Is there a speedy way to get power of attorney?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My sister is in the Icu and fighting several infections and in an induced coma on the paper work right now she has my nephew as her benefisiary! He is having his own issues with money and a place to live he has no job and is living in her house. I am just concered if something were to happen he will just take her money and run. and leave everything to the family to take care of. how can I file for POA before this happens I don't know how long she has and can't wait four weeks to get it all handled is there a faster way?

Expert Answers

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.

Securing a power of attorney may not be possible in the situation you describe. It is the person who requires the care who must complete and sign a power of attorney, and if your sister is in a coma, that's a physical and legal impossibility.

The only recourse may be to seek an emergency guardianship or conservatorship, which would allow someone to step in and manage your sister's money and property if she is incapacitated. Contact the local probate or superior court for local instructions on how to do this; most can be obtained within a day or so once the necessary information is provided.

This may work as a stopgap measure to provide protection until your sister recovers or succumbs to the illness.

But a few words of preparation for the longer run: Some courts will be hesitant to step in and change the status quo unless there is some good evidence that the son was actually guilty of financially abusing his mother. The legal reasoning is that people are free to leave their property to whomever they choose"”even if that person is a spendthrift who is likely to fritter it away.