Can I stop my siblings from changing my mother's power of attorney?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 07, 2016
Sawask asked...

I have been the power of attorney for my mother for the past eight years. My mother recently had a stroke. My brothers and sisters have convinced her to change her power of attorney to one of them. Is there anything I can do to block this from happening? As the current power of attorney, can I contest the change?

Expert Answers

The person who gave, or authorized, the power of attorney is called "the principal." The person appointed to act under the power of attorney is called the agent, or "attorney-in-fact." The principal can change or revoke the power of attorney at any time, as long as she is mentally competent when she does so, and does not do it because of fraud or undue influence.

If you believe that your mother was not mentally competent when she changed her power of attorney, and/or if you believe that she changed it due to duress or undue influence by your siblings, you could go to court to contest the change. The fact that you are your mother's former agent does not, by itself, give you any special authority or standing to bring this proceeding.

Court proceedings require a lawyer, and are therefore expensive. Also, a court proceeding to determine if your mother was mentally competent will be unpleasant (at least) for all concerned. Finally here, you would need persuasive evidence that your mother was not mentally competent, or had acted under duress or undue influence. I suggest that only if you believe there is a serious risk that your mother's new agent will not act in your mother's best interest should you consider filing a court proceeding.