In separate conversations with me and my sibling, my cousin has wished my uncle were dead because he is a very demanding person and has made his life and his family's life difficult while also providing for them very generously. The problem is that he is an agent in my Uncle's Advance Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. I am primary, my cousin is second and my sibling is third. My sib and I wonder whether my cousin can really be objective in carrying out my Uncle's wishes if I can't be reached. He's like a father to us and we don't know what to do. Has anyone else dealt with this issue?

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A few comments ...
1. It is unlikely that your uncle is completely unaware of his son's animosity. In spite of that, he put his son in the number two slot. It was/is his choice.
2. Not everyone who says, "I wish the old goat would hurry up and die," would actually take steps to hurry that along.
3. Expecting complete "objectivity" in an end-of-life situation may not be realistic. You may not be objective enough to let your uncle die peacefully instead of prolonging his suffering. Son may not be objective enough to give medical science a little more time. Or Son may feel he needs to "prove" he didn't hasten his father's death and make decisions on that basis. The role of the agent is to act in the ill person's best interest, but few of us know for a fact what that is, and all of us are influenced by our own beliefs and relationships.

What did you have in mind? Going to Uncle and saying, "I'm afraid your son might do you harm if he had a chance. Please put someone else in the number two slot." ? That seems cruel, too, doesn't it?

What would you want to have happen if you were in your uncle's place?
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