I'm being fined for 'failure of safety' as POA.

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 31, 2011
A fellow caregiver asked...

I hold the power of attorney for my mother who has dementia. She left my sister's home and was missing for a couple of days and now I'm being fined for failure of her safety. How do I get these charges dropped and now I'm being asked to have her committed?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

As the agent under a Durable Power of Attorney, you are charged with acting in the best interests of your mother under the Durable Power of Attorney. This is what is referred to as your fiduciary duty. However, you are not a guarantor of her safety even though you must take reasonable steps to insure her safety. You should obtain a lawyer to assist you in defending yourself against whatever charges are being brought against you. In regard to whether she should be committed to a facility, you should consider having a geriatric care manager analyze the situation and develop recommendations as to the best way to provide for your mother.