Who can challenge a power of attorney?

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Who can challenge a power of attorney?

My step-father has a living trust that names his four children as beneficiaries of his estate. At my step-father’s request, my brother was given power of attorney to manage the estate. My sister and her husband share occupancy of our stepfather’s home. They help take care of my step-father in exchange for free rent. My brother-in-law is unhappy with the way my brother is managing the estate and has become increasingly hostile and threatening to challenge my brother’s POA. Does he have any legal standing to do this? No one else in the family supports his position, including my stepfather.

Asked on July 30, 2017 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, he does not have any standing to challenge the power of attorney. The POA was created by your stepfather for his own benefit and not for your brother-in-law's benefit, and your brother-in-law has no rights under the POA; as long as your stepfather is mentally competent and happy with how his attorney-in-fact or agent (those are the terms for the person given authority by POA; your brother), no one else can gainsay him or challenge it. Your stepfather could do everything that your brother-in-faw is upset with directly himself and your brother-in-law would have no grounds to challenge those actions or decisions; similarly, he cannot challenge those decisions because they are made by the person appointed by your stepfather to "manage" matters for him.


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