labbydog Asked June 2012

What do you do when the attorney has power-of-attorney and accountant has trusteeship?


I have a situation where my mother is 96 and in good health, living in an independent care facility. She is still able to make decisions for herself, for the most part. Luckily, she is well off financially. I have one other sibling, a sister, who is not reliable. She is married to a very devious person who is just waiting for my mother to die so he can collect 1/2 of her inheritance, along with my sister. This has been a longstanding problem for the past 30 years. Knowing this, after my father died, my mother made her own attorney POA. Her accountant is her trustee. I am her medical proxy. Has anyone had a situation like this? What happens when my mother becomes incapacitated or can't make decisions for herself? Am I going to be forced to chase down her attorney or accountant to get anything done? That's what I am fearing. Also, I do not live close by (about 2 hours away), but my sister is a 30 minute drive away from my mother. If I wanted my mother to be moved to an assisted living facility near me so I could check in on her if she were very ill, would I need to go through the attorney because he is POA? I am told most POAs are children, but, in this case, my sister isn't trustworthy and I think my mother is afraid she will open a can of worms with my sister if she appoints me as sole POA. Any advice, or should I consult an elder care attorney near me?

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Sparkly Jun 2012
Have you ever spoken to your Mother about this issue and your concerns? You say that she is still doing well mentally, so this would be the time to have that talk. Ask her why she chose an attorney for legal matters and an accountant for financial matters, while giving you medical proxy only. (Perhaps she gave you medical proxy because you are more able to deal with those things, over you sister, but decided to give those other - less emotionally involved - duties to professionals, in order to not show favoritism and hurt your sister's feelings?!) Have her put in writing, what her wishes and thoughts are and then make copies of this for yourself, other family members and the professionals dealing with your Mom.
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cdeh61 Jun 2012
My husband has medical POA for his 95 year old aunt and her attorney has the financial POA. So far it has worked out very smoothly. Following a fall & hospitalization, my husband moved his aunt into a SNF much nearer our home so he could visit her regularly. (She lived in a condo about 1 1/2 hours from us.) We have met with the attorney on a couple of occasions to discuss her care and financial situation. She has assured us his aunt will not out live her assets and we are working with her to clear out the condo to ready it for sale or rent (up to the attorney). There are other nieces and nephews in the family that my husband keeps up to date on aunt's care etc. But I think the key element is that we established a good working relationship with the attorney and we all have his aunt's best interests at the core of what we do!
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palmtrees1 Jun 2012
It is my understanding that by giving her attorney financial power of attorney, she has left you and your sister out of the legal and financial decisions to be made in her behalf. Yes, you would have to consult the attorney and accountant on all of the matters for which they have POA. They do not have to include you or even let you know what they are doing. But they have a moral and ethical obligation to be honest, especially in their professions. Can you trust them? Would they be willing to consult you? Do you want to have to chase them down? These are good questions.

I would talk to the lawyer and accountant, do my homework about power of attorney duties, and talk to your mother. Let her know that if you are left off the power of attorney forms, your only option, should things go badly for her, would be to seek guardianship. That is time consumming and costly according to what I have read.

I understand your mom means well. And I am touched that she worries about her other daughter's feelings. My brother has power of attorney for my mother and I have been left off. But there is absolutely no reason for this and yes, I am hurt. But my situation is totally different from yours. I do know that without pwoer of attorney, I would have to seek guardianship for my mother should my brother die or not be able to fulfill his duties. And that is another question. Who is alternate on the power of attorney forms?

As suzmarie said, talk to the lawyer and accountant and then talk to your mom. Good luck
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Beekybird Jun 2012
My sympathies on your dilemma. Good suggestions from Suzmarie. Also, based on my experience, consulting an elder care atty may be helpful. The current atty represents your mom, the elder care atty would represent you. I have to continually deal with my troublesome greedy brother, and after my consult w/ the elder care atty my anxiety was relieved. I am now sleeping better.
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momhouseme Jun 2012
I would call the attorney and accountant now and ask how this will work ie chasing them down if...
Establish a good relationship with both of them.
To move your mom closer to you ask the poa what you would need to do now. If you find these things out now you won't have to waste valuable time later.

There's always one in the family that has greed on their minds, like your sister and mine. Sorry to hear about this.
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