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My father-in-law is 88. About 3 years ago, because of his health situation (in & out of hospital), we had a POA drawn up. My husband is an only child & we live far away. We needed the security that people would speak directly to my husband for answers on various matters. My father-in-law fought us the whole way, saying that he's heard too many stories of kids that get "that power", then rob the parent. I was furious & hurt; my husband has never said or done anything that would give him that idea. After a few awkward moments, he finally agreed to sign the POA but would not let us take a copy home with us. So, now if anything happens, my husband has to first travel back home, go to his dad's house (assuming he can get in), hope the POA is where his dad put it & then proceed with whatever has to be done.

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Ok, I'll play devil's advocate for a second, here. You say "We needed the security that people would speak directly to my husband for answers on various matters."

You need the security? No: surely, it's your FIL who needs that security. And if he instead chooses to shoot himself in the foot by granting your husband POA but then preventing him from using it, why not let it be FIL's problem? Wash your hands of it.

You could ask him, I suppose, if there is someone he would trust better to act on his behalf. It might concentrate his mind on what the POA is for: namely, to help HIM.
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Does your husband have the keys to FILs home? I ask because of your "assuming he can get in" comment. If he does not, then it's obvious, sorry to say, that FIL does not trust his son. If I were in your husband's shoes I would resign POA and have dad have it redrawn with someone he does trust with his life, possibly his lawyer. Ultimately, this will cost him lots in legal fees every time lawyer has to be contacted for poa but if it makes dad happy, it's his dime. I'm not big on putting myself out to caregive and worry about folks who don't trust me. If your husband can do a bit of "detatch with love" it might actually help the relationship with his dad.
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I agree with telling FIL if son can't have a copy of the POA, you're not comfortable with the set-up and FIL needs to find a new POA. FIL sounds like a person who has no interest in his son or son's family, so I'm not sure why son should jump through emotional hoops to help out his dad.

Frankly, I'd cut ties with the guy from what you've written. At first I thought he might have dementia, but it sounds like he's always been "self-contained" as someone else said. If my own father didn't trust me to keep a POA copy, I wouldn't let the door hit me on the way out. But that's just me.
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This IS my story. Same darn problem with my mom not giving us copies, keys, etc. I've talked to her til I'm blue in the face AND an emergency did happen and I had no authority and she was hauled 3 hrs from her home. I had to drive 5 hrs to her house, turn the house upside down cause everything was moved and hidden and then drive another 4 hrs to get to her of which afterwards she re-gained her mind and that invalidated the DPOA. Won't give us copies of anything.

The bottom line is, what happens if the house burns down and all that stashed cash, legal papers, bank statements, investment papers, etc. go up in smoke too...it can be a long time to have to obtain copies or mail overtime to recreate. Secondly, if the elder didn't sign a DPOA, AMD, will, etc. in the attorney's office or filed a signed copy with attorney, he can't help you with unsigned copies. That is what happened with me when I checked with her attorney to see what he might have on her behalf. AND hopefully you even know who the attorney is.

If your loved one is unconscious, again, how are they going to tell you where to locate documents, keys, etc.

I have over the last year and half slowly gotten some info out of my mom --enough to know her banks, etc. But she has yet to give me a copy of any papers, keys, etc. I'm 57 and don't even have key to the house.

When she passes, it will be a mess and a burden on me since I live so far away and work full time. I dread the day when I will have to use up leave time to turn the house upside down to find papers, etc. it's ridiculous to put your loved ones thru this unnecessary burden.

Luckily my in-laws have given us copies of everything and update us annually on any changes, including having a safe box and gave us the key. We will do same with our kids.
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A POA is more important as it gives you the power to act, not just receive medical info like the HIPAA. If the POA was prepared by an attorney get a copy from that office.
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Maggie, no offense taken! Just trying to think outside the box, and the side comment about " assuming he can get into the house :made me think that the lack of trust may go deeper. Also, sometimes being strong enough to say, fine, I'll walk away" has the effect of allowing another person to see that you have no ulterior motives, while trying to persuade them makes them feel less trustful. That was certainly our experience with my MIL. The more my husband tried to get her to take better care of herself, the louder she screamed "elder abuse".
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Good job, GA. There's a lesson in most every post that comes along.
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There may be something else going on here, and I suggest it because I've gone through the same thing, on a different issue.

Despite having enough DIY experience to handle some repair tasks, as well as contracting out other jobs, my father feels that only men, from his church, can and should handle those tasks. As a result, some of them get done, some don't. He won't agree to hiring the tasks either. These aren't cosmetic issues; they're ones of safety.

I've become so frustrated over this position that it's sometimes lead to complete exhaustion as well as higher levels of anxiety, not to mention conflict. I finally decided that I can't fight this intransigent attitude and won't let my own health deteriorate any more because of obstinacy and/or stubbornness. So I back away and when an issues arises, I just say "well, call someone in the church."

I'm wondering if this same kind of "dig in the heels", stubborn resistance isn't an underlying factor with K4Rose's FIL. He's obviously a strong willed man and doesn't compromise. Yet he's creating anxiety in his son and DIL who are trying to think ahead and provide for him. Is this deliberate or subconsious, and is it representative of manipulation and/or controlling behavior?

This could be simple manipulation, or it could also be reflective of a refusal to release any kind of control at all, albeit something that could help him.

Without criticizing anyone's suggestions, I would strongly recommend against substituting any unsigned or conformed copy for the original. Getting into the house without having current keys would also fall into that category, even if K4Rose and her DH feel it's an emergency.

I think surreptitious substitution that would only increase and entrench FIL's attitude. And if there is an emergency, it's better to call the police and/or fire department and let them break down the door. There's nothing he can do to them except complain. It might even do some good because he'd likely be advised by the responding emergency personnel that he should have keys, and other emergency arrangements, provided to and made with his own family.

Maggie, as to whether or not an attorney can hold and act under a DPOA, I believe this is possible and do have a vague recollection of seeing this in some documents, but it wasn't common, and I wouldn't want to say for sure w/o doing some research. It may also vary by state. Sorry, I just don't have enough knowledge to firmly say an attorney can or can't.

Attorneys do act as Trustees though, which gives them a lot of authority, so common sense would suggest that they could hold DPOA power. However, common sense doesn't always prevail in life.


Honestly, I think K4Rose's situation is an intractable one. FIL isn't going to budge; DH and K4Rose will probably always be in a position of trying to help him when he won't cooperate.

Sometimes the best thing to do is play his game, call his bluff and tell him that unless he agrees to cooperate (provide current keys, conformed copy), DH doesn't feel that he can perform the duties expected to his own level of satisfaction. Situations could occur when he couldn't act under the DPOA and blame could be assessed against him - i.e., if he's willing to act, he needs to have the documented authority to do so, IN HIS POSSESSION.

Bluntly, throw FIL's actions right back in his face. Know though that I don't make this suggestion lightly.
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Regarding the changing of the locks when a tenant changes, I would suggest that FIL have the locksmith install the lock as a master/submaster keying. FIL and your husband keep the master key. Tenant gets a submaster key only. Locksmith can then rekey for a different sub, leaving the master the same. That way, dad doesn't have to change his keys and the house remains secure with a new tenant. Should cost a little more on the first setup of the system, but no more for changes later, and it gives you the comfort that your key will always be working.
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I agree with blannie, and speaking from experience -- this job is hard enough as it is, but when you don't have the complete 'buy-in' (the faith and trust from the parent), it multiplies the difficulty and stress enormously. My mother is much worse now, but even 4 years ago, when she added me as a signer on her safe-deposit box, she refused to give me the second key. And I live 3 hours away, what would I do??? Drive all that way to raid the safe deposit box, which has a few important papers, and some teething rings that I don't even know who they belonged to??? At the time, I acted completely fine with her decision, in order to demonstrate how little I cared about the contents of the damn box. But if someone doesn't inherently trust you, then no amount of demonstrating your trustworthiness or competence will matter.
Now, when the time comes, I will need to go to my mother's house, and find the key. Assuming it's where I think it is. It may not be. Who knows? It's one more layer of b.s. that she couldn't care less about, but is leaving me to deal with.
If I knew then what I know now...
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