Can a son who is his father’s medical power of attorney overrule his father’s wishes and choices?

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Can a son who is his father’s medical power of attorney overrule his father’s wishes and choices?

Can he forbid the caregivers at the assisted living facility where his father resides to speak to his daughter regarding her father’s care or health?

Asked on January 26, 2016 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, he may not, and the facility is wrong. A power of attorney is NOT the same thing as being the guardian of a mentally incompetent person: the attorney in fact (the person with the POA) may not overide the wishes of his principal. (The attorney in fact acts for the principal when the principal cannot--it's a convenience thing, not putting the attorney in fact in charge of the principal.) If the facility will not recognize that basic tenant, the easiest way to get around it would be for you father to executed a modified POA, which replaces the earlier one, and which specifically limits his son's authority and expessly states that in the event of a conflict with your father's wishes or instruction, your father wins.


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