Can my sister who is the POA for my mom remove me from the will?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother granted of the power of attorney to two sisters, while my mother has Alzheimer's, now as power of attorney for her makes a new will to leave the third sister out,(me) is this legal?? Now one of the sisters that has power of attorny wants to throw out mothers will and keep house for her own. The two sisters that has POA are fueding and poor mom has been forgotten while they fued.

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com 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.

It sounds as if what your sisters did may be illegal.

A person named as an agent in a power of attorney is authorized only to make manage the property and finances of another person, who is called "the principal" in a way that is in the principal's "best interests ”not for his or her own best interests.

Some financial powers of attorney, although not many of them, grant the agent the authority to rent out or sell a house"”but again, only if that is in the principal's best interests. And no one, whether or not they are named in a power of attorney, has the legal right to write or rewrite a will for another person.

In fact, if your mother's Alzheimer's has advanced to the stage that she is no longer able to understand what property she owns and who she would logically want to get it at her death, then she lacks the legal capacity to rewrite her own will.

Your sisters, with their pushy actions, are making a mistake that many people do when they're named agents in a power of attorney: That is, they assume they have complete power and authority to take over the principal's life. As my grandma used to say: They get too big for their britches.

If a lawyer was involved in finalizing the power of attorney for your mother, contact him or her to explain to your sisters what it does and doesn't mean. The lawyer should be willing to offer this bit of information free of charge"”as part of making sure that the document is used rather than abused.

If there was no lawyer involved or you don't know who that person was, consider hiring a lawyer for the limited purpose of making sure your mother "˜s best interests are being protected and that your own potential interests are protected, too.

Find someone who is experienced in handling elder law cases. While it is no assurance of high quality or a good fit for your needs, you should at least be able to get the names of a few such lawyers through the website run by your city or county's bar association.