Can a power of attorney sell a house that was willed to another family member?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 25, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My neighbors Mother and Father are both in a nursing home. They did have a will and left the house to her, but now her brother, who has power of attorney, is saying he needs to sell the house to help pay for their expenses and that whatever money is left over he wants it split between them. Is he able to sell the house? Please somebody help her with this question ASAP

Expert Answers

Judy and Fred co-mediate family property and financial conflicts, and each work individually as mediators as well. Judy Barber, a mediator and family business consultant, assists clients in resolving overlapping family and money conflicts so they are better able to make sound estate planning decisions. Frederick Hertz is an attorney and mediator who specializes in resolving co-ownership matters involving families, siblings, spouses, cohabitants and domestic partners.

The answer to your question depends on how the power of attorney was drafted. Sometimes they include the right to sell a house, and sometimes they don't. Your neighbors should be consulting with an attorney, who can review the power of attorney, and tell them what is authorized. Unfortunately, there is no universal answer to the question!