What happens if a power of attorney dies, can the spouse take over?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2016
Concerned neighbor asked...

My elderly neighbor's daughter is dying and not sure if the husband is also active as power of attorney but he is concerned that when his daughter dies the husband will lock him up in a nursing home and keep his money. What can he do? What happens when she does?

Community Answers

Ca-claire answered...

It all depends on what the Power of Attorney says. If there is a listing of who takes over should the person with the POA dies, or chooses to relinquish their power. I would ask the daughter, if you know her well enough, or ask your neighbor. It's possible that the daughter, or the neighbor, has already taken care of the succession issues.

Jpa answered...

Thank you for your question. It makes complete sense to me that your neighbor is concerned for his situation.

Your neighbor needs to determine determine who the appointed individuals are in the Power of Attorney (POA) document - After his daughter, who is next in line as the appointed individual?

There are three options: Option A: There is someone listed and it is your neighbor's daughter's husband - in this case speak with you neighbor. He can speak with his daughter about the situation or ask a lawyer to amend the document to his desire.

Option B: There is someone listed and it is NOT your neighbor's daughter. Your neighbor should be comfortable with whomever that person is.

Option C: There is no one listed. Your neighbor can then appoint someone. If he does not currently have the capacity to do so the state may appoint someone. The appointment is often given to blood relations (another child for example) before it is given to non blood relations like your neighbor's daughter's husband.

Bottom Line: Your neighbor has every right to adjust his Legal Power of Attorney at any time for any reason (unless he does not have the mental capacity). Your neighbor should feel confident that if he doesn't like the arrangement he can call a lawyer and have any portion of the Legal Power of Attorney amended.