Can you receive power of attorney without consent from your parent or siblings?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Can one of the six children get power of attorney with out the six siblings, consents or with out the mother knowing she signed a power of attorney. A document was sign that the mother has no knowledge of and doesn't understand what power or attorney is. She is 89 years old and is not aware of such document.

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

It's not necessary for the other siblings to consent to one of them being named as agent in a power of attorney; that decision is up to the person who makes the power of attorney.

But what is of concern in the situation you describe is that the mother might not have had the knowledge or mental capacity required for her to sign such a document.

Specifically, there's a legal requirement that the person making a power of attorney must be "of sound mind." To satisfy the standard, the person generally must be able to understand what a power of attorney is and does -- and must also be able to understand that he or she is making one.

If the mother lacked legal capacity to sign the power of attorney, then it is not a legal document. If any of the siblings are concerned about this"”and it sounds as if they are"”then one or more of them should go to court to have the power of attorney canceled or revoked. They probably won't need to hire an attorney to help with this"”especially if your local courts offer good self-help centers to answer any questions. They can find the court to consult by searching the name of the city or county and "probate court" or "superior court."