I live with my parents in our 3 family home. I have been their managing their affairs for over 20 years. I am POA for both. My mother recently came back from the hospital and rehab center.

Has been harassing me and my dad to become his POA. She filed a motion with the NY Supreme court to be named as soul custodian for my father. In it she demands that she take over all of his assets, including his properties. She alleges that I have been using the POA to for myself and have been moving these monies around for m y own purposes. Which is a lie. She wants to gain ownership of our building so she can sell it and keep the money and put my dad in a nursing home and have complete control over his life. There is no mention as to what is to become of my mom. There is a long list of complete horrible things she said I do to him. My dad does not suffer from any cognitive illness as she alleges and was knew exactly what he was doing and why he signed the POA. All of this is nothing more than greed on the part of my sister and her husband to gain control of their assets and cut me out of the picture.

There is a court appointed lawyer for my dad. Can I sue for slander and defamation?

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I am a Guardian in NY so this is how it goes: yes, a lawyer is appointed for Dad during the proceeding. A court appointed psychiatrist will evaluate him for competency and report back to the JUDGE. You have the right to formally object to the person seeking Guardianship. The Judge will carefully consider your objection. The Judge will also do a fingerprint and background check, including credit check, on all potential Guardians. For NOW contact only your attorney, not your sister or your father for fear of further accusations. Garden Artist has given you very good advice, follow it.
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That is good advice, thanks. I am actually planning to have the attorney respond to some portions, where it makes sense. Some of it is just ranting but where there are what seem to be real accusations, the attorney would probably address that.

Also, from now on, when we have a piece of information to pass along to him, we are going to have the lawyer do it so that he can no longer claim that we didn't tell him. I've actually heard Mom tell him bits of information that he claims he didn't know and blames her bad memory. So, no more verbal information distribution for us.

And, you're right that I shouldn't really ignore them, and I can't remember if the lawyer actually used that word - he was more just trying to get me to realize that I don't have to take it all in and think about it. I'm feeling calmer, today.
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Tazoz: Going beyond the question of suing, and first addressing the motion issue: if you've already taken care of this, I apologize.

You state that your father has a court appointed attorney. I assume that he's the only party named in the suit? If so, then this info is just for background, but if you're named (which may be the case given that your sister has made a lot of allegations against you), you would need to defend yourself as well.

Have you met with the court appointed attorney and are you comfortable with him/her? Does he/she have a background in elder law disputes?

I assume your father and you both plan to attend the hearing on the motion? This would be highly desirable to demonstrate your interest in the situation as well as in refuting the allegations made by your sister.

A response can be filed to the motion, which should be prepared and served by an attorney to comply with the court rules. There are response deadlines.

As to a counter or separate suit, it's my understanding that slander is generally the making of false statements, orally, and that libel is the written counterpart.

It sounds like you might have more of a libel than a slander case, unless she's calling and harrassing someone other than you and making false allegations to those individuals.

It may actually be to your advantage to go through the hearing, get a transcript of it and use it as additional documentation for your sister's unfounded allegations. OTOH, better strategy might be to file before the motion hearing to let her know that you can't be manipulated and that her actions have consequences. This kind of tactical planning is more within the realm of the attorneys, as they know how to play the tactical moves often involved in litigation.

One thing to ask yourself is if and how you can document the claims she's made (i.e., whether verbal or written), what documentation you have, and whether there are any independent sources that can support or verify your position.

Ask yourself also what the damages are: emotional distress, financial outlays, damage to your reputation, upsetting your parents, etc. You would have to demonstrate that you actually have suffered as a result of her actions.

Geo, I don't wish to challenge the validity of your attorney's advice, and perhaps I've misunderstood the situation, but I want to offer some suggestions to make sure you've "got all the bases covered."

There is merit in not responding word for word against allegations; however, it would be unwise and foolish to ignore that fact that someone is pursuing his/her own agenda and possibly a vendetta.

I do agree that you shouldn't let it stress you out - just protect yourself.

Start documenting to challenge accusations, but don't communicate with him/her verbally. But be prepared to refute the allegations, with as much proof as you have.

Save all the e-mails to you and your mother; this may show harrassment. But don't respond to them. And you don't have to read them if they upset you. Just save them for future proof if necessary.

I've seen something similar happen in my extended family and wish the defamed individual had taken action earlier to protect herself before the situation got out of hand.

Oh, and BTW, DON'T post anything publicly on social media, and especially not on Facebook. It's surprising how much people reveal on these media and how damaging it can be.

Good luck to both of you.
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Oohhh...I think you and I share a sibling. I'm going through something similar. Sorry to hear it, though.

In any case, I did start talking to a lawyer. He told me that I should do what I can to protect myself, but to stop losing sleep over it. I was kind of freaked-out and losing sleep. If you have POA, it might say that you can be reimbursed for expenses. I only just started this process, but I'm thinking that the lawyer fees to protect myself probably are expenses I can get paid by my Mom as part of the agreement. I want to verify that with the lawyer, first, and she did actually agree verbally to pay it.

The other thing the lawyer said to me is to ignore it and don't react. Don't play her game. Get a lawyer, protect yourself, but don't jump into the fray. My sibling is e-mailing and both Mom and the lawyer pointed-out that I don't have to read it and I don't have to react. It's good advice. Their advice is to spend my time and energy on the legal things I have to do and just don't worry about responding to my sibling.

Think of it, this way, when you react, you might accidentally write or say something that could be used against you.

As for slander and defamation, I'm not sure. So many things my own sibling says have some element of truth but aren't 100% true or are taken out of context, that I don't think I could do that, for example. I would say that it probably would seldom be possible unless you have a really good case with good, solid proof.
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