My sister is POA of our father, she lives in another state, we have ask to her to help with our fathers care for a year now, and now I have no help, we need to sell his home and decide were he should live, I'm listed second on POA. Can I take over since she will not??? He is the beginning of dementia, I want to sell his house and move him with me, so he will be well cared for, WHAT TO DO???

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In my experience, these kinds of documents state specific conditions that need to occur before the secondary person can act, such as "on the death of, or unwillingness to serve of …"the first named person,"....  wording to that effect. 

So check the specific wording, but as suggested I'd also check with the attorney who prepared the document.  

Another alternative is to send her in writing or by e-mail, receipt acknowledgment activated, your plan, and advise her to let you know if this doesn't meet with her approval, since as she's first in line you need her authority to do this.   Also advise that if she has alternate suggestions, she advise you, w/I a certain time framework that you establish in your communication. 

That shifts the burden of response to her.   

That does assume though that selling property is enabled in the original document.   

It's also possible to get a DPOA specifically for sale of real estate.    An attorney should prepare that though, no Internet downloads for something of this nature.

There's also a possibility that your sister is beyond her scope of comprehension and depth in addressing issues of being a proxy.   That also might be something to raise; if she's not comfortable in handling the duties, that should be made known so you or someone else can step up and handle what's necessary.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to GardenArtist
NobodyGetsIt Oct 10, 2020
Very thorough and informative "GardenArtist!" -

I'm kind of in the opposite position. My mom's POA and DPOA documents has one of her siblings listed as the 2nd POA which were drawn up on my own and notarized back in 2014. I basically chose her since she's the youngest and my mom signed off on it. Since then her sister has moved further away and is no longer on speaking terms with me and I wish I could take her off the document. I wanted my husband to be the 2nd POA because obviously he's in the same state as my mom and he loves her very much. He has been my only source of help since my dad died in 2004. He has said "no" he doesn't want her family to think he's in it for monetary reasons. Frankly, I don't think there will be any money left in the end anyway just like what happened to my FIL when he died. He had a nice nest egg but, it was pretty much all used up in his very expensive group home care.

So I guess I actually wonder what happens if someone doesn't have a 2nd person as an option to take over if something happens to the 1st POA. Oh well, that's just my problems with all this POA stuff!
I agree with midkid. I think in order to take over as the second certain things legally must be addressed. There would need to be legal proof of good faith effort to reach the primary POA such as certified letters, and etc (I am guessing here).
See the attorney who created the POA. If he is unavailable, or these forms were created without legal advice (they often are).
You will need a strong POA if you are selling property. You should inquire and understand completely your obligations as financial POA to keep records, file taxes, do monthly accountings, and etc. Accounts would have to be set up correctly.
As to 24/7 care I will assume you understand on a deep level all that this involves. Wishing you good luck and hoping you will update us as to what worked well for you.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer

A good EC atty can deem if he's still capable of signing documents. If so, he could revoke the POA for your sister and make you the primary (has to be done legally and letters sent.)

Before going to that trouble, see if the document specifies you are secondary and what the conditions would be to enable you to take over. My mother's POA lists both my YB and myself as POAs, but it doesn't specify any order. If yours doesn't, then just do what needs to be done (it can't hurt to ask the atty who drafted it or another EC atty if the original isn't available. If there's no hierarchy, just do it!) Before going on, there is some potential confusion.

From your original post, you stated:
"...we have ask to her to help with our fathers care for a year now..."

What help are you asking for - help with his care, or help in doing what a POA allows one to do? It isn't clear from that statement, but it sounds like you've been asking her to help with his actual care. For all: too many people think POA means you take on someone's care. It does not. POAs allow you to manage/oversee finances, medical issues and sign documents, etc for someone who no longer can, either physically or cognitively. Being POA DOESN'T mean your sister has any obligation to provide actual care for your father. Morally, caring wise, etc, one might take on some of this role, but being POA doesn't require it. If she doesn't want to provide physical care for your father, it has nothing to do with the POAs. Move on without her. Now, if she's refusing to pay bills, provide funding for some care-giving help, or helping with medical issues, there is a problem. This is when you need to fully understand the POA document, as written. Every state has different rules. Every POA is written specifically for the person who needs it. Not all will be the same, so you need to read and understand it, or get help from an EC atty to interpret it. If she is not living up to the task AND she is listed as primary, see my first statement and get thee to an EC atty asap.

BTW, if the EC atty determines your dad is beyond capability to sign, it will require seeking guardianship/stewardship. This isn't cheap and can take a while, but if granted, it does override ANY POAs.

That said, there were comments about selling the house. Among the listed financial duties, selling property *should be* included. Interestingly, when we were selling mom's condo, I was given okay to sign ALL the documents EXCEPT the deed. For some reason the EC atty insisted that mom had to sign that document. No clue why. Thankfully the facility she's in has a notary AND the notary told me, when asked, that she only has to confirm mom signed, not that she understands what she is signing! Kinda makes the whole signing by mom pointless, IMO. Indeed there are special temporary POAs that can be drawn up, to allow someone else to sign specific documents and then the POA ends. I did this when I sold my own house and my OB did as well. Honestly I don't recall if I signed the deed myself or not - perhaps it was in the flurry of online docs. Just beware, they may require your dad to sign the deed (doesn't have to be at closing, just before, so he doesn't have to be at the closing, BUT it will require a notary.)

So, check your POA document. Get help understanding it if you need to. Comments made about POAs not being about care-giving are general, as too many people don't understand what POAs can/can't do and that they have nothing to do with providing care (perhaps you know this, I'm just repeating it here for those who don't know this!) If she's primary and not doing her job, get help from EC atty to revoke her POA, if possible (dad deemed capable), OR pursue guardianship.

Final note - if she's not willing to help, move on w/out her. Don't waste time or energy trying to get her to help. Don't waste time or energy being angry about it. It isn't worth it. Focus on helping your father and getting things done and forget about her.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to disgustedtoo

Do not move him in with you! If you think you can handle him all by yourself, I recommend you read a lot of posts on this forum. if you still do it, do not under any circumstances co-mingle the money.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to MaryKathleen

Have a visit with the lawyer who set up the POA for you--if there wasn't one, and you have made serious efforts to contact sis--just begin acting as is she weren't a part of this at all.

Take notes of the times you've tried to contact her and get your siblings to back you up.

If dad is still capable, have him remove her from the document altogether, before his dementia becomes worse. This would be the best route, but he needs to be well enough to know what he's doing.

Good Luck.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Midkid58

Although I would check with an elder care attorney, I do believe that if the POA is MIA and you are listed as the secondary POA, you will be able to take part in some decisions and this will be stated within his documents. There however, will need to be some form of proof that the sister is really MIA and that you are not just trying to take over. I know it sounds silly, but it happened in our family, one of them drew up new documents just because they wanted to take charge. As far as selling the house, that may not be as simple as stated. It will depend on how the words are listed on the POA documents. Our family member had it written that it had to be a joint decision between the 2 listed POA. Meaning they both had to consent as well as have knowledge of what was going on. While POA's are good, they do not give full authority should the person(s) who are listed to just come in and take over, your Dad may still have the ability under the law to make his own decisions which will be determined usually by at least 2 doctors, this being said, you would not be allowed to sell his home if he is considered competent. Beginning stages of dementia does not mean that he has no comprehension of what is going on. POA protect both the person as well as the member of the family or friend who is the one listed. Do not push the envelope as it can lead to a very sticky situation called coercion, which can in some states be considered abuse.
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Reply to thingsarecrazy8

Get a doctor to make the diagnosis of "mentally incompetent" first. Then, notify sister that dad is mentally incompetent and cannot live at home alone. Let her know you are moving him in with you and ask her to come out within the month to help with arrangements. Let her know that if she can't come out to help, you have no problem with getting this done since you are 2nd on POA. Be nice when you talk to her. It's about caring for your father and his matters, not a tug of war.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Taarna

Don’t be hasty in making decisions that you may later on regret.

Are you able to speak to your dad’s doctor? Start there. Ask specific questions about his mental and physical health.

It’s also a good idea to ask the doctor to recommend a social worker that you can speak to about what is best for your dad’s future care. Gather all information before making any life changing decisions.

Best wishes to you and your family.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Imho, you may want to hire an elder law attorney.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Llamalover47

daweber - in this forum, there are hundreds if not thousands of caregivers. Of those who moved their parents in with them or moved in with their parents to become caregivers, I'd say 99% either regret doing so or absolute hate their lives. A few brave souls (mostly who don't have spouses or children) say they love taking care of their sick parents 24/7.

I moved my mother in with me and I absolutely hated it. I had to move her out in 2 years in order to save my family and my sanity. Believe me, it's much much harder moving her out than moving her in.

I highly recommend you look around this forum and spend a few days reading the posts from other caregivers about the problems they encountered after becoming caregivers. Better you spend a few days getting familiar with what you want to get yourself into than spend a few years regretting it.

After that, if you still think you want to move him in, then do it with your eyes wide open.

Do check with an attorney specializes in eldercare about finances, POA and caregiver agreement.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to polarbear
NeedHelpWithMom Oct 16, 2020
I tend to agree that it is 99% as well.


Speaking for myself, I was terribly naive. I never witnessed my mom or dad care for their parents. I truly had no idea what I was getting into.

Daddy’s parents died before I was born.

Mom did not care for her mom or dad. Grandpa died in the hospital. He died after a brief stint in the hospital.

Grandma died exactly as she wanted to. She just dropped dead! No suffering. Her heart just stopped! If only we could all go like she did.
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