Can non-POA review parent's accounts to stop sibling's power of attorney abuse?

Sdroads asked...

Can non-POA review parent's accounts to stop sibling's power of attorney abuse? A sibling has financial POA for a parent. There is strong evidence that some of the money in the parent's account is being used for that sibling's children. Is there a legal way in which the account can be opened for viewing if the sibling objects to resolve any power of attorney misconduct?

Expert Answer

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.

Unfortunately, privacy which is one of the benefits of a Durable Power of Attorney is also a detriment in situations such as you describe.  An agent under a Durable Power of Attorney is under an obligation to act in the best interests of the person for whom he or she is acting.  The agent under the  specific Durable Power of Attorney may also be authorized pursuant to the Durable Power of Attorney to make gifts as you describe.  So the situation may be either quite legitimate or terribly wrong.  If the parent is still of sound mind, you should bring your concerns to his or her attention.  If he or she is no longer of sound mind you should consult a lawyer about filing a petition for the appointment of a guardian or conservator to examine these matters.