Do I have a priority over my aunt when it comes to my father’s power of attorney for medical/financial decisions?

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Do I have a priority over my aunt when it comes to my father’s power of attorney for medical/financial decisions?

A few day’s ago my father got in to a motorcycle accident. Right now he is

in a coma. I was told the day of the accident that since he was not married and has no other kids but me, that I was the only next of kin. They had to have me sign for a consent in regards to his medical care. A few days later, my aunt told the hospital that she is his medical advocate but would not show the hospital any paperwork for that. After a few days, she came back with paperwork which I was told that I was not allowed to see. The hospital explained to me that she provided paperwork for the medical care and that I need to let my aunt consent and sign for his care from here on out. The thing that makes me upset is that my aunt came out of no where when this happened. As soon as my father was in the hospital, she came up got his clothes, took his house key and went to his house while I had no idea. They would not give my aunt his wallet or phone which was locked up with security. I was the one they released that stuff too. When I went by his house to get his mail and cut his grass and to make sure his mortgage and stuff got paid, my aunt and another women where on his porch. I waved to them and went to park but when I got out of the car they where gone. They ran in to his house and locked his glass screen door. Well I am not about starting trouble so I left. Another reason that I wanted to stop

by there is to see where is his power of attorney papers were so that I could help get the papers that I needed to start making decisions in his life for him. I assume that I am the one named on the paperwork. Well my aunt will not let me see them or go into his house. She even chained the fence in the back and changed the locks on the door. Then comes in with medical advocate papers which I was not allowed to see. For all I know, when she was in his house she could have forged his signature on papers. How to get copies of these papers – the medical advocate one and the power of attorney one? Also, if I am on the power of attorney, will that override her medical advocate paper?

Asked on May 19, 2018 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The only way to see these papers and test their validity is with a legal action (lawsuit). You would have to bring a legal action in family court to have yourself declared your father's guardian. In the lawsuit, you would also name and provide notice to your aunt, so that she has the opportunity to come and show whatever documentation she has of having a medical power of attorney/health care proxy, a "regular" power of attorney, or other forms providing her authority to act on your father's behalf in this situation. She would have to provide such papers in the case to oppose your application to be his guardian, and you would also have the opportunity to challenge such papers if she has them but there appear to be irregularities in them. This type of suit is substantially more procedurally difficult and complicated than, say, a small claims case: retain an attorney to help you.


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