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We live in NJ and are retired. Anita is a 68 year old previous work friend of mine who I socialized with over the last several years who lives in CT. She is an independent single person who lives alone. She lives near her best friend, an older woman who she asked to be her primary POA. Anita has asked me to be her "back up POA" but I am leery about taking this on. Anita pays all her bills by mail and has nothing set up on a computer and despite being her "friend" we have been the ones who always entertained her which we didn't mind, but we have never been invited to her apartment. Previously when driving from NJ to Cape Cod we couldn't even drop by for a pit stop. Weird. She has some relatives in CT who she says she does not see often. When dealing with my mother's affairs I saw how even with a POA it was difficult to manage another person's affairs (ie social security not accepting POA's) How can I tell her I don't want to take on this responsibility, especially at a distance without offending her?

Just say" I really appreciate you thinking so highly of me. I am sorry, but it is not a responsibility that I can take on." Be direct; don't start giving reasons. Giving reasons invites an attempt by the other person to try to persuade you
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Bobbijo38 Nov 28, 2020
VERY good advice. Don't give a reason. A simple no is all that's needed.
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You are wise. Here is one of my favorite acronyms about how to deliver news that might make someone feel uncomfortable: BIFF brief, informative, firm, friendly
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AlvaDeer Nov 28, 2020
PERFECT
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This happened to me recently as well. A friend, who I would classify as in between an acquaintance and a close friend, had ramped up the "love-bombing" to the point I was a little uncomfortable ("We're like two peas in a pod", etc..., when we're not). She lost her partner very recently due to longstanding illness and asked me to be her POA. I am already POA for my elderly mother and older DH, plus I am mother and DH's health care representatives, executor of mother's estate, and backup guardian (soon to be primary guardian) for my disabled brother, who currently lives with mother. In addition, we spend a good part of every year out of state anyway. So my plate of responsibilities is already quite full and I am not a good fit. I declined politely, and this friend has noticeably cooled off toward me and I am sure this is a big part of why. So this only makes me even more glad that I did what was suggested and followed my gut. A friend who only wants a relationship with you if you can serve them in some way is not really much of a friend.
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How about: "While I am so flattered by your trust in me, I have some serious reservations about taking on this very big responsibility...especially since 1) we live quite a distance from each other and 2) our ages are close enough that I am very fearful of not physically being able to take on those responsibilities for you when the time comes that you might need someone else to take care of things."
My sister asked me some time ago if I would be the executrix of her estate when she passed; I asked her "you mean should your husband die before you?". She told me "no, he's not good at that kind of stuff." I told her I was not comfortable for the same reasons I listed above, and I wasn't willing to take on that job.
Good luck.
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You don't need to give her a lengthy explanation and don't sugar coat it because that will sound disingenuous. Something like "I've given considerable thought to being your backup POA and I'm sorry to say that for personal reasons, I won't be able to take on that responsibility." She'll get over feeling disappointed.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 22, 2020
I agree, short and sweet. She can be genuine but not lengthy in her answer.

Great response!
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Simply tell her that you feel the responsibility is more than you can handle. Leave it at that. No more needs to be said.
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My parents named their bank as the back-up after me and my brother. Suggest your friend do the same or line up a fiduciary.
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One thing I would do immediately is to contact the admins and ask them to eliminate the name of this friend.   By any chance, if she should see this message and realize how you feel, I think it would be very unfortunate.   Keep names and locations out of your posts, at least for this kind of request.

I think NotGoodEnough's suggestions were spot on, delicate but firm.

The inability to see her apartment, and apparently learn more about her lifestyle, is to me a troubling sign.
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“I’m honored that you feel you feel you can entrust me with this responsibility and I have weighed it carefully but I don’t feel like it would be responsible for me to accept. Having taken on this responsibility for my mom I know what it might entail down the road and I have to consider the other people I am already responsible for, if more than one of you were needing me to carry out these responsibilities at the same time I know I wouldn’t be able to cover it all as well as you each deserve and my husband/families needs have to come first. I don’t want to take on something this important without being sure I could do it well so I really think you would be better served to chose someone else as your back up.”...
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Lymie61 Nov 22, 2020
Oops, I missed NotGoodEnough’s response which is spot on in my opinion. I just didn’t see it till I read someone’s recent referral to it, sorry.
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I agree with notgoodenough's points: your friend's PoA should live in close proximity to her and be at least 15 to 20 yrs younger than she. Otherwise it will be one old person trying to manage another old person's affairs. And the chance that you precede her in death exists. Besides, you may be called upon to be PoA for your parents or another relative. And the chance that you may not live where you do now also exists.

I realize it may feel awkward to say no to her, but you can always follow it up by giving her other viable options, like suggesting a fiduciary or an attorney. She should create a Living Will and give it to her doctor so those decisions are pre-made by her.

I'm going to venture a guess that the reason she doesn't want you to see where she lives is because she's a hoarder. That would also explain why her family isn't willing to cover for her. Regardless, she deserves praise for having the wisdom to get her affairs in order!
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