Can a stroke patient appoint a new power of attorney after being declared incompetent?

Q: A month ago, my mother, an incredibly healthy, independent 76 yr. old had a stroke and a heart attack. She lived but missed the critical window to dissolve a blood clot. Since the stroke, she has been on a host of medications which she and I both believe are causing her to be very sick, confused, unable to communicate clearly, and above all, decline rapidly. I’m with my mom every day. She confides in me and I know what she wants. Recently, while in Kaiser ER, she appointed me to make all decisions for her care should she become incapacitated. I signed the paper there and at her nursing facility when she first got there. The very next day, I was shocked to bump into her old friend at this nursing facility, who said she had just signed the same papers there and is now her new POA! My mom does NOT want this! A former trustee in my mom’s original will, she was removed last year when my mom modified the will. She immediately began to insist I hand over my mom’s checkbooks, alarm code, house keys, credit cards, & has since locked me out of the house! We don’t agree on ANYTHING about Mom’s plan of care. My mom wants to come home, but she won’t let her! Please help? (Scott Twp., PA)

A: This is a terrible situation, and you need legal counsel. If you were appointed Guardian, the guardianship would trump the POA. As a child, you would have standing to be her Guardian, than an “old friend”, unless you are not fit by state law to be Guardian. You will need to consult with an attorney. If your attorney can examine the POA this old friend has, he can determine if it is compliant with PA state law as well as advise you on filing to be her guardian. Regarding being locked out of the home, were you living there? If so, the old friend must follow the PA Landlord Tenant Act and give you appropriate notice. That will at least give you a month or two in the home.

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