If my mother gave me Power-of-Attorney in her married name, can I affix both her maiden and married name to documents?

My mother is the administrator of my grandfather’s estate and incarcerated. She is due to receive an inheritance. However, she is named in the estate under her maiden name, yet she legally changed her name when she got married and is now in jail under that name. She gave me POA while in jail, however, as she did not possess identification under her maiden name, the notary would only grant me POA under her married name. She now wishes to sign her portion of the estate over to me, and I want to know if I can affix her maiden name to the document under POA?Is POA valid while in probate?

Asked on September 12, 2010 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I really would not do anything here until you speak with an attorney in your area on the matter.  First, you can not and should not touch the POA. It would not be a valid document if you added or deleted information that was not verified by the notary.  The inheritance issue is easily explained in an affidavit that explains her change of names and including a copy of her marriage certificate.  But what concerns me here is her ability to act as the Administrator of your Grandfather's estate due to her incarceration and on many levels.  Can she give you her inheritance? Yes, she can but there should be state specific law as to how.  Just renouncing it will not guarantee that it goes to you. And she can not be doing so to avoid payment to someone or some organization.  That could be fraud.  Seek legal help. Good luck. 


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