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Reply with quote  #1 
My father used to be an alcoholic. He still has the control issues. I realize he had a bad childhood but sympathesizing with him does not help. Only firm boundaries. I have to keep a neutral face and emotion and voice the whole time he is nearby.    I have been helping my mom for over 3 years now daily. I made it my job since I could not be in 2 places at the same time.   I am seeking legal power of attorney over my mothers inheritance accounts because he can't touch those by marriage. He has control over all accounts currently but should not have since my mom earned a lot more than he did working as a college professor for 50 years.  But he would blow up if he know I was doing this. I plan to get a mediator person to be present when I tell him if necessary when the time comes.     Anybody else in a similar situation? Any helpful words of wisdom?   thank you!
Reply with quote  #2 
From your post, I cannot tell whether 1) your mom has already named you as her durable power of attorney and you simply want to exercise that power (because she is incompetent or incapacitated), or 2) you are seeking to be named as power of attorney.

If it is the first case, where your mom is legally incompetent/incapacitated and you have the legal right to act, it might be best to involve a lawyer. Your dad is probably going to be extremely angry, but he may take it less personally if he sees your actions as part of a legal process that your mom set up in anticipation of her final days. 

A lawyer could determine which assets are jointly owned (community property/marital property) and which are separately owned (such as her inheritance), and make it clear that he cannot control of any assets he actually does not own. 

Now, if it is the second case, and you are seeking to be named power of attorney, your mom can easily do this as long as she is legally competent.  Please note that under a durable power of attorney, your decision making powers would only kick in once she becomes incompetent. As for how to inform your dad of her decision to name you as her power of attorney, that would be your mom's responsibility.  I would stay out of it. When the time comes, let the lawyer give him the news that you are now responsible.

Now if your mom is competent and she wants you to manage her separately-owned assets without involving your dad, one option might be for her to name you as a joint owner on these assets. Once you are named a full owner (... there are many ways to name a joint owner, so you would want to be given power to act singly...), you would automatically have control over these assets and your father would not need to be involved.  All statements and information could even go to your address.  There might be tax and other implications here, so be careful. 

If your mom is already incompetent or legally incapacitated, and you are not currently named her durable power of attorney, you might need to seek guardianship in order to gain control over her assets. Just so you know, it is very hard to get guardianship, especially if there is a competent spouse. 

No matter what, your dad is probably going to react negatively to anything he perceives as "losing control". To soften the blow emotionally, all messages should come from someone he respects (not one of his children) and should be presented in a way that makes him think there is a benefit in it for him or that there is a legal or moral reason something is being done. 

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #3 
thank you soooo much for your reply that is right on target!

I wonder what legal document can I get that gives me power to handle her finances both now and if she were not able to?

I thought a durable power of attorney would cover both areas or perhaps just if she became incompetent?   I am considering getting a written letter by the attorney saying I have access to her funds for healthcare and other needs and have this notarized in addition to the durable power of attorney.

yes you are so right have documents presented to dad by a lawyer with some benefit moral or otherwise like careful planning for moms healthcare to soften the blow to his ego it seems

thank you

Letting Go
Reply with quote  #4 
I had a Durable Power of Attorney for both parents, and I was able to exercise that power whether they were incompetent or not.

I think the other poster had it backwards. If you have Power of Attorney that isn't durable, then you can't use it once they're incompetent. If you have a Durable Power of Attorney, you can use it both before and after they're no longer competent.
Reply with quote  #5 
Durable power of attorney laws vary by location, so if you live in the US, it's best to contact a lawyer in your state.
Reply with quote  #6 
I just reviewed my mom's POA and I realize that it is a springing durable power of attorney (which only goes into effect upon incompetence) so Letting Go is right. As you can see, I'm not a lawyer..ha ha!

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