Benefits of a Power of Attorney
One day, your older adult will need your help to manage their financial and medical matters. When that happens, you’ll need the legal authority to do it. That comes from a durable Power of Attorney (POA).
If their POA is in place, your senior will have peace of mind knowing that you’ll be able to care for them properly. You’ll feel better knowing that you’ll be able to step in when needed, without legal hassles.
Mom refuses to sign a Power of Attorney, now what?
Some seniors won’t accept the idea that they’ll need help or that there could be a time when they won’t be able to make their own medical and financial decisions. They won’t let you explain why a POA will help them, refuse to talk with an elder law attorney, and refuse to listen to impartial advisors (like spiritual leaders or elder mediators).
After trying all those things, you could try something different. We have an experienced support group leader to thank for this creative idea. It’s sneaky, but sometimes, using a trick is your only option. Of course, we assume that you’re only doing this to protect their best interests!
Tell your older adult that you’ve decided that you want to have a plan in case something happens to you. You want to create a POA for yourself and are choosing to appoint them as your chosen representative. As you both go through the process for your POA document, you could casually say, “While we’re at it, why don’t we just do yours too?”
If you don’t actually want them to be your chosen representative, you could pretend to go through the whole process, but not actually make your POA legally valid or shred it later. The important part is to convince them to do their own POA and appoint you or another trusted family member as their representative.
Include family in the process
No matter what, it’s important to keep the rest of the family informed about what’s happening with your older adult’s POA. This is especially critical if you’re forced to use a sneaky way to get it done.
In some cases, family members have challenged a POA, saying that the appointed representative took advantage of the senior and forced them to sign it. That leads to family troubles and expensive legal hassles.
If the whole family knows what’s happening and agrees on who your senior’s representative should be, there’s far less risk that someone will fight the POA later.
Having a Power of Attorney in place before emergencies strike or cognitive impairments take hold is essential for both seniors and caregivers. If your senior is really resisting the idea, you might have to get creative to get it done.
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Hanlon Niemann