As Caregiver, would it be best for me to be first-named POA?

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Mom and Dad drew up a Living Trust in 1997, and created Durable POAs (medical and financial) at the same time. On the POAs, they named my younger sisters as the 1st and 2nd, and me as the 3rd -- so if my younger sisters are not available or able, in order, then I'm the POA. At the time this was very sensible because I lived across the country.

These POAs have recently expired and new ones need to be done. I figured that rather than pay a lawyer to draw up the same papers, I can type them up following the language of the originals, and then take Mom to get them signed and notarized and copies made for each of us sisters to have one on hand. However, since I'm her Caregiver and with her 24/7, it seems most sensible to me to have myself named 1st, and my sisters as 2nd and 3rd.

The way the language reads, in a way it doesn't matter who is 1st because for example if Mom is hospitalized and one of my sisters is there and I don't happen to be, and a decision has to be made, that sister can make it and doesn't need to wait for me to arrive. But I would feel a little more comfortable being 1st on the POA list particularly because I am the main person with whom her doctors and bank people interact. What does anyone think?

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Oh, I would double-check with my sisters before doing it and send them each a copy to review first as well.

Also -- yes, I can review the statutes for any changes, I have a 20-yr background as a legal secretary, so I know how to do that. And our County has a "standard" form for POAs, which may already reflect any changes made by statute ... it is not worded substantially different from the POAs that my folks already had.

Yes, Dad has passed away.
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Honestly, a standard POA would be a basic fill in the blank type form, I name so and so to act for me in the event of..., signed dated and witnessed; even including the consult it wouldn't take up an hour of time. I'm glad where I live the lawyers don't think so well of themselves :(
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Big mistake not going thru an attorney when you have other siblings and you are renewing and changing the POAs to yourself. BIG MISTAKE.

Your sisters aren't going to like your doing this without them knowing about it. I know that because you're asking your question here. If you have an atty involved, that will go a long way toward proving her competency. If mom isn't competent, you are on very thin ice.

I've never heard of a POA that expires.
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Another comment - we REALLY need to be able to edit our posts!

CWillie's suggestion to contact various attorneys to get quotes is a good one; just do your research beforehand so you don't get some jerk. I'd also stay away from single practice attorneys - sometimes they jack their prices up to cover costs, as they're usually the only one in the practice. If you see a firm that is something like "John Doe & Associates", you can figure that John Doe is the only permanent fixture there. Sometimes firms like these go through a multitude of attorney assistants who stay a short while and leave after they realize they're working in a private sector autocracy. The "Associates" often covers the revolving door of attorneys who come and go with regular frequency.
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Corrections: 6th paragraph, last sentence should have read: "....would likely cost more...", not "most".
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I'm assuming that your father is deceased?

What you suggest may be the optimum solution, but honestly it does suggest a potential conflict of interest for you to prepare the documents, and arrange for their execution. You also would be making the assumption that there are no cognitive issues which might affect your mother's execution

Do you also plan to research statutory and case law to determine if any changes have been made in governing laws? This is important so that sections of the documents don't become invalidated by laws that supercede them.

Whether the issue is real or not, I think it just doesn't look right when a daughter places herself as first proxy, prepares the documents and arranges for execution. You'd definitely have to have your sisters on board with this by reviewing everything before you signed.

Another option which may or may not be appropriate depending on the relationship you have with your sisters is to create equal proxies for each of the sisters, i.e., you're all named as proxies with equal authority to act. You can act independently of the others (a gamble if there's any family friction) or together as a team.

CWillie, $100 or $200 might be on the low side for document preparation unless a paralegal prepares the documents and they're merely reviewed by the attorneys. But even a meeting with an attorney would likely cost most if time is the basis for billing.

Any reliable attorney isn't going to prepare a document authorizing one sister to hold priority of decision over another without ensuring that's (a) what the mother wants and (b) there's no conflict or self interest in the desires of the first daughter. And the attorney would want to get to know the mother as much as possible first.

I'm guessing some people would rather pay hundreds of dollars for some piece of electronic equipment than pay for qualified legal help, unfortunately.

But you still have the issue of any changes in laws.
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Before you go this route try calling around to get a quote from various lawyers on their fees for a simple POA. I know many recommend consulting expensive elder care specialists, but it should be possible to have it done by any competent lawyer for somewhere between $100 and $200, unless the lawyers in the USA are all as crooked as they are always made out to be. The lawyer would also talk to your mom to ensure she is mentally competent, proof of which may be useful some day if there is ever discord amongst the family.
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If everyone agrees that you should be 1st POA, and from what you have stated it would make sense, you should get the POA re done. But I don't think you can just change the wording and do it yourself. Also your Mom would still have to be mentally competent and agree to any changes. It is her document and her directives that must be set down in writing and authorized by her.
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