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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34293
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My sister held a general power of attorney mother's affairs.

Customer Question

My sister held a general power of attorney for my mother's affairs. In the document I was designated second agent to take over the healthcare portion if my sister was unable to execute her duties. I was never informed that I had been named and in the interim my sister became ill and her husband put my mother in a facility without informing me. I was not informed for 9 years until shortly before my sister passed away. I had a family promise to always care for my mother and never put her in a facility. Were my sister and her husband's action of not informing me and her husband's action of putting my mother in the facility legal?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 12 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Were my sister and her husband's action of not informing me and her husband's action of putting my mother in the facility legal?

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Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Sister and husband had no legal duty to inform you of any power or rights that you might have had to make medical and care decisions for mother. It would have been mother's obligation when the original durable POA was executed to notify the primary holder and any successors that they had that authority.

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With that said, the husband would have had no legal authority whatsoever to place mother into a home if he wasn't named as a holder of any POA and the facility should have required your sister to sign off (which may have occurred).

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
thank you, ***** ***** do not know how my mother could have informed me that my sister could not care for her as my mother suffered from dementia
Expert:  Barrister replied 12 months ago.

No, that is not what I am saying....When the original POA was signed however long ago, mother would have had to have been competent to sign it at that time. It might have been years before.. It would be at that time, long before mother's illness made her incompetent, that mother would have needed to notify you that you were the backup POA in case sister was unable to perform in that role.

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It is the person who makes the POA who has to notify anyone involved in the POA that they have certain powers and when they become active..

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So had mother notified you that you were the successor, you could have checked in on her with sister from time to time and when you became aware that sister was ill, you could have stepped in.

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thanks

Barrister

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