How can I take over the POA my now late sister held for my mother?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

I am the only surviving child of my mother. My sister just died and was power of attorney for our mother. My sister's husband just had my mother sign 5 blank checks, supposedly for her bills. My mother is in a nursing home here in Ohio. She suffers from dementia, the only real health threat at her 86 year age. I want to become power of attorney as I love my mother and visit her daily at the nursing home since her admission there two months ago. My brother-in-law is reluctant to change me over to power of attorney, along with his sister and children. Do I have the right to be her power of attorney? She lived with them until her admission to the nursing home and they have told me they have lost records for my mother's wishes and other important papers. Please help I am up against all of them alone.

Expert Answers

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.

If your mother has dementia, she does not have the ability to make a viable check. Nor can she appoint anyone as her agent under a Durable Power of Attorney because that can only be done while someone is competent. I suggest that you contact a lawyer and discuss filing with a court to be appointed as your mother's guardian whereby the court would grant you authority to act on her behalf.