Can my step-dad's power of attorney deny me a picture?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 29, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Have been denied my step father's picture by his Power of Att.(his half-sister).We live in different states and I was there in '06,07,08 and 09.In'07, my dad was put in nursing home(becuse of alzheimers)when mom fell and broke hip (she had severe osteophrosis also)and was placed in the same nursing home. I went each year for 3 or more months to help and stayed in their home. I was left house in both wills. I had a stroke several years ago and have mid-brain damage and easy to talk into things. POA sold house and put into payable upon death account to me.We are only to have contact through attorneys.He still sits in nursing home. I feel powerless, living on disability is not easy right now and being denied a picture of my dad has me ready to do I don't know what!!! I do know there is no money for attorneys...any helpful ideas...oh yes everyone involved seems to hate me since my mom died.The tears come way to easy. Thanks for listening.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

It sounds as if your father's half-sister is simply being mean-spirited. Giving a person a picture"”or refusing to give a picture, in her case"”is simply not the business of a person designated in a power of attorney. Her only real concern should be making decisions that are in your stepfather's best interests.

But if it would make you feel better to have and hold a picture of your step-father, there may be a number of other ways you could get a current one.

If you are on friendly terms with other people"”perhaps a friend or a neighbor or another relative"”who visits your step-dad, you could simply ask them to snap a picture for you when they go visit. Most people have some sort of camera"”and even most cellphones these days take pretty good pictures.

If you don't know of an outsider who visits you stepfather, then consider calling the nursing home administrator and briefly explaining your wish for a recent picture. Many nursing homes regularly take pictures of their residents, so there might even be one on hand. Or the administrator may simply be willing to take a snapshot for you with a camera or cellphone.

And if that request doesn't work, consider contacting the ombudsman at the nursing home for help"”again explaining your simple wish for a picture. Ombudsman are supposed to help take care of problems that residents and family members may have there. This request is a little outside the usual concerns, but it seems simple enough to satisfy, so you may well find an ombudsman who is willing to cooperate.

You can find the particular ombudsman assigned to your step-father's nursing home through the national website at: