As POA, am I responsible for my father's behavior?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 08, 2016
Lori 47 asked...

I have durable Power of Attorney over my 87 year old father, who has dementia. He still lives alone and is physically healthy. He drinks beer every night. I cannot get him to stop. I know his dementia is directly related to this problem. He recently got caught with a DUI. Because of his age and his ability to bull**** people - even judges and the dmv - he got off with his hand slapped. He still goes out and swears he only has one. I know better. Am I responsible for his behavior if he harms himself or others while drinking being his durable POA? He will not stop. I've tried EVERYTHING.

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.

The person who posted in the community, Cheryl, gave some excellent advice about taking care of yourself"”and about encouraging or even coercing your dad to see a doctor.

In many states, the DMV will also accept anonymous reports from family members or outsiders who are concerned about a person's ability to drive safely. So do check with the local DMV about its procedures for keeping unsafe drivers off the road.

Also, it sounds as if your dad must be a near-constant concern for you, even when he's not behind the wheel. While being your father's agent in a power of attorney will not generally make you liable for his dangerous acts and actions, it may be time to consider having an outside guardian or conservator appointed to oversee his care.

In many cases, this arrangement is actually a godsend between parent and child, especially where there are issues of alcohol abuse. A guardianship allows them to maintain a relationship while another person steps in to control some of the tough decisions about daily living.

You can find some good background information about this on the Caring site at

Community Answers

Ckover13 answered...

Hi Lori, Thanks 4 the Hug, Back at u. Question: Has ur Dad seen a Dr.? If so, u can call the Dr. & explain whats going on, & the Dr. should be able to write or fax a statement to the BMV, AND/OR The State. Also get in touch w/ Adult Protective services, they usually work hand in hand w/ local law enforcement. I.m sure they can help you & lead u in the right direction. My Dad passed on Oct. 4th. 2010 He has 2 be happier now, because he "SURE wasn't HAPPY" while living. Sad but True. I feel 4 u, & wish u nothing but good things 4 you to come. Take Care of YOURSELF...This is SOOoo IMPORTANT! Best of luck 2 u dear, Hope this is of some help. :) Ttyl, Cheryl ( CKover13)