rosehips1 Asked December 2010

Can power of attorney (legal or medical) be jointly shared by 2 people to keep everyone honest?

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Carol72156 Oct 2011
My sister and I have joint Power of Attorney. I am in my folks' home taking care of them so essentially I've got the healthcare duties. My sister lives in another state and takes care of the finances. For 2 years, we worked together quite well and I thought we made a great team. Then expenses doubled primarily because of their medication and groceries. She felt I was mishandling the money and that the expenses could be lowered and also (I take full responsibility) I wasn't getting her the mail in a timely manner. So she re-assigned these duties to one of our private caregivers recently and to be frank, the caregiver does a much better job of grocery shopping than I did. Unfortunately we had a misunderstanding along the way. The misunderstanding caused conflict that resulted in my sister stating that she was no longer willing to act as Power of Attorney and would be searching for a professional to serve in her place. So, at this point, I feel as though I have lost my sister and hope she changes her mind. I can't imagine that hiring someone to be POA would be an inexpensive endeavor. Plus I have enjoyed the frequent contact and not only love her but like her too and it breaks my heart that it's come to this. If anyone reading this can offer their advice or insight, I would surely appreciate it.
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palmtrees1 Jan 2011
You can also have an alternate POA, who has no power unless the primary POA dies or doesn't want to do it any longer. If the primary POA dies, with no dual POA or alternate, and the parent is incompetent, this is a problem. The courts have to appoint a guardian. No one wants all of that trouble. The best thing is being open. When there is secrecy, then people become suspicious or feeling are hurt. No one wants that either. In a lot of families I know, the older children seem to be the POA and are open with the other siblings.
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NancyH Dec 2010
Lynn, the reason I chose to have 2 POA's was purely practical. If I were to be incapacitated, there needs to be someone else that can pay the bills etc.
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BridgetW Dec 2010
Also remember the POA dies when the loved one dies. Once the person dies, the POA right dies, so you must have control over the Estate like Executor to continue to handle after life matters. For my mother, we actually has two separate POA's written, one for me to use for the hospital as I managed her medical and one for my sister who handled her money. I must say we also got along well. We had a joint one that either could use incase we needed to use for legal reason, as I used to take my fathers name off of the home when he passed away. The one thing I did not know was that the POA dies with the loved one, so make sure papers are in order the manage after life affairs.
Blessings
Bridget
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LynnPO Dec 2010
NA presented a great scenario to keep everyone honest. The only problem with having more than one PoA is if they disagree with 1. YOUR wishes or 2. with each other. I'd want to know WHY you want 2 PoAs? Are you trying to keep someone happy or ensure that you have some support? You need to do what's necessary and give this responsibility to someone YOU trust. Don't worry that some one will be made because they don't have control. Anyone who'd do that probably has ulterior motives anyway... If you wish to have 2 people then you might consider this
1. give them some means to resolve differences - a 3rd person like a minister or relative to make the final decision
2. with the PoA complete a living will or medical directives that list, in detail, what your wishes are for pro-longed medical care and life support (when to pull the plug so to speak)
3. list your priorities for your living situations, how you want your money spent and who gets what
4. get a will done and name an executor.
5. let one manage the $$ and the other have decision making capability over another topic like your living arrangements.
all these will help your PoAs
Best of luck.
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NancyH Dec 2010
I should also add, that I am the one with the check book, otherwise it would too confusing. But I set up banking online and paying her bills, giving the boys all the access they need to see what is going on with her accounts. Whether they check in on me is up to them, I don't really care.
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NancyH Dec 2010
My mother-in-law has three sons (I'm married to #3) I became POA on her bank account 3 years ago. Then I suggested that she add #2 son along with me, for that very reason of keeping everything above board. Now I am still POA along with #2, but ALL three sons are co-owners on all her bank accounts now. When she dies, my job is done as POA which is fine with me.
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