Power of Attorney - Sibling Issues
My father is in the early/mid stages
of dementia and had previously listed
both me and my sister as durable
Power of Attorney. Not as partners
but if I am unable or unwilling to
perform then she would step in.
Unfortunately, due to a 3 y/o
personal rift between us (we are
estranged), she will not sign the
document as she feels in doing so
she will have no legal recourse if she
feels I mismanage things.
I have yet to need the document but
see the time coming very soon. Is
the document still legal if her name is
on it but she has not signed it?
Also, to what extent am I obligated
to share my decisions as Power of
Attorney with other family members?
Although I have managed my
father's affairs scrupulously in the
past, where money is involved I
know her ''emotions'' may get out of
hand. Am I obligated to respond to
any accusations that have no basis?
I am Power of Attorney for both of
my parents as they trust me
implicitly. Unfortunately these are
large estates and I need advice on
how to protect myself if things get
ugly. I'm hoping I am not obligated
to hire lawyers if my siblings question
every move I make!
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Power of Attorney - Sibling Issues
First, if they have not done so already, it would be a horrible mistake to not have both your parents see an Elder law attorney NOW, while hopefully they are of sound mind, to handle all their estate matters. This is especially true with large estates. If the POA you mention is part of that plan, the attorney needs to be consulted about the validity - we don't have a copy - and your parents and the attorney should discuss other options to get the result they desire. It is, after all, their estate and decision. In the end, the best way to prevent problems is probably to reconcile with your sister. It might also be a late gift to your parents. In some cases, you might be able to later get an attorney at the expense of the estate, but that will be based on the specific facts.
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