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They don’t want me to have power of attorney and even though I have a letter from his doctor stating his diminished capability of making legal and financial decisions they refuse to accept the fact that I am making those decisions for him. Legally do I have to get their approval or can a decision be made in spite of it? I have tried to compromise but nothing I try to explain is accepted even after giving them hard evidence. I’m at my wits end and I am OK with them going off the deep end. According to his investment manager who has reviewed the document there are no limitations and backs me 100%. I just need to know what my legal obligations are if any relating to my siblings. Please help

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My response to my older brothers and SIL when I was on the receiving end of this sort of nonsense was 'I have been tasked with representing our parents interests and since they have always kept their finances private I will continue to do so. I am making decisions on their behalf based upon information that I have as their POA and Executrix, information that is necessary in order make appropriate decisions'

When my SIL attempted to compare how her brother handled her parents and later their estates (forwarding monthly statements on their investment portfolio from the accountant to siblings while her parents were still alive) I pointed out that each family may approach this differently but the law is on my side and since this pertains our parents any further conversations to be had will be had with my brothers and not their wives or children.
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marymary2 Sep 2019
I love your last line and wish you the best. With my brother, he let's his greedy and abusive to me wife get involved and doesn't interact with me at all....
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As his POA you are required to keep his financial affairs private, yes, even from your siblings. They have no say.
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As everyone pointed out, as POA not only do you not have to tell your siblings anything...you actually have an obligation to keep those financial affairs to yourself.

Ok...so....stop talking about anything having to do with his money or assets. If they bring up the topic...just say “I have a legal obligation to keep his financial business private”. Say nothing more about it and change the subject. Repeat this phrase as often as the topic comes up, If they continue after a few times of hearing this from you (and nothing else) you could then Walk away or hang up whenever the topic is brought up.
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It's best to have every detail of everything you do meticulously in order. As POA you just set yourself up to be sued if you become secretive to siblings. Remember it's relatively easy for them to put efforts together to hire an attorney, and then you will be required to prove that you did things on the up and up. If you did, you have no worries...
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It sucks when families aren't all on the same wavelength. Just remember that your father chose you and not any of them, so obviously he trusted your abilities and integrity.
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First off, I'm an attorney with over 30 years experience in that area. Your obligation is to your father and decisions are made with his best interests in mind. The duty to provide information is a matter of local law, but I have never seen it said that there is a duty to keep matters private. I usually recommend a level of basic reporting similar to what others have suggested. You can be sued both during your father's lifetime and after his death for a breachvof fiduciary duty. That is worth avoiding even if the claims are bogus. Transactions that involve you or your family are different. In my state payments to you are presumed to be fraudulent and should be documented especially well. I find that family members react well to up front communication. You should consult a local attorney to help you understand your specific duties.
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marymary2 Sep 2019
From your line "families react well to upfront communication" I think you've never seen the dysfunctional many of us. It wouldn't matter what type of communication you use when there is animosity, hidden agendas and lifelong abuse patterns. You fall for what you see. There is often a different reality.
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So agreeing with others, Spotlover, though I completely understand where you're coming from, wanting to share information (and get moral support I'd wager). When I took over as POA for my mom, all us sisters shared information completely. We worked very well together (I live in a different state). I made a monthly statement of all Mom's business and mailed it to them so everyone knew it was all taken care of and proper.

Ensure you have an effective paperwork system so it's easy to store and find any piece of paper. (PM me if you'd like ideas. I'm happy to share.)

When I left my home and moved in with Mom as her caregiver, the dynamic changed. My sisters turned into Full Narcissists and took delight in arguing everything and criticizing everything I did. It was hell.

Then the accusations of theft started and their torment got even worse. After Mom's death, when Mom's lawyer got involved with "elder abuse" accusations the only thing that saved me was I had receipts for everything, and I documented actions or transfers that were out of the ordinary. I had a great filing system that helps project a "professional" work ethic (and saved a lot of time). Everything was documented to the hilt.

When Sister 2 questioned me with a list of questionable transfers (with answers demanded by Mom's attorney) I audio-taped our conversation. It's in my safe. The tape recorded all the questions and my answers and S2's on-speaker phone conversation to S1 to tell her everything was "on the up and up" and she was satisfied nothing was wrong.

My cautionary tale is that harassment could get worse. Certainly, you're doing your level best to handle all Father's business strictly correctly. Document like crazy. While Father's business is your primary focus, you must protect yourself.

I'm so sorry you're having to go through this tough situation and it's being made tougher. Best wishes to you.
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Your siblings have no legal right to know anything, and the less you tell them the better it will be for you. You have the durable POA, you make the decisions and maintain the accounting for your father. If they get upset, so be it.
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So many difficult situations. I don't have an answer. My situation turned out awful. I offered to move back home and take care of my Mom as my siblings were not in a position to do so. (I am eldest). I tried to keep them informed. My dad became increasingly suspicious of me. y sister never really trusted me, and neither she nor my brother would return calls when I wanted to inform or ask advice about situations and what to do. None of us at the time had POA. sometime during my tenure (before I gave up) my sister obtained POA over my dad, but did not inform me. I finally walked away because the whole situation was so volatile. Sadly, my Mom was caught in the middle: Dementia, and some medical problems that my dad was not equipped to deal with (I am an RN). My siblings refused to speak with me. A year later Mom died. about 16 months after that I was served with a lawsuit from my sister, claiming elder abuse. We went to court. fortunately the Judge saw it my way. I had excellent documentation for everything I did every time I went to my parents house and for everything I spent. The judge was very annoyed with my sister. And she found in my favor. (My sister is a lawyer, and at the time of the lawsuit a sitting judge in the state of California--it was the only legal case she lost in er lifetime as a lawyer). Sadly, I never spoke with my Dad again, and to this day I have no idea where my mother or father's ashes were scattered. I have not spoken to my sister since Mom died, and my brother for more than 3 years. Mom died in 2010. I tell this story so that you understand, that despite the best intentions, for some reason, siblings are at each other's throats. I have watched this for decades in my professional work as a hospice nurse, and working with those with chronic illnesses. So, regardless of whether you choose to keep them informed--keep meticulous records. You never know if you will need them. Some families do well and work well together, but with the contentions that you have, either be well prepared, or choose to walk away as I did. Both are very difficult. I am sorry that you are in this situation. ( My sister did manage to break my mother's will, and I received nothing, she was that vindictive.)
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AlvaDeer Sep 2019
Your story is horrific. It was a frivolous lawsuit brought by someone who could do so free. I wish she had suffered consequences of it in money, but who could afford to pursue it. A terrible story. And your story is but one we see here, if I very bad one. I think the worst of it is this warring over the parents. I would walk away, as you did. It is not worth it. Just walk away, even if they spend up all their money, because the war isn't worth it and often you cannot see the parent who is smack in the middle. I am so sorry this happened to you, but what a lesson you can teach HERE.
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Your legal obligations are your duties as POA for your father. You don't have legal obligations to your siblings.
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missmacintx Sep 2019
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Print this out for anyone who needs to know:
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/things-you-can-and-cant-do-with-poa-152673.htm

Question asked on avvo.com
(https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/does-a-poa-have-the-right-to-withhold-all-financia-741543.html):

"Does a POA have the right to withhold all financial information from the siblings
POA has all financial institution account balance and information sent to them and is refusing to share with other brothers and sisters."

Answers:

1.) A Power of Attorney has a fiduciary duty to the principal, not to the siblings. Thus, a POA is not obligated to share financial information with you and, arguably, if the POA did, he may be in violation of his duty of loyalty to his principal. If you feel that the POA is not acting in the best interest of the principal you may petition the court to review the conduct of the POA.

2.) The terms of the power of attorney itself may specify the level of disclosure of information, but Ohio also has a law that specifically permits certain interested persons (which include children of the principal) to request accountings from the agent. That information is different from "all financial information." The children have no more right to ask the agent for the parent's bank account and investment account balances than they would to ask the parent directly. However, the POA should not be secretive as far as use, expenditure, or transfer of the funds. If there are facts present that suggests the agent is abusing the authority granted under the POA, then you should retain counsel and pursue a court-ordered accounting if the agent refuses to provide one voluntarily. Also, this does not mean that the children are entitled to receive contemporaneous or monthly information. Please bear in mind that your parent continues to have a right to keep information regarding their financial situation secret and the children have no right to that information. (there is more on the web page.)

3.) My colleagues are both right. It is usually correct to be worried when one sibling keeps all the others in the dark about the affairs of an aging client, and lots of damage can be done with a power of attorney. Several years ago the School of Law and Government at Albany University revealed that 92% of Powers of Attorney are misused by the agent holding the power.

Despite that answer #3 (don't know how they came up with that high a percentage!), providing basic information to siblings if requested nicely should be fine (per the attorney who posted a response on this thread), however decision making and details are for the POA. Certainly if anyone has GOOD suggestions or GOOD questions about finances or care, then take them into consideration, but the actual decision making, medical and financial, are to be made by the appointee. Sharing basic information and being open to suggestions should be enough to qualm concerns of siblings, but many of us are aware that this is certainly not the case in many instances! If it were me, I would try once, generally twice, to share relevant information, but if they chose to ignore it and continue unreasonable demands, that's it. No more from me!

Do keep good records. There are those who will seek legal advice and try to wrest control from you. If you have good records, both medical and financial and anything else that might be relevant, they will likely not succeed. In reading more about legal fees in cases like this, it appears that the general rule is each side pays its own legal costs :-( There may be exceptions, so I would think if you have VERY good records, it can be shown that the case was frivolous, especially if you presented the basic records prior to the suit. It might even be enough to pass them from your attorney to theirs - if they can then "See the light", perhaps they would back off.

If anyone does sue for guardianship and wins, it will override any POA. So, you want to ensure there is no way for them to win!
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AlvaDeer Sep 2019
This is all great information. How good of you to get all this typed out for everyone! Thanks for this.
I think this says what we kind of know about sharing with the sibs. "You don't have to. You can choose to. They can sue you if they suspect fraud. Good records are your friend."
I have no siblings. As much trouble as all this can be I can tell you I would be more than thrilled, if they caused trouble, to go to court, tell the court "Here are my meticulous records. Now,due to their meddling I no longer want this job. But I know THEM and you can see for yourself that they are trouble. I want to quit. So please appoint a guardianship, and lets see how they like, with all their greed, to see funds disappear at about 90.00 an hour minimum for the work". EEEEEEk I would be furious.
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