Can I become my grandmother’s POA without the consent of her current POA?

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Can I become my grandmother’s POA without the consent of her current POA?

My grandmother became ill and her daughter, my aunt, was appointed POA. Since then, my grandmother has gotten better but was put in a convalescent home and her daughter does’t allow

her or anyone else in her home. She also is taking money from her and uses her car. My grandmother does not want confrontation between anybody because she is scared of what will happen. She doesn’t even know who her lawyer is and no longer knows if there is a Will. What can I do to help? Can I become her POA without my aunt’s permission?

Asked on January 16, 2017 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your grandmother is mentally compentent, she can appoint anyone she likes as per attorney-in-fact or agent (that's what you call the person given power by the POA), and she can either revoke her daughter's power or simply add you as an additional attorney-in-fact. Your grandmother would simply need to execute a new or revised POA giving you the power. 
Your grandmother could also, as stated, revoke her daughter's power if she chooses and if she is still mentally competent. 
But your grandmother would need to "step up" and do these things--if she is unwilling to confront her daugher but is mentally compentent, the law will not force her to act; mentally competent people can make their own decisions, even bad ones.
If your grandmother is no longer mentally competent (or you think she is not), and you feel that her daughter is taking advantage of her, you could potentially bring a legal action to have her declared incompetent, to have a legal guardian appointed, and to have her daughter's power revoked by the court for misusing it and violating her "fiduciary duty" (duty of honesty and trusthworthiness) to her mother. But this will not be an easy action to bring, especially when there is already a daughter with power to act for your grandmother; if you wish to consider this route, consult with an elder law attorney.


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