My brother is abusing his POA - can we take it away?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 31, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom has died and the brother that have power of attorney has not been taking care of business. My mom passed away in February of 2008. He was using my dad's pension money that was being paid to my mom instead of reporting her death, and going into her credit union and emptying her account. He refuses to go to the bank and tell us what is in her safety deposit box. How do we remove power of attorney from a sibling?


Expert Answers

Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N. and Attorney is the author of author of The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents. She has over 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. As a nurse, she has extensive experience with geriatrics, chronic illness, pain management, dementias, disability, family dynamics, and death and dying. As a trial attorney, she advocated for for the rights of injured individuals and neglected elders. She is also co-founder of AgingParents.com.

It is possible to take the power of attorney away from a sibling if you have proof that he misused funds. Since your mother passed away, he no longer has the authority to act. You may need to seek the advice of an elder law attorney who can help you get a court order stopping your brother from any further misuse of your mother's funds. That's what's called a "civil" action.

In addition, if there is indeed proof that your brother stole funds that were your mother's and used them for himself while she was alive, he may be subject to criminal charges for elder financial abuse. If your county has an elder abuse hotline, that is a place to start. If not, you can contact your local district attorney's office. You will need specifics to make a report: dates, which accounts were misused, your brother's identifying information, the names, account numbers and other ways for their investigator to check the account records, etc. It can be very difficult to report a sibling to the authorities, but it is the right thing to do. It is also necessary to stop him before things get worse. I encourage you to get help right away, both from the civil elder law attorney and by reporting the apparent crime to law enforcement.