If you have multiple siblings and your parents are aging, it's common to have a family meeting at which your parents will appoint their power of attorney. While some people choose to have their children perform this role together, another approach is to ask one child to be the power of attorney. If you assume this responsibility, you'll want to be cognizant of the fact that conflicts with your siblings could arise. After your parents' passing, everyone will be experiencing stress to some degree, and this can lead to problems — especially if there's a bit of resentment that you're the power of attorney. Here are some tactics that you can employ to avoid conflicts.
Keep Them Informed
One of the simplest ways to lower the risk of conflicts with your siblings is to keep them informed about what you're doing. While you're under no legal obligation to do so, providing regular updates shows transparency and also helps your siblings to feel involved in the process of dealing with your parents' estate. Phone calls, emails, and text messages that provide quick synopses of what you've recently accomplished and what you'll be tackling next can compel your siblings to feel that you're doing a good job.
Keep All Of Your Travel Receipts
If you need to travel for this role, which is common if you live in a different area than your parents, you have the right to be reimbursed for your travel-related expenses. Some siblings may be untrusting and feel as though you're paying yourself whatever you want, rather than merely reimbursing yourself from your parents' estate for your travel expenses. Make sure that you keep each of these receipts so that you can share them with whatever sibling asks for proof.
Avoid Extravagant Travel Expenses
While it's true that you are entitled to reimbursement for your travel expenses that you incur while performing the role of power of attorney for your parents, you'll quickly create conflicts with your siblings if you share the receipts and they appear to be extravagant. For example, if you have to fly to your parents' city and spend a couple days dealing with their affairs, think of how you can be prudent financially with this trip. If you book a first-class ticket, stay in a five-star hotel, and eat at only the finest restaurants, and then reimburse yourself for everything, you might understand why your siblings are raising their eyebrows at your behavior.
To learn more, talk to an estate planning attorney at Robert Bruce Jones Attorney.