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How long does a power of attorney's term last?

Everett, WA |

I had been taking care of my grandmother with dementia for years in her home. My aunt, came up from Florida, and filed for power of attorney and put her mom into a nursing home. Then she went back 2 fl. I'd like to know if I have any chance of getting grandma back?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Q: How long does a power of attorney's term last?
    A: Indefinitely... until revoked by the maker or it expires by the terms stated in the power.
    Q: My aunt, came up from Florida, and filed for power of attorney and put her mom into a nursing home.
    A: This doesn't make sense... did your aunt go to probate court? did your aunt already have a PoA?

    You need local counsel to deal with these very serious issues....


  2. POAs if they are durable last until the death of the maker or until the maker revokes them. As for your aunt's actions, you need to contest them by retaining an estates/elder law attorney who regularly deals in guardianships/conservatorships in your area.

    Hope this helps.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.


  3. I agree with the prior attorneys and also find your statements confusing. Its really not clear what "filed for power of attorney" means. It is possible that if your grandmother had capacity she revoked her POA with you as agent and put the aunt in your place...more information needed here for certain.

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship.


  4. In most states a Power of Attorney is valid until it has been revoked or a new Power of Attorney has been executed.If your grandmother is still competent, then she could execute a new Power of Attorney. If however she is not sufficiently competent to choose a new agent, then she could not execute a new valid Power of Attorney. I like am not clear what you mean when you say your aunt "filed" for a Power of Attorney.Selecting an agent does not require a court proceeding. If a Court was involved, it is more likely that there was a conservatorship or guardianship proceeding. Whether your grandmother is better cared for at home or in a nursing home is a different issue. Should you wish to pursue this you will need competent legal representation. Hope this helped!
    E. Bonnie Marshall. Certified Elder Law Attorney


  5. You have presented a very difficult issue.

    First, it is generally true that your power of attorney is valid indefinitely. Washington has a statute that provides to that effect.

    However, your power of attorney could have been revoked by your grandmother - - - assuming that she had the legal capacity to make that decision. Also, you must review the specific terms of your power of attorney to see if it includes any language that would limit the term of its effectiveness.

    I assume that your question means that your aunt had your grandmother sign a new power of attorney giving your aunt authority to make decision on behalf of your grandmother. You would need to review the specific terms of any such power of attorney to determine whether it had the effect of revoking any previous power of attorney (which would include your power of attorney). It is also possible that your grandmother might have signed a separate document revoking a previously executed power of attorney.

    The best practice for such a revocation is to record the instrument of revocation in the office of the Recorder (or Auditor) in the county in which your grandmother is a resident. You could go to their office and review the recent recordings to see if there is any record of a revocation of your previous power of attorney. If you don't find anything, then I suppose you will have to approach your aunt to see what she says that was done.

    But the big problem here is this: neither you, nor your aunt, have any authority to force your grandmother to live in any particular residential arrangement. This is a free country. Your grandmother has the right to hire a cab and walk out the front door and go live where she wants to.

    But in reality, your grandmother probably needs some support in order to make arrangements for her own care.

    In a perfect world, you and your aunt would discuss what is deemed best for your grandmother and work together to help her decide what she wants to do. From the tone of your question, it seems unlikely to me that it would be productive to try to work together with her. However, if the two of you can't work together, and you believe that your grandmother's care arrangements are jeopardizing her welfare, you may have little choice but to seek to be appointed as her guardian so that you will have court-enforced authority to take care of your grandmother. Such an order could include the revocation of the previously executed powers of attorney.

    I recommend that you contact Barry Meyers. He is a Certified Elder Law Attorney who has a branch office in Everett. His number is 425-303-0330.

    Good luck to you.

    Dan Kellogg
    Renton and Kent, WA

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