father's Power of Attorney


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Old 4th January 2017, 1:56 PM   #1
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I refused to sign my father's Power of Attorney

My parents are over for the holidays and leaving tomorrow. My mom is 69 and active, my father is 77 and has some health issues but he can still do a few things he enjoys like hunting and fishing. He had multiple stokes in the past 10 years and it has affected his personality.

In the past few years he convinced himself our mother has a secret lover and she will leave him. It's based on nothing. Just the fruit of his imagination and mild dementia.

So last night, in front of my mother, brother and sister-in-law, my father took a legal paper out and asked me to signed a POA so if something happens to him I get to manage his finance and our mother is kept out.

It was shocking.

I refused.

I told him his wife of 52 years is more than capable of taking care of him and his finances if he becomes senile. He fought me on it, accused my mom to run away with his money, I think he was in the middle of a dementia crisis.

I didn't sleep all night. I am so disturbed.

My BF brought up an important point: Maybe I should sign this POA just to protect my mom? What if he has a stranger sign this?

They have been married for 52 years can he really take our mom's rights away?
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Old 4th January 2017, 2:24 PM   #2
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Eeek, what did your mom say? Other than being offended I'd imagine. There is so much more to it legally especially since they have been together so long. Marital property, pensions? I don't think the POA is going to supersede everything. I wouldn't sign it with out talking to your mom.
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Old 4th January 2017, 2:46 PM   #3
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Every adult of sound mind is at liberty to appoint a power of attorney. You have the option to not sign.

I personally have signed paperwork as I respected the person who made this decision. You seem to have sided already without much consideration for the person who gave such thought to this responsibility.
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Old 4th January 2017, 2:49 PM   #4
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Speak to an attorney.

A Power of Attorney isn’t so much about taking her rights away, but giving you control over him. With a POA, you can sign legal documents on his behalf, you can make medical decisions on his behalf, etc.

IMPORTANT – someone must be of SOUND MIND in order to sign a valid power of attorney. If he is suffering from dementia, he may not be able to sign a valid one. A doctor would need to determine he is of capacity to sign over those rights.

There are different forms of POA’s, durable – which would continue beyond incapacity or death, health care, and specific ones (for instance if some has a bunch of escrow documents to sign, but they will be out of the country, they may execute a POA for this one purpose).

Your mother would still have the rights bequeathed to her as a spouse, regarding inheritance etc, and there is no reason that with a POA, you couldn’t defer to her decisions.

Again, talk to an attorney. A quick call to a family law lawyer may clear this up for you.
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Old 4th January 2017, 2:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayla View Post
Every adult of sound mind is at liberty to appoint a power of attorney. You have the option to not sign.
Not sure how sounded my father's mind is anymore.
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Old 4th January 2017, 3:16 PM   #6
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If a lawyer hears that, any question of sound mind, in my jurisdiction anyway, they won't proceed. I had to deal with this and it took a judge and court time to square things away and it was a valid POA but was missing one tiny part that couldn't be changed because, well, sound mind had departed.

If your area is anything like mine, you should be able to get a good answer with a complimentary consultation with a family law or estate planning attorney.

Your position reflects common sense but unfortunately the law doesn't always respect common sense so you've got to play the game. My sympathies.

Having been down the road all the way to death, if I were faced with your situation, I'd have a lawyer review the POA and, if it passes muster, sign it, quietly work with mom to provide for dad and tell him whatever is necessary to do that, even if it means lying to him. If he is demented or getting there, that's one thing, distasteful as it may seem, you'll have to learn to do. Seen it a lot. Best wishes.
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Old 4th January 2017, 3:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RecentChange View Post
Speak to an attorney.

A Power of Attorney isn’t so much about taking her rights away, but giving you control over him. With a POA, you can sign legal documents on his behalf, you can make medical decisions on his behalf, etc.

IMPORTANT – someone must be of SOUND MIND in order to sign a valid power of attorney. If he is suffering from dementia, he may not be able to sign a valid one. A doctor would need to determine he is of capacity to sign over those rights.

There are different forms of POA’s, durable – which would continue beyond incapacity or death, health care, and specific ones (for instance if some has a bunch of escrow documents to sign, but they will be out of the country, they may execute a POA for this one purpose).

Your mother would still have the rights bequeathed to her as a spouse, regarding inheritance etc, and there is no reason that with a POA, you couldn’t defer to her decisions.

Again, talk to an attorney. A quick call to a family law lawyer may clear this up for you.
I don't know.

I find his whole situation insulting to my mother. She is in health, active and very sharp at only 69. She knows what our father needs if his mind isn't there anymore, we don't. We, the children, all live a 12 hour drive away. We cannot just barge in and pretend we would be better at managing him.

If my father loses his mind and it means I need to sign for his care, I have to be there for medical decisions, and all that stuff, I will have to travel that 12 hours each time when my mother is the best to make those decisions.
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Old 4th January 2017, 4:04 PM   #8
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Gaeta, with all due respect, I think you're reacting emotionally. He is free to choose who he wants to represent his interests and make decisions on his behalf. That doesn't take away your mom's rights to marital property she is entitled to, etc. You're conflating different issues.

Second, would you prefer to have his business partner or someone whose interests may not be aligned with his or the family's serve as his POA? Think about that. For whatever reason, he no longer trusts your mom. He's going to find someone else!

Third, you immediately assumed that his concern that she might be cheating is unfounded and ridiculous. Why would he suddenly feel this way? There was a regular poster in her 70's on here a while back who had a 20-year long affair behind her husband's back. She never left her husband. Took care of him as he was dying, but had another man on the side the whole time. She posted to deal with her guilt (gaslighting her husband, hiding excess laxatives in his food so that he couldn't follow her out of the house, etc.) because no one in real life would ever imagine she was anything but a devoted wife. She stopped posting a few months after her husband died. You just never know what's really going on, especially when you're 12 hours away.

Finally, how would you personally feel if you told someone you trusted them to represent your interests, and he or she turned around and told you you had lost your senses and should continue to trust someone you no longer deemed trustworthy?

Talk to an attorney on your own. Then talk to your dad alone or with his attorney. Then have a family meeting.
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Old 4th January 2017, 4:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaeta View Post
I don't know.

I find his whole situation insulting to my mother. She is in health, active and very sharp at only 69. She knows what our father needs if his mind isn't there anymore, we don't. We, the children, all live a 12 hour drive away. We cannot just barge in and pretend we would be better at managing him.

If my father loses his mind and it means I need to sign for his care, I have to be there for medical decisions, and all that stuff, I will have to travel that 12 hours each time when my mother is the best to make those decisions.
It's your father's choice. I would sign it before it goes to someone else or he's unable to authorize it at all. Obviously speak to an attorney first.

And do what's best for your family and parents and disregard what is perceived to be insulting to your mother. You can still defer to her decision if you have the PoA.

And I could be wrong, but I don't think you would have to drive 12 hours to sign papers. My family recently dealt with a similar situation with a relative in the hospital 6 hours away. I believe my sibling was able to handle the situation remotely.

Speak to an attorney and your siblings and do what is best for your family. Don't let the personal and emotional stuff get in the way.
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Old 4th January 2017, 4:53 PM   #10
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I will speak to my brothers and my mother. I understand it's better I sign it than a stranger. It's hard to not let my emotion in the way. I think it's sad he treats my mother this way after 52 years. Yes I see it more as blocking her than anything else.

My father has no properties or money. He filed bankruptcy twice in his life and last time was not even 5 years ago. My mother cannot leave with his money because... he has no money, he lives on a small retirement plan.
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Old 4th January 2017, 5:04 PM   #11
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Speak with him privately as well. Find out what's going on from his perspective too.
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Old 4th January 2017, 5:25 PM   #12
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I have only tonight to solve this as they are leaving tomorrow morning.

I spoke to my brother, the one present last night. He said I should sign it whether it's good or not just to ease his mind. He thinks our dad dementia is getting worse. Our parents have been at his house for 2 weeks now and he said dad is getting worse.

I am visiting them tonight and I'll sign his paper. I will try to talk to my mother privately before.

Thank you all for your good advice.
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Old 4th January 2017, 7:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gaeta View Post
My parents are over for the holidays and leaving tomorrow. My mom is 69 and active, my father is 77 and has some health issues but he can still do a few things he enjoys like hunting and fishing. He had multiple stokes in the past 10 years and it has affected his personality.

In the past few years he convinced himself our mother has a secret lover and she will leave him. It's based on nothing. Just the fruit of his imagination and mild dementia.

So last night, in front of my mother, brother and sister-in-law, my father took a legal paper out and asked me to signed a POA so if something happens to him I get to manage his finance and our mother is kept out.

It was shocking.

I refused.

I told him his wife of 52 years is more than capable of taking care of him and his finances if he becomes senile. He fought me on it, accused my mom to run away with his money, I think he was in the middle of a dementia crisis.

I didn't sleep all night. I am so disturbed.

My BF brought up an important point: Maybe I should sign this POA just to protect my mom? What if he has a stranger sign this?

They have been married for 52 years can he really take our mom's rights away?


Actually you are missing the big picture. Neither parent is going to live for ever and you have no way of knowing wihen either might die or be cognitively incapacitated. It is time to get POAs, living wills, trusts, ect in order now rather than wait. Talk to both parents, get this done and you maintain originals in a safe place, ie safe deposit box.

Last edited by Simple Logic; 4th January 2017 at 7:47 PM..
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Old 5th January 2017, 7:06 AM   #14
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So last night I had a moment with my mother and she was a bit annoyed my father wanted this. Like me she felt it was more about blocking her than anything else. My brother and I made her see it was for his peace of mind that in case something happens I would not go against her wish and she knows better than I how to take care of him.

After this discussion I told my father I had given it more thoughts and I was willing to sign his POA if he still wishes. He said ok but he was too tired to get into it now (it was late by that time).

Usually I visit them on Easter weekend it will have to wait then.
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Old 5th January 2017, 7:33 AM   #15
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I like what your BF said, do it to protect your Mom...

If he passed you could always give the POA right back to your Mom.. easy peasy
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