If a person has dementia can they change their power of attorney to someone else or is the first one still valid?

Asked about 4 years ago - Warminster, PA

My Mom lived with me for 6 years. I was her power of attorney for financial and medical. My sister took my Mom out for lunch and never brought her back. She sent her to live with another crazy sister in rural NC. I was allowed no contact. Both sisters emptied her little back accounts and had Mom take me off credit accounts and then didn't pay any of them. She said before leaving Pa. they took her to a lawyer and changed her POA. I never received a document to that effect. Mom had dementia before she left. I took care of everything for her. Now the dementia is horrible. She can barely talk and is very confused as to I have finally got in contact with her. I am going to see her come hell or high water. Do I have the right to take her away from crazy sister? Can I bring her home

Additional information

My Mom doesn't even know why she doesn't live here with me anymore. They took her in 2008 and I have only been permitted to speak to her 3x. I do think they got a new POA...my question is really is mine valid or their's. I did get information that she has had several strokes since moving there. The POA I have was written in 2004 when Mom was thinking clearly and did things for herself. By the time she left my home she required 24 hour care and I took care of her full time. I have to make this trip on Monday. I know I am headed for a hard time with my sister. What are my rights? Should I just take her out for the day and not return her? Honestly I don't know if she will let me see her at all but I have to try. My Mom just cries on the phone and I suspect she is being left in a corner and uncared for there.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Joyce J. Sweinberg

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . This is a very difficult situation for you. You most definitely should consult with an attorney in NC. As both of the attorneys who answered your post indicated, there is not enough information to give a quick easy answer to your question. Once you contact an attorney in NC, someone may be able to direct you to the proper authority there to help you. Trying to go to the house alone may not be a wise choice on your part, so you should see what possibilities exist by talking to the right people in NC, before you go there. It is also unlikely that your sisters will allow you to take her out alone.

    You have a POA and as far as you know, it is valid and it was executed when your Mom was of sound mind, so use it to try to see her. Your sisters will of course, produce theirs, if they have one, and this will set the stage for the authorities to have to step in and make a determination. This is not just a matter of your wanting to see her. At the very least, you want to have someone see if she is OK. It is a pity that she should be in this situation at this time in her life and I feel for her and for you. Wishing you the best of luck and the strength to forbear these difficult circumstances.

    JOYCE J. SWEINBERG ESQUIRE
    Attorney at Law
    105 A East Maple Avenue
    Langhorne PA 19047

    215-752-3732
    jjsesq@comcast.net

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information to aid the poster in finding answers to the problem posed. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. In most cases, it is best to contact an attorney directly to find answers to your problems.

  2. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . To revoke or to create a Power of Attorney requires that the grantor be in a sound state of mind. And, the witnesses to the signing of the Power of Attorney have to attest and swear to that observation of the grantor being in a sound state of mind at the time the grantor signs.

    If you suspect foul play contact the police and report what you know.

    You also may hire an attorney to investigate and possible sue for financial fraud against your mother.

    Your situation is too involved for an online answer.

    Using the written documentation you have is a good place to begin. Contact a local lawyer - many may give you a short free consultation - to discuss your specifics. Far too many variables exist in the short post you wrote for any further observation by me. Many attorneys have information posted here on Avvo.

    You might find my Legal Guide helpful "How to Choose A Lawyer For You"

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-cho...

    You might find my Legal Guide helpful " What Do I Tell My Lawyer"

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-do-i-...

    No one can know what the record is in the case because online we cannot see your documents. You need a lawyer. Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.

    Good luck to you.

    God bless.

    NOTE: This observation is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. This observation is not like a communication with a lawyer with whom you have an attorney-client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides.

  3. Glenn A Jarrett

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Your question raises several issues. First, are your sisters guilty of elder financial abuse? You might contact Adult Protective Services in the area of NC where your mother is living. Was your mother's dementia bad enough when she changed her POA that she lacked capacity? In order to take her away from your sister, you may need to start guardianship proceedings in NC. You need to talk to a North Carolina lawyer who is experienced in elder law issues. Check out www.naela.org to search for an elder law attorney in that area. Good luck.

    I hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below. Thank you!

    My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.

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