Can I assign 4 joint power of attorneys?


Can I assign 4 joint power of attorneys- specifically I want to name all my children as Joint- POA's to force communicating on all decisions.

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That's not a good idea in my opinion. They could disagree amongst themselves and you'll never get resolution when decisions need to be made - sometimes very quickly. You need ONE power of attorney and a back-up. Four is a disaster waiting to happen.
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Reply to blannie

If "forcing" your children to communicate for decision making is the or a goal of appointing them all, I think your efforts may be doomed to failure. Assuming that they don't communicate well now, what would cause them to learn to do so when important decisions have to be made?

Having someone act when needed is an important purpose of a POA or DPOA. If you know now that the children may not do so, I think there are other issues at play, and should be addressed before giving any of them proxy authority.
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Reply to GardenArtist

DD1923, it is possible to have all the grown children be the Power of Attorney, and have an Attorney place a clause that if the grown children cannot agree, then the Attorney makes the final decision. But note that the Attorney will bill for the time used.

I would recommend you use an "Elder Law Attorney". And for you to also have a Medical Directive to help the grown children know what are your final options under medical care. My parents had such a document and it really helped me to follow their decisions.
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Reply to freqflyer

If you are trying to force your kids to get along--this is not a good plan. In fact, there actually couldn't be a worse way. You'll still be alive and your 4 kids will be infighting about EVERYTHING.

There's 5 of us, mother doesn't need a POA but my brother with whom she lives considers himself her POA and completely controls her life. We can't even have ONE family discussion about her care w/o him blowing up and screaming at the rest of us.

Our family is basically completely fractured over this.

ONE POA, the person you trust most and perhaps a 2nd if you really need one.
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Reply to Midkid58

This isn't the way to demonstrate that you don't have favourites, this is about assigning a serious responsibility to the person/people who are most competent and will follow your wishes. I've argued before that it is possible to have multiple POAs with the ability to act "jointly or severally", but even then you need to know that everyone is on the same page and can work as a team. Attempting to manipulate your children into working together at a time when you no longer have the ability to mediate is folly. And BTW, you can choose someone other than one of your children if none of them are up to the task.
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Reply to cwillie

I'm an elder law attorney, so my comments come from a legal point of view. It rarely is a good idea to name more than one person to act for you. As an example, I'm currently working with three adult children, who do not get along, whose mother named all three to act together. If I can't get all three of these kids to 100% agree 100% of the time, then each of them have to hire their own lawyer to get anything done. Two trustees=double the lawyer's work. Three trustees=triple the lawyer's work. The Mom's bank is refusing to accept them as successor trustees or agents under her power of attorney because they're too easily exposed to mistakes and disagreements, etc. This may require petitions to the court to amend the trust and appoint just one of them, but then the other 3 unnamed siblings will probably try to take over. In other words, what could have been a very simple and inexpensive process has become a complicated expensive nightmare. If the attorney who drafted her estate planning documents (not me) had simply taken the time to have a discussion with the client about who the best person is to name and why--and that often is not automatically the spouse or oldest child--this family would be in much better shape today.
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Reply to SallyB

When I set up POA for me and when I signed the paperwork to be POA for Mum, the lawyers involved strongly suggested assigning one person to act with a back up. This is what we did.

Trying to “force” the kids to communicate when there is a stressful situation is a recipe for disaster. If you need someone to make medical or financial decisions for you, you want the most level headed person doing it, not bickering siblings.

You may not know the reasons they are not communicating right now.
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Reply to Tothill

DD1923 - I'm guessing here. Your thought is that if your kids love you and respect you enough, they would be willing to be forced to talk to one another and put your interest first. And in the process, they will reconcile their differences. Correct? I get that. As a parent, I dont like seeing my kids fight. Maybe it'll happen the way you want. You know your kids best.

But -

If your kids dislike each other more than they love you, a piece of paper won't make any of them do anything. And if they do, they do it grudgingly while hating you for it. And they will be glad when you're gone so they don't have to talk to one another anymore.

Again, you know your kids best. Personally, I never like being forced into doing anything. Do you?
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Reply to polarbear

Yes. You can appoint all four. Not saying you should but you can.

My mother had four of us as agents. We could act independently. It was never a problem. Could have been I suppose but wasn’t. Two of her children died before she did. None of her sons or daughter in laws were the types to interfere or prod their spouse to stir the pot. That helped. We had group meetings of just the children and shared information and made plans for any actions needed. We were fortunate. It did make us closer and more considerate of one another. Plus my mother was able to make her own decisions and we saw to it that she was heard.

My inlaws had all four of their children listed as well. But one at a time, Eldest first etc. Turns out oldest two weren’t very effective and finally, after years of inaction, deferred to the third. Both inlaws had dementia but FIL was allowed to make decisions much longer than he should have. To MIL detriment. They also had oldest two set up as co-executors of their will which basically meant the DIL (2nd wife of oldest son) had undue influence and decisions were made that didn’t follow the parents wishes.

I’m POA for my husbands Aunt. The second agent she had assigned died. She was able to assign a new second.
Always have a second if possible. It’s a great feeling for me to know that if anything happens to me there is someone else available.
Each year review your choices. You can always make changes anytime you need to. Each year on aunts birthday we go over everything to see if we need to make changes and if she is still satisfied with her choices. She has dementia but so far is very clear and consistent on her choices.

I’ve noticed over the years that if there are problems within a family, the problems get worse during times of stress, not better.

I don’t think being named an agent is anything that one should be surprised with or not understand. It’s too important for you and too hard for the agent. Since none of us know for sure what is going to happen you have to treat this as a very important decision and allow them to weigh in on it as well. Really listen to their concerns about why they do or don’t want the job. Be realistic about where they live and the responsibilities they already have. Again, life happens and you can make changes hopefully for a long time to come if need be.
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Reply to 97yroldmom

My father authorized my sister and I, and there never was a problem, but we worked together. Either of us could act alone. And it was fortunate that he did that because she died the next year, and I could just step up to do what needed to be done.
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Reply to GardenArtist

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