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by Abigail Van Buren

Sister Declines to Act as Brother's Power of Attorney

DEAR ABBY: My brother lives in another state. He was never a good brother. He has always been self-centered, controlling and condescending. He is no longer in good health. Some time ago, he named me as his power of attorney for financial and health issues. I am elderly and have my own issues, so, should the need arise, it would be difficult for me to travel to where he is.

He has never been open, so I don't know who his health care providers are, who his banker or investment people are, etc., so, even if I were to go, I'd have no idea where to start to act on his behalf and according to his wishes. I don't even know what his wishes are, for that matter.

Because of his caustic personality, he has few friends and no family of his own. How do I resign as his power of attorney so there is no assumption by anyone that I would be a responsible party for him? -- UNABLE IN THE WEST

DEAR UNABLE: Discuss this with your attorney to be sure you have all your i's dotted and your t's crossed. Then write your brother a letter. Explain that because you have no information about his doctors, his wishes about end-of-life planning, his banker or investment adviser -- plus the fact that your own health isn't the greatest -- you hereby resign as his power of attorney. Send the letter via registered mail so he will have to sign for it, and there will be proof that your brother received it.

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