I have durable POA of my mom and my sister want to change it. How Can I stop it?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 16, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

my mom has been diagnosed with dimentia many years ago and it has gotten progressively worse my sister is wanting to have poa changed to her name so that she will have access to moms money what do i need to do to stop this from taking place or is there anything i can do


Expert Answers

Ron Kauffman is a certified senior advisor (CSA), senior lifestyle radio host, syndicated newspaper columnist, and the author of Caring for a Loved One With Alzheimer's Disease. In addition, Kauffman is also the primary caregiver for his mother, who has Alzheimer's.

Dear Daughter with Durable Power of Attorney:

I understand your concern. The quick, simple solution to your situation is to take the original copy of the POA to your attorney - hopefully one that practices either elder law, estate law or family law - and have him/her review it, validate your position as POA, and send your sister a letter to that fact.

The letter should explain to your sister that your mother executed her POA years ago, and in her (mom's) current mental state is not competent to alter it. Therefore the POA will remain as originally written with her intentions as initially stated naming your as her POA.

As her POA, you will decide and control how your mom's money is spent, and continue to do so until such time as your mother passes away. When that event occurs, your POA immediately ceases, and the instructions in your mother's will or Trust will dictate what happens to any of her remaining assets, and the executor or executrix that your mother named will see to it that her assets are handled per her written instructions in those documents.

You should have virtually no concerns regarding your sister's threats to take over as POA as long as the original POA was properly executed and witnessed as per the laws of the state in which it was written.

A good local attorney can clarify this very quickly, and put your mind at ease by closing the door on any questions as to who is and will remain the POA.

Best of luck.


Community Answers

David c. clark answered...

Ron's advice is sound, but also consider finding a way to assuage your sister's concerns without giving up your DPOA.

This is an opportunity to improve your relationship with your sister, who will be with you for years after your mother passes. I think your mother might appreciate her estate bringing her daughters closer together instead of pushing them apart.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I agree that Ron's advice is sound. I have not been challenged yet but had the foresight to take take take the documents to an attorney who specializes in elder & estate law. The $$$ I spent was well worth giving me peace of mind. The bonus is that I now have an attorney to call on when needed.

The question to ask yourself is why your sibling wants access to your Mom's money? That sounds really suspicious to me. I highly recommend keeping good records. I expect one of my siblings to challenge me at some point so I'm already prepared. There are reasons why both my parents chose me to handle their affairs.Those documents were drawn up many yrs before they started to fail mentally.


Nana4nana answered...

I see this issue on all Caregiver forums. In my opinion; the one who challenges the POA is usually the one that is the least capable. I told my sister that I would love to have help. I then photo copied mom's medical bills, care bills- all that have my name as the responsible party. I totalled up her fair share and reminded her that should mom outlive her estate; I was very appreciative of her offering to help settled mom's debts! I also gave her a schedule of 50% of the days she needed to care for mom and that we could swap the doctor appointments. I promised her that any decisions I had to make regarding any procedures, she will be consulted. All she had to do was make a doctor appointment, take mom, and if her doctor agrees that mom is capable of making a coherent decision, she could have mom contact her attorney to make the necessary changes.

My sister never brought it up again :-) She still complains behind my back, but at least shes off my back.

Bottomline- in California the POA is on the financial hook because they accept, sign for all bills. The bills come in my name- anytime I sign for mom, I have signed as the legally responsible party.

Sad thing- most POA's don't realize themselves the debt they may incur.

So don't sweat it- when mom and/or dad is no longer capable of making sound decisions, no honest attorney will allow the change and certainly the doctor won't put their license on the line- after all- they've a medical record showing they've been treating their patient for a mental disease. The liability is just too great for them.