Not A Good “POA”

My husband Cliff is the POA for his father who has had a major stroke and is basically a zombie. Cliff takes care of the financial side of things but rarely visits and never goes to the hospital when his Dad is taken there. My husband counts on “the system” to do the caregiving for his father. He “manages” his Dad’s affairs but his lack of care giving skills drives me crazy.


Hi Allison:

I have met all kinds of people who are given the role of POA. Many times it goes to the most “business like” person in a family. From what I have seen, this often is a poor choice for a POA. These people are indeed business like – sometimes too business like. They lack the compassion to care. Some POA’s who are business people are so busy running their business, that they have very limited time or interest to devote to being a good POA. I have heard of situations where the POAs have forgotten to pay basic bills, file tax returns and refuse to spend money on simple things like haircuts.

I suggest that you do your best to add some compassion into your husband’s thought process. Try and get him to see beyond the “management” of your Father-in-law.

Mostly I suggest that if you think that your husband is doing a poor job of taking care of his Dad, he may act in the same fashion toward you someday. Knowledge is power and history does have a habit of repeating itself.

Check with a lawyer, but you should not be surprised that you cannot change much in your Father-in-law’s situation but you can decide who will be your POA. Just because he is your husband, does not mean he has to, or should be your POA.

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