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I am POA for my mom, and we asked her friend to be a successor agent in case something happens to me. Now I am feeling a bit concerned about the idea of bringing a third person into this legally. Could she ever get control of mom's money or somehow step in and make decisions in her own interest and not mom's?


She doesn't seem like she would, but I can't seem to shake this uneasiness about having someone else legally involved. Even though on its surface it seems like a good idea to cover the bases and have one appointed. There are not a lot of other options for people to appoint and it's less a question about her and more of a general question. Thx

Be careful! A POA is a powerful document. My dad's brother had an illegal POA made up with the help of my brother. As my dad's only LEGAL POA, I am now in a huge battle for my dad, both in where he lives and with his finances. They got him to close his bank accounts, his mailing address and have spent their time putting their names on his accounts and putting him on waiting lists for a nursing home!! Started when his 24 hour caregiver, a "friend" helped herself to THOUSANDS of dollars because my dad is a kind and extremely forgiving person. Then she helped herself to his car. My brother is listed in his Living Will as an agent but never made one decision for him until money got involved. It is VERY SAD but in today's world, I have learned that I can't trust anyone. Especially when a little power is given to them. My dad is with me today and I am still fighting to keep him out of being placed somewhere and to change back everything they illegally changed. That POA dad and I did several years ago is all I have to stand between an us vs them situation. Through many situations over the years, when someone is entering the final stages of life, even the best of friends but more tragically, close families, come out of the woodwork to start 'divvying up your stuff'... it took me a few years to learn just how important a POA is. If you're concerned, list an alternate in a Living Will that could include a clause that if your mom can't make decisions in her best interests for whatever reason, THEN someone else could be named. Do some checking, find out exactly how much the POA gives you control over and, from current experience, don't share your mom's trust. The thought that, "I don't think they would do that", is naive. They DO do that. Trust your gut. Trust God. He's the only one I trust.
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Reply to Sle247365
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What alternative do you have? You either have a successor in case you die or you don’t have a successor which would be worse for her. I’m not sure why your hesitant if you trust the person
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Reply to Sarah3
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Twilightzone: Perhaps you should pose your query to your elder law attorney.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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After my wife passed I made some changes..My elderly mother lives with me...I have both a relative and a close family friend who can each assist her if I am deceased before her...This way both of the individuals know and trust each other...and with the attorney these two can coordinate decisions if needed,,,
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Reply to Sooner51
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We have requested (from our Estate Planning Attorney) to hire a professional guardian service if I should pass before my husband who is on the long dementia journey. We have requested that they report to her so that she can keep them in check.
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker
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i know my situation isn't the same however i managed to remove a loved one's POA/Trustee and used a neutral fiduciary. they do charge for their time however it may give you peace of mind. my neutral fiduciary was appointed via the court (although i chose her) - she has to adhere to court rulings and also put up a bond. i don't know if this is the same without a court case however i'm sure you could look into it. there is a neutral fiduciary register i believe. i hope this is helpful for you.
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Sarah3 Nov 25, 2022
In some cases this is necessary, there are those w poa who are so power hungry they’re not capable of being neutral. How did you initiate removing them as poa? Was it a battle or a fairly simple process?
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Family comes first for POA, then friends. Be of sound mind, preferably at least one generation below you. There's no telling who to trust to designate handling your affairs on your behalf.

For myself now as a senior, I have two older siblings and one sibling's grown child, all living out of state, as agents in my limited family as legal POA. I live isolated without local relatives and cannot relocate with my limited income and resources until further notice. If I run out of help in the future, I'm not sure how I will be legally covered for my wishes, causing concern. I've thought of asking one of my agent siblings and my own primary care doctor for advice about this future's possible situation for me. Eldercare attorney is a choice but cannot afford to hire one without family contributions.

I am of sound mind now, but I have limited interaction abilities to make new relationships due to my disability.
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Reply to Patathome01
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In my opinion, there should always be a couple of people in line, so I was POA for my parents, next up was my brother, and after that was their bank's trust department.

That should save any concerns about a third party being involved, because a bank would be in a world of trouble if they messed around with someone's finances.

I recommend anyone who's getting older to use a smaller community bank where they actually get to know you vs. B of A, Chase, or Wells Fargo where you're invisible. My parents were very comfortable with their banker, and they worked seamlessly with me when I became POA because I'd gone in and met them with my dad before he died.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Thank you all for your answers. I will review it with an attorney. I think I'm just being overprotective but will check it.
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Reply to Twilightzone
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Tagtae Nov 25, 2022
I think in situations of life/death/money etc etc overprotective is not a bad thing. I found I was very paranoid when I didn’t understand the rules/documents. Hubby and I did the POA, last will testament etc etc (I’m his caregiver) and I made overly sure there was no way his adult kids would NOT have any form of power or inheritance or access to anything. I did this by every person i met I would ask tons of questions, even the same questions over and over, no matter how weird or unlikely. When I couldn’t think of a question I would ask “is there anything I should be asking or be made aware of or what the downside of this”. I even made plans for our dogs. God forbid I go first then hubby then his kids get the dogs. That would be bad. A lot devils in the details.
Now that I understand the rules of POA I am less worry.
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Yes, a POA can take advantage. It happens all the time on this forum. Is there some reason you seem to have this gut feeling? I believe in gut feelings. As said, if friend is Moms age, she should not be Moms POA. Has the friend agreed to be POA. If so, her duties should be spelled out for her. My Mom did not have alot but I would not be POA again for anyone.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Twilightzone Nov 19, 2022
Yes, she is mom's age. Yes she has agreed and signed. So that makes the situation more awkward. Mom trusts her completely. As did I when I mentioned it offhand. It's only on reflection that I'm questioning it. We haven't fully thought through what that means, it was just more of a 'who would you want to make a medical decision if I wasn't around" kind of consideration.
My gut feeling keeps getting stronger even though it makes no sense outwardly and I don't know why.
The POA was wide as it was intended for me to be able to handle everything and make decisions should she be unable to do so, say in case of a stroke or something.
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Successor POA only comes into effect if you are unable to act as mom's POA.

If it is not written as successor and is joint or co-POA your concerns are valid.

Here's the thing with POA, you need to have confidence and trust in the person or you need someone else. Because it does convey life changing powers to the person named.

I trust my gut. If I can't shake a feeling, I believe that is a reason to listen and act.

Perhaps reviewing the document with a certified elder law attorney and sharing your concerns can help create a document that protects mom as much as possible.

Yes, there are dirty attorneys out there, so you do your due diligence and put protections in place. Here's the deal when using professionals, they cheat and they not only get prosecuted but, they lose their licensing and their insurance gets to pay a nice settlement. They have more to lose then a friend.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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You express in responses below "what are the limitations of her actions" (I assume you mean IF she is the POA after your being unable to serve. Her limitations are the same of yours and are according to the document itself. If a licensed attorney did this document then it is written exactly and it enumerates the duties and the abilities of the person serving. This may or may not include any number of things even to the sale of home, the placement of person, the changing of investments and etc. Read the document, and if your Mom no longer trusts the second named then that is simple enough to change if she is competent to do so. If she is no longer competent to do so it cannot be changed. I wish you luck.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Yes definitely all things to think about. I guess my concern is, what are the limitations of her access in the situation? Could she for instance step in or challenge my decisions? Short of my demise, could she be involved in any way? I like the third party review idea (although maybe that could facilitate an elder abuse issue as well if it's the wrong attorney).

I just don't like the idea of bringing someone else (meaning her friend) into the situation legally although it was my offhand suggestion that we do so and mom liked the idea. I just can't shake this uneasiness. IMO she's already vulnerable enough that someone could take advantage of her trusting nature so I want to protect her from that. There's nothing her friend has said or done to warrant my concern -she's been a good friend to her. Might have this concern with anyone. I do want to do what's in her best interest.

We live together, I am not in another state or something. So everything she needs, I help her with.
Her friend seems nice, but everyone seems nice until they're not.
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Reply to Twilightzone
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If your mom's friend is as old as your mom, this person may not be the right choice. Money and access to it does change people and often financial abuse is a crime of opportunity. It may be best to have an attorney (who is part of a firm) to be the successor. At least there'll be other eyes on her assets.
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Reply to Geaton777
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Twili, to ensure mom's wishes are being followed everything should be in writing. This person should be paid for their time and agree to the responsibility, because she isn't covered if this friend says nope.

If you are concerned about self dealing, you require an annual audit by a 3rd party.

Our successor agent is an attorney and it is written into our POA when and how they become active POA and that a disinterested 3rd party does an annual audit. We even have what type of music we would want for music therapy in our directives.

You just never know what tomorrow holds, so laying it out in black and white is a true gift for everyone involved.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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There should ALWAYS be a successor and it is mom's choice. Successor is required to follow direction in mom's docs just as you are.
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