My wife has moderate dementia and is still home and I am the caregiver. She has numerous healthcare issues (long-term type 1 diabetes, uses a walker and wheelchair, can't drive, incontinence, and the more typical memory/decision-making/dementia issues.) She's recently started hallucinating too. Many doctors are involved. We've procrastinated some but are finally getting around to redoing wills, POA, and HCP documents. We've both been married before and have children from those marriages. The issue is this. One of her sons is extremely critical of me and my care of his mother, even though he has never lift a finger to assist. (FYI, her doctors are very pleased with what I do.) For the new legal documents, my wife feels she owes it to the criticizing son to have him list as the alternate authority (after me) on documents. If the two of us should pass at the same time, such as in an accident, I know we would be leaving a mess for the heirs. My solution is to select a trusted mutual friend (non-family member) for the role. We meet with an elder affairs attorney in a week. Any other suggestions?

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First of all, let me say that I empathize with you as a caregiver. I am too. It’s hard.

It’s also hard when family members aren’t on the same page. You are the primary caregiver. You have the doctor’s approval, not her son. He hasn’t helped and doesn’t know the day to day care routine. So why should he criticize if he isn’t involved? He needs to know facts and first hand experience with her to be able to give advice.

You want to plan to make things easier for your combined family members after you and your wife die and that is admirable.

You have already arranged for an attorney to help you make important decisions regarding a will, and other issues. It’s not only admirable but very smart!

My friend who is in family law sees awful squabbles everyday with families whose loved one did not leave a will.

When I asked her why they don’t leave wills she said the number one reason she has heard is that the parents don’t believe that their children will fight with each other.

She is honest with clients and always tells them unfortunately fighting often happens after a death, even with siblings that get along and that wills are necessary.

Have you also done a living will? I would. You don’t want others interfering in your wife’s or your decisions of your last wishes.

I think a non family member is a good idea to be an objective person in the matter. Best of luck to you and your wife.
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If that's what she wants for herself, you might consider going along with her on her stuff, and select your friend for your DPOA. Your wife cannot serve as your DPOA because she already has dementia. Who would be your alternate?

Try to get as much of your affairs in order as you can. Make and prepay funeral/burial arrangements for the both of you. Start decluttering the house.

What else do you mean about leaving heirs a mess?
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anonymous841475 May 2019
By leaving heirs a mess, I mean two things: mainly about dividing up inheritance (I expect problems with the critical son.); and also trouble over things like funeral arrangements if my wife should pass first. Someone else suggested a living will and that sounds like a possible answer to the latter question and one I will bring up with the attorney.
I would find a licensed fudiciary firm, not a one man show, preferably one that is also a certified elder law attorney and have them be the back up POAs and executor of the estate and/or trustee. This takes all the drama out, your guys wishes are fulfilled and they can be mad at a stranger who could frankly care less.

Having been the POA, I refuse to put that burden on anyone I love. It is stressful and honestly, who knows how we will behave in the event of illness or injury, we need someone that is not emotionally involved with us and our bad behavior, if that happens.
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