Does POA need to be filed at the courthouse?

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I was asked and accepted to have POA over medical and financial for both of my parents. We signed all the necessary papers at their lawyers office, my parents were given an original as I was given a copy. My copy is fading and my mother (who is beginning stages of dementia) doesn't have a clue where their copy is located. (My father has been deceased for almost 10 years). I'm not even sure whether or not the POA had to be filed at the courthouse. I have tried contacting the original lawyer that they used however he is no longer practicing and hasn't been for quite sometime. I am running into problems as a younger sibling has been exploiting her financially and even with reports being made to the authorities when they call he is answering her phone and claiming to be my father and telling them they don't want to do anything after all he is their son. I don't live in the same state so it makes it difficult. I just want to know if these papers should have been registered at the courthouse in order to get a certified original copy. Thank you

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In Iowa, recording the POA is optional. It would be worth checking -- if it was recorded you can get a copy.

Is your copy illegible? Fading wouldn't invalidate it, as long as it can be read.

I think ff's suggestion is the easiest solution (if it wasn't recorded) ... just have mom do the document over again. If her dementia is not yet so severe she can't understand the concept of appointing someone else to act on her behalf she can do this in spite of dementia. I suggest going through a lawyer, though, to avoid your younger sibling claiming she was not competent to sign the papers.

You are in another state. Who is caring for your mother? What is the distance involved -- like Minnesota and Iowa or like Florida and Alaska? How often are you able to be with your mother? Is it feasible for you to visit, and take her to an Elder Law attorney and get all the legal ducks in a row?
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Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, none of my past or current POA's, nor my parents POA's, had to be filed in the Court House. Guess it all depends on what is the norm in your area.

If your copy of the Power of Attorney is faded, and if your Mom is still able to understand legal documents, I would suggest having it updated to meet with the current State laws. Same with her Will, as if it hadn't been updated since your Dad had passed, it might be complex.

My parents legal documents were older than dirt, thus a lot of landmines if either one would pass, so I was glad I was able to get them in to see an Elder Law Attorney to update everything.

cmagnum is right about how some elders will hide legal paperwork and not remember where it is. For my parents, I was lucky they gave me a copy of their documents decades ago. But if I didn't have a copy, it would have been a scavenger hunt as I wouldn't have known who the Attorney was or if he/she was still in practice.

While cleaning out my late parents house, I found what was called a "strong box" and after going through 100 loose keys I was finally able to open the box, sure enough there were the old Wills.
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As her POA, you should be free to search her house all over for this document. Are you a co-signer on her safety-deposit box? If so, then you can check it out also. Do you have any idea where the will is and who will execute it?

One thing I learned in searching for my mom's will when she was not able to remember its location is that people hide things in the most unusual places. Her will was in a locked drawer of a dresser with a lot of random not valuable things.
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Ugh - the right link didn't post. When you go to the link above, do a search in the upper right-hand corner in the search box for "power of attorney" and you'll find info on both financial and healthcare powers of attorney.
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Here's info from the Iowa state government site on aging and financial power of attorney: https://www.iowaaging.gov/financial-power-attorney .

I never filed any POAs for my parents here in Illinois and no one has questioned me. But then I don't have a sibling who wants to take advantage of my parents.
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In my state, people are expected to file the durable POA with the clerk of court. I would start my search there. I hope you will use your POA to stop your younger sibling's financial exploits.
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