A friend called me the other day and shared her concerns about being chosen to be the health-care and financial power of attorney for her mother. She had heard me speak on the topic and the challenges associated with the choice. Having to make critical decisions under overwhelmingly emotional circumstances can be trying for even the strongest of souls.
As I’ve shared in presentations and posts, choosing a POA (and making sure it’s the right person for the job) is imperative. (See FYI about POA). However; being named as the “chosen one” has its challenges as well.
Here are just a few:
- You may question why you were picked
- Others think they would have been a better choice and question why you were picked (
- Knowing when to step in to help someone in making difficult health-care decisions
- Having the strength to make the decisions that they would want IN SPITE OF your emotions and/or the emotions of other family members.
- Having the courage to make difficult decisions IN SPITE OF the criticism of those around you.
Sounds daunting but have heart there is hope.
Here are some steps that you can encourage the person who has deemed you the “chosen one” to take once they’ve made their decision
- Have a very direct and serious conversation about what they want/don’t want in certain situations. Use the “what if” blog as a starting point.
- Ask them to write down in DETAIL what they would or would not want done if certain situations were to arise (helpful tool – 5 wishes)
- Confirm that their decision to choose you as POA and their detailed wishes are written down (DON’T ASSUME). Make sure to get a copy of the paperwork for your files, and be informed as to the location of the original copy.
- Encourage them to share their decision, as well as their wishes with other family members so that everyone understands that this was their decision and isn’t about “favorites”. It’s strictly about who will be able to administer care directives in the fashion requested by the assignee.
Important point!!**Just because someone asks you to be their power-of-attorney does not mean you have to say “yes”. This is a VERY important appointment and should not be entered into lightly. You must be willing and able to follow their wishes IN SPITE OF your own thoughts, feelings or emotional connection. If you do not think you can do that, you should be honest with them and graciously decline and share your reasons.
(Picture Copyright: Obi-Wan Kenobi/Star Wars, Mr T/Meme generator.net)