The person who has power of attorney is missing. How can we change the POA?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My cousin obtained power of attorney over my aunt last year. Since then, she has destroyed my aunt's house (which had belonged to my grandparents), sold her property and placed her in a nursing home. Under this power of attorney document, my cousin has all control even as to who is allowed to speak to my aunt or visit her in the nursing home. She has placed my mother (my aunt's only sibling) on the list for no contact because my mother refused to give my cousin money. Now, my cousin is missing. No immediate family members have spoken to her in months and the nursing home informed my mother that they have not seen her "in a while". To my knowledge she is no longer in the state where my aunt is located. My question is: how can my mother go about getting power of attorney over her sister? We are located 6 hours away from the nursing home and would like to move my aunt here so that she could be surrounded by family that cares for her instead of being left to suffer alone (she has early dementia and also some side effects caused by my cousin giving her drugs).

Expert Answers

Sadly, I have received many, many questions like yours from folks over the past few years. I am not at all an expert in elder law, and I am not experienced in what can be done when POA abuse is suspected.

If you aunt is mentally competent, she can revoke the POA at any time, either in a new POPA appointing someone else, or simply by a Notice of Revocation of the old POA.

POAs are a relatively new legal device. Unfortunately when abuse of a POA is suspected there is no body of law or legal decisions that I know of that give rights to other family members. Even here, when your cousin (the "agent"under the POA) has apparently disappeared, it is not clear what c an be done legally. Perhaps you cold be aided by a lawyer or center which specializes in elder abuse or elder law.

I wish I coould give you a more helpful answer