Siblings disagree over selling parent's house

A fellow caregiver asked...

Do I have any rights as a sibling? My sister has power of attorney and wants to sell my mom's house in New York. Mom's still alive in a nursing home & not deemed incompetent..

Expert Answer

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for Caring.com.

Since your sister has power of attorney, she can make financial decisions on your mom’s behalf. To sell your mom's house, the power of attorney document your mother signed needs to be all-encompassing, or it should specifically state that your sister has the power to sell your mother's real estate assets.

If you can't convince your mother to revoke the power of attorney, the only way to challenge your sister's authority is to go to court and petition to be your mother's guardian or conservator. This is a time consuming and expensive process. You would also have to demonstrate that your sister is not acting in the capacity to which she was appointed.