My sister has been hospitalized for the last few months due to having a stroke. Her husband is an alcoholic and barely showed up at the hospital. I am designated executor of my sister's will and pointed in charge of my sister's care in case her husband is not being capable. I believe her husband is not capable of caring for my sister. Can I obtain a power of attorney to stop her husband from selling all their property? What can I do? Get a conservatorship? Any insight is appreciated.
Please make an appointment with an attorney experienced in conservatorships. Be prepared to discuss the mental health of both adults, since it is their joint estate that you are trying to preserve. You will have to show that the alcoholism is actually impairing his ability to manage affairs. (The stroke will be easier to prove.)
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I agree with the prior two answers about your need to consult with a Probate attorney about having yourself appointed your sister's Guardian. I would add, however, that most (but not all) homes lived in by a couple are jointly owned. If this is how your sister's home is deeded then the husband will not be able to sell it by himself.
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Being your sister's executor does not give you any power in this situation, since your sister is still alive. Your question did not specify how you are able to make medical decisions for your sister's care. Perhaps your sister named you as her agent in an Advance Directive for Health Care. In any case, that also won't help you manage her assets, either. To allow you to manage her assets, she could grant you a durable power of attorney for finances if she has the mental capacity to do so.
If your sister lacks mental capacity to handle her own affairs, then you could petition the Probate Court in your county for Conservatorship of your sister. To get conservatorship, you'll have to show that your sister is so mentally incapacitated that she cannot handle her own affairs and resist fraud or undue influence. Being diagnosed with a stroke and requiring hospitalization is not enough. The law requires you to show her incapacity, as defined in the Probate Code. Also, your concern over the situation is not admissible as evidence. Nor is your opinion that he is an alcoholic. You'll need to prove the husband is going to do what you allege, more than just your suspicion that he will do so. And the court will want to know what is preventing your sister from protecting her own interests. Finally, California is a community property state, and each spouse has a right to manage community property. For this reason, if your sister has capacity and is really afraid her husband may dissipate their community assets, she could consult with a family law attorney to discuss possible divorce proceedings or other action to keep her husband from harming her interests. And, as was previously mentioned, real property titled in the name of joint owners generally needs the agreement of all the owners before it can be sold.
The proper legal way to solve this problem is to ask to be appointed as your sister's conservator of her person and estate.
Your sister's husband will require her signature to convey any title to real property. He can largely sell most untitled personal property. If your sister is lucid, you can obtain POA. Legal counsel is strongly advised, if the property is worth a lot of money.
From the limited facts that you have given, it does not appear that there is any available relief other than filing a Petition to establish who is a temporary conservator for the conservatorship or your sister. It is somewhat complicated so move forward quickly and retain experience of a conservatorship counsel.
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