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If someone is given power of attorney because of alzheimers can they modify the patients will?

Reed City, MI |

My father sent me some documents to basically say I don't contest him having power of attorney regarding my mothers finances to help pay for her medical care. I am curious if he could use that power to modify her existing will that was setup before she was still of sound mind.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. No. A power of attorney does not allow the agent to change the will of the principal (Mom).

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:

  2. No. Most POA forms say right in the form that this cannot be done. I believe Michigan's new POA statute also says this, but I do not have it in front of me. I am not sure what the documents your father sent you say, whether they have any legal significance, or whether they are even legally enforceable. I hesitate to sign anything like this, however, without carefully reviewing it, and in your case, probably visiting with a probate attorney.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of 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. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

  3. A POA cannot be used to modify a Last Will. However, the principal giving the POA (your mother) must have capacity to give POA at the time she signs one. Alzheimers itself does not automatically mean you can't give a POA, but it does raise the question of competency at the time you signed the POA. If your mom is not competent, then a guardianship may be the proper avenue for someone to assist her with financial matters - this would be court supervised and more costly than utilizing a POA.

    While a POA cannot be used to modify a Last Will, it may be used to otherwise expend assets, re-title assets or form trusts with dispositive provisions different from the Will etc. It sounds like there maybe a family issue here with trusting dad to do the right thing. I would have an attorney look over the papers you received and discuss the ramifications of signing them.

    Everyone's legal situation is different. Comments here do not constitute attorney-client privilege or legal advice to your specific situation. Contact your own attorney.

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