Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New York

To Richard Bryan,

My father passed away on March 21st and resides in Puerto Rico. My brother and I live in New York. However, I am trying to get Power of Attorney of my brother who is mentally ill to represent him. I am asking is the form that I acquired from Staples of Durable Power of Attorney. May that document signed by my brother who resides in New York be acceptable in Puerto Rico when notarized in New York. So that I may handle my father's affairs whatever they may be there in Puerto Rico. No he didn't have a will/trust and yes he owned a home. It is just myself and my brother as his children. I do have a daughter who has 2 children. I'm just trying to settle his affairs.

Asked on 4/30/21, 1:11 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Tanya Gendelman Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C.

You should contact an attorney in Puerto Rico to handle your father's estate.

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Answered on 4/30/21, 1:54 am
Richard Bryan Richard Bryan Attorney PC

Please accept my condolences on the loss of your father.

Unfortunately if you brother is "mentally ill," a Power of Attorney signed by him would not be valid for any purpose. I do not know the intestacy laws of Puerto Rico or their real property transfer laws. Almost certainly you will need to begin the Puerto Rican equivalent of an Administration proceeding so that you can be appointed as Administrator of dad's estate and settle his affairs. Even if your brother had capacity to sign a Power of Attorney, that would not be enough to let you settle dad's estate. You need to be approved and appointed by the courts in Puerto Rico.

Once again, please accept my condolences on the loss of your father.

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Answered on 4/30/21, 10:27 am
Walter LeVine Walter D. LeVine, Esq.

I agree with the other answers, but raise several questions. Does your brother's mental illness mean he is not competent to sign the Power of Attorney or does it merely require medication to keep it under control, but does not effect his competency? This goes to the question of whether or not he can give you a Power of Attorney.

I agree you need to retain an attorney in Puerto Rico as your situation requires a complicated administration procedure rather than merely probating a Will.

Good Luck and my condolences on your loss.

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Answered on 5/01/21, 9:00 am

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