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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27184
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I have estranged parents. Haven't seen or talked to them in

Customer Question

I have estranged parents. Haven't seen or talked to them in 12 yrs. had poor relationships for 20 yrs. Didn't know they moved to NJ from CA 10 yrs ago and basically lived 2 hrs from me for the last 14 yrs without asking to see their grandkid. My sister who haven't talked to them as well, told me she was contacted by some authorities that parents need guardian, dad has dementia and mom is very 'emotional and unstable' and can not live alone. My sister put our dad to the senior house and took our mom to live temporary with her and asked me to help with finding an assisted living for mom. I asked who will be selling the parents house and my sister told me mom is the owner. My question, do I need to ask to be part of the 'power of attorney' before I start helping with assisted living search etc. I work 2 jobs, a single mother and need to find time and energy to help people who haven't showed any interest to see their grandkids in 20 yrs.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Hi, I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Whether or not you need to be established as power of attorney is really going to depend on how involved you want to be with helping them. If you're just going to look for places your mother could live and give the information to your sister, but you're not signing anything or accepting responsibility, you don't need a POA. You would need a POA if you wanted to help with hiring a realtor to sell your mother's house, pay your mother's bills and otherwise manage her affairs. But you're not obligated to do those things, and if you're just offering to help do a nursing home search, that doesn't sign you up for any more responsibility (you can also stop at any time because you're essentially just doing your sister a favor).
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
no, you didn't understand my question: I will only help IF I have a power of attorney with my sister 50/50. But I don't know my rights here.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
My sister who is a lawyer but would not discuss all details with me, told me I can be forced to help or become a guardian by court but she wants to avoid court and wants me to help with paperwork while she is selling the house. I want a power of attorney solely or 50/50. So I said if the parents are capable of taking care of themselves why do I need to help and if they are not capable then they do need someones help legally and pfysically .
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
If you're both POA, you'd have to agree on all decisions or you could wind up in court any time there's a disagreement. If you were sole POA, that could avoid a lot of problems. It's true that she can go to court to have a guardian appointed if necessary but (a) courts are less likely to appoint someone who doesn't want to do it and (b) the court would never appoint you both in this situation. If she did wind up suing to have you appointed, it should be just you.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
In the POA documents, your parents can set it up so you receive an hourly fee for the time spent assisting your parents.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
so before I get involved in helping what should i do or say to my sister?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have a feeling sister wants me to help now, and when time comes she will be the one selling the house and getting all proceeds into her bank.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
She can't take the proceeds from the sale - the money belongs to your parents. If she tries, you can sue her on behalf of your parents for violation of her obligations as POA. But you can try asking her how she envisions the two of you working together, and how much she's going to pay for your services, to help you get an idea of what she's thinking.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Also, when you sell the house, if there's a realtor, they'll make sure any checks are written to your parents, meaning the money has to go in their bank account. And you can insist upon ALSO being named on the bank account as POA if your sister is.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
and how do we get POA at this point? do we need a consent from both parents? do we go to court? I don't mind being 50/50 with my sister. we can talk things through definitely of course we all have our own interests but at the end of the day we are normal people. Problem is our mother who is irrational and caused both me and my sister a lot of emotional pain at the time. But at this point my sister told me she was threatened by hospital/authorities (no details so far) to take guardianship or we can be taken to court and my sister is insisting on my help. So what about this? i want to have interest financial if I work here (i doubt my sister has money to pay me now) but in the future I want to be involved in the sales and yes decisions. do you see any weird things here ?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
If your parents are in their right minds and able to sign the documents, they would do the POA. Your sister actually should NOT draft it, even though she's a lawyer - there's a conflict of interest if she's both the person writing it and the POA. Any third party lawyer (and not someone else working at her firm) can draft the documents. The scope of what you're going to be allowed to do should actually be set by your parents. They might want help with some things but not others. They may want you to handle everything. They might want to give you some responsibilities and your sister different ones. Your sister isn't the one who'd be paying you, though - it would be done with your parents' money. If they're NOT in their right minds and able to sign, then you would have to draft and file a Petition to have them declared incompetent and the two of you appointed as POAs. Your sister could draft that document.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
my sister refuses to do power of attorney. shall i insist?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
You mean she's refusing to draft the documents, or she's refusing to be named as POA?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Insisting that she do it with you doesn't set the stage for productive interactions going forward. A judge might hesitate to put you two in a forced situation where you have to work together. But you don't need her to cooperate with you - you could talk to some other estate law attorney in your area about getting set up. Or talk to your parents about appointing you, and take your sister out of her position as middleman. I have to sign off for a bit for an appointment. This unfortunately happens sometimes because experts have no way of knowing how much time customers will need for follow-ups. If you have any more questions, I'm happy to answer them when I return. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
i am not on speaking terms with my my mother, my sister took our mom in her house but wants our mom to live in the assited living asap. i asked to have a poa signed but sister refuses stating that mom would not want poa. i said if mom is ok making her own decisions then assisted living is not an option. my sister refuses to have poa at all costs. i dont understand if i should insist or just drop it and just help with whatever i am being asked. but if i am investing my time and money then i need to be part of the decision making and if there is no poa i am not part of anything
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
You'll have a hard time working as a POA without speaking to your mother at all - a POA's job is to carry out her wishes, which means you need to know what her wishes are. The only way to get a POA without speaking to your mother, if your sister won't help, is to file a lawsuit asking to have your mother declared incompetent and asking the judge to appoint you. You shouldn't have to pay anything unless you decide to file a lawsuit. I don't know why your sister is refusing to do a POA, but in that case, you can refuse to help her unless or until it's been executed.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
my sister says that she doesn't want the mother ti sign off all her rights to us. sister says mother is capable to have her own opinion. im very confused
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
I can certainly understand your confusion. Like I said, you can help out without being POA. And your mother can authorize you to help out by making you a POA with regard to some matters while retaining her ability to make decisions with others. In order to bring an actin to have her declared mentally incompetent, you'd have to talk to her first. Right now, you don't really have any legal basis for saying that your mother isn't able to make decisions for herself, because you haven't talked to her and your sister says she's fine. Which means you'd only be POA if you can convince your sister to talk to your mother about it or by contacting your mother directly.

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