If I am granted durable power of attorney over my step-dad, can I overrule his unsound decisions?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 21, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother 91, is of sound mind yet not strong willed when it comes to standing up to her 99 year old husband. He is becoming more confused but still makes all decisions and manages their finances. Will a DPOA of finances and health granted by my mother to me supercede any unsound decisions my stepdad makes? In other words, if DPOA is granted to me and he wants to discontinue home health care for my mother can I overrule his decision?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com 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 may be a bit sticky to convince your mother to name you as an agent in her power of attorney, since she seems to defer to her husband's decisions by your description"”and she may not be willing to rock the boat.

However, it may be your first best bet if you feel your mother truly needs this protection from some bad decision-making.

If she's willing to sign a power of attorney naming you responsible for her healthcare decisions, it should be one that takes immediately rather than only if she becomes mentally incapacitated if you are worried that your stepdad may do something rash rather immediately.

If your mother is not willing to take this step in making a power of attorney, or you feel that it may cause more problems than it solves, you may need to try another route.

One possibility would be to call in an objective and trained outsider, such as a geriatric care manager, who could assess both of their health needs and make recommendations about the best way to meet them. You should be able to find leads through the Senior Living Directory on the Caring.com website.

If there is no geriatric care manger nearby r who seems to be a good fit for the situation, you might also ask for leads and advice through the local Area Agency on Aging, which can also be found through that directory.