Legal Question in Elder Law in Georgia

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!

Asked on 3/06/09, 12:45 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Scott Riddle Law Office of Scott B. Riddle, LLC

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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Answered on 3/06/09, 6:29 am

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