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