Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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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?
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.
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).
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...
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.
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..
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.