What rightss does a POA have?

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What rightss does a POA have?

My grandmother was recently placed into assisted living because she has dementia and is unable to live by herself. Her sister and husband are power of attorneys over all her medical and financial matters. I (as her grandson) am the sole beneficiary of her Will. I was not named power of attorney because I lived in another state but have since moved closer. Her sister and husband have decided to sell off some of her property even though financially she is able to afford paying for assisted living without additional income. Supposedly profits are then retained for her use. I object to selling of her assets before her death. Do I have any legal rights or do they have the right to sell her possessions?

Asked on May 9, 2014 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

IF the terms or language of the Power of the Attorney(s) give them the authority to do this, then yes--they have the legal power. However, attorneys in fact (that's what you call the people to whom a power of attorney is givenn) have to exercise that power in the interest of the person granting the power; if you believe that they are not, but are instead profiting themselves (e.g. taking the proceeds), you could try bringing a legal action to have someone other than them appointed legal guardian over your grandmother, which guardian could then look into, and if necessary, take legal action against, improper usage of the POAs. This is a complicated, and potentially expensive endeavor; if you think that they may be taking advantage of  your grandmother, do not try to do this yourself, but instead consult with an "elder law" attorney about the situation. As a general note, being beneficiary of a will gives you no legal rights over property until the testator (person making the will) passes away); and while the testator is alive, the property which otherwise might go to you could be sold, bartered or traded, gifted to another, etc.


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