My Mom has terminal brain cancer, but has not yet given up control of her finances. She is fiercely independent, but as time goes on, her ability to make sound decisions is fading. I'm genuinely worried that my family members are waiting in the wings to make sure they get their "share". She has signed and notarized a durable POA naming me and my sibling as joint-POAs. She has the "springing" feature that can only be acted upon when her doctor and one of the joint-POAs deem her incapacitated. Being a joint-POA with my sibling presents its own issues. I am trying to do the right thing caring for my mom, but her difficult personality, and the potential issues that will arise from distrustful family members makes me want to be as prepared as possible for anything that is coming my way. Here are some specific questions I'm hoping anyone can help with...

Invoking the POA

- How is a medical and financial power of attorney initiated? Does anything need to be filed with the state?
- Do we need attorney services to interpret the and enact the POA?
- Is there a standard form that the doctor and one of the co-conservators needs to fill out and attach to the POA?
- Once we have enacted the POA, how do you use the documents? Do the originals suffice as proof? How are they validated and authenticated?

Joint-POA Terms and Language

- Does the first person nominated have more authority to act than the second?
- What determines if a person is unwilling or unable to act as a co-conservator?
- Is it possible to prevent one of the co-conservators from obtaining a copy of the POA and acting alone?

Thank you for any feedback!
In A. Pickle

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Thank you very much for all of your responses. We are definitely going to take your advice. Have a great day!
Helpful Answer (0)

Pickle, some of your questions could be answered by some of the very knowledgeable folks here, but there are a lot of them, and none of us have access to the documents, which would be necessary to address some of the issues.

I think as do others that it's necessary to have an informational meeting with the attorney who drafted the document and have your questions answered.

E.g., whether or you and your sibling need to act in concert depends specifically on the wording in the POA. My father's provided that my sister and I were co-proxies, with authority to act independently. If that's the case, then your sibling could act w/o your knowledge.

I'm curious though how a co-conservator enters the picture. That's not the same as a proxy under a POA, unless I'm mistaken. Are there in fact co-conservators involved?

If so, this complicates the issue of who acts. I'd clarify this ASAP with the attorney who prepared it, and raise any other issues that might arise given that your mother has terminal cancer.

One of your questions addresses a medical POA. Has your mother executed a Living Will or any other document, including a DNR, authorizing someone to make medical decisions for her? Given that she has terminal cancer, this is critical.

I have an unsettling feeling though that someone other than an attorney prepared the POA.
Helpful Answer (2)

If it truly appoints you and sib as joint POA then every document and decision would need both of you to sign and/or be present. As the others have already said, get legal advice.
Helpful Answer (1)

You need to talk to your Mom's lawyer ASAP as that is the person who can best answer your questions and correct any problems that you and he/she discover.
Helpful Answer (3)

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