The Power of Trust: Being and Having a Power of Attorney

A grandfather and grandson discuss their relationship of trust and reliance.

James Young Jr. and George Clafin

Podcast Transcript

Host: Mia Bennett, Advisory Specialist, Life Management Services, Wells Fargo Wealth Management

Guests: James Young Jr. and George Clafin

[Mia]:

Hello, I’m Mia Bennett, an Advisory Specialist with Wells Fargo Life Management Services. For our clients, a Power of Attorney, or POA, plays a critical role as an advocate. But what exactly does it mean to be or have a Power of Attorney? Two of our clients, George Clafin and his grandson James Young, tell us in their own words what this relationship means to them.

[James]:

You know, when I was a kid, I was the bad kid, had to make my own mistakes. I had my neck injury in 2008 and I was working for my parents taking care of all of their stuff at home. Grandpa had to have knee surgery done. They said, “Jim, you go out there and start taking care of him” — and that’s how our friendship began.

Trust me, for the first six months, oh, I irritated him, pushed his buttons the wrong way. But I’d wake up at six in the morning, drive from Antioch to Oakland, wake him up, start working on cleaning his house, run his errands, you know, get him prepped for surgery. After that, I did all of his physical therapy for two knee surgeries, eye surgery, pacemaker, you know, over the span of three and a half years. That’s a lot of time that you spend with somebody every single day.

So, you know, like I said, I pushed his buttons but I know when to push and I know when not to push. But that’s how we became best friends. I put a million percent trust in him just as he does me. And I don’t have that bond with anyone else in my life and I never have. So I cherish that bond and being able to work for him as well and know that he’s fully taken care of — that’s priceless. That’s something that, you know, it’s amazing.

[George]:

You’ve got to learn that trust is a mutual thing.

[James]:

Yes, it is.

[George]:

It doesn’t work one way. It works two ways, period. When you can work to the point where you’re getting two-way support, then you’re in good shape.

[James]:

I remember the first thing, or the thing that grandpa had told me when things kind of seemed shady. We had family members that were trying to take grandpa’s estate, his finances — his previous Power of Attorney was illegally trying to give power to the wrong people and they were trying to take my grandfather’s estate. So I eventually came back when, (be)cause I had warned him that things didn’t seem right. And took about two years or so and he says, “Jim, I need you back” — and by that time we were already best friends. So I knew if he needed me, I had to do everything possible to come back and do everything I could for him.

[George]:

I didn’t realize it but I had a big deal to straighten out. And so he, I asked him if he could take over my Power of Attorney. He asked me if I’d take him as a Power of Attorney. We decided to join hands and join forces and so we did. I joined forces with him and told him I wanted him, he told me he needed me also, and he wanted me so we shook hands. He shook for his reasons, I shook for mine. I trembled and he just shook.

[Laughter]

And so from there on in, I was with him. And I got rid of the POAs, and we both felt comfortable. And if you feel comfortable with your POA, I think it’s worth it. And from there on, everything is different. Perfect and different. We just accepted each other perfectly and I wouldn’t have accepted anybody else. So between the two of us, we got together and we decided to take off on the trip of, the financial trip we’ve been on ever since.

[James]:

Well, one thing I definitely want to say is I’m beyond thankful for all of the services at Wells Fargo. Being a POA is definitely a full-time job, you know. It’s full-time, it’s overtime, it’s nights, weekends. So just in that general aspect of his health care and his life care, that was a huge benefit. Not including the aspects of taking care of financial issues, paying bills on time, whether it’s dealing with attorneys or anything else for the estate, working with the property, and you guys have made things so much easier. And I get to work for my best friend, which works for me.

[George]:

Works for me.

[James]:

You don’t work for your best friend.

[George]:

I do.

Photo courtesy of James Young Jr. and George Clafin

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