My sister became POA for our Mother ( Grantor) in an Irrevocable Trust a year ago.
Since that time she has cared for our mother at her home and placed our mothers home into the Irrevocable trust . Our Sisters' Lawyer had the Grantor sell the home to our sister the POA
for $1. Myself , my two brothers and our Sister are Beneficeries of all the Assets.
The POA is now attempting to sell our mothers' House which we are all opposed to inclu ding our mother
.She has also spent over $70 k on an addition to her home claiming she needs the extra space to care for our mother.We feel that all the expenditures are over done.
and we do not have any clear accountin g from her.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
I am terribly sorry that you are faced with this problem.
You should definitly speak with an attorney specifically someone with probate experience who can help explain your options for not only removing i.e. revoking her Power of Attorney, but for also possibly seeking damages. Most attorney's offer a free consultation - it would be well worth 45 minutes of your time to speak with someone who at the very least can point you in the right direction.
I wish you all the best.
Elder Law Attorney
I am slightly confused with your question. If there is an irrevocable trust, then there is a trustee for the trust. Your sister as POA cannot just go in and sell the house, unless of course she is also the trustee. Further, if she is spending your mother’s money on a house that she no longer owns, MassHealth is going to have a big problem with this. It further sounds as if your mother is competent enough to revoke the POA and “fight back” if you will.
I recommend that you discuss this matter with an Elder Law attorney. I would further recommend that you bring your mother to such an appointment. I would want to appoint a new POA and review the Irrevocable Trust to see how it works and what options exist. I am sure that the trust contains rights to the grantor during her life time. It is however not typical to grant rights to the future beneficiaries. But every trust is different and the devil is in the details.
If in fact your sister has breached her fiduciary duty, then you are looking at litigation to correct the situation. As you might guess, this would place a significant strain on family relations. I would caution you before you took such drastic steps. The best advice that I could give now would be to get everyone to sit down and discuss the matter.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have an office in Reading.. My practice is focused in the areas of elder law, estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.
Elder Law Attorney
I'm a little confused -- do you mean to say that your sister is the Trustee of the Trust? A trust is not managed by an attorney-in-fact.
If you believe that your sister is mismanaging the trust, you need to see a probate litigator to have the trust document reviewed. There may be a mechanism in the document by which the trustee can be removed; otherwise, you'll need to get the help of the court.
Also, have you formally asked for an accounting -- that is, in a letter? Send a letter to your sister, certified mail, to request an accounting and an inventory of trust assets. If she does not produce an accounting in a reasonable amount of time (say, thirty days), you can have the court order her to do so.
E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.