Q: My 89-year-old mother has been diagnosed with severe delusions and after a psychological and medical evaluation, a letter was written stating that she is suffering from delusions and is not capable of handling her financial affairs. With an attorney in my presence, my mother stated that she would never let anyone take over her financial affairs and stated that she would not live. My mother believes she is a CEO of a company, married to someone that does not exist. Her only source of income is social security around $960 per month and most of it is used to set up business phones. Banks accounts were set up as business accounts even though the name she sets it up is different than her ID. There is other devastating and crazy actions that consumes all her SSI. Her current doctor will write another letter regarding her delusions and she is currently taking medication for delusions. Is it possible for me and my sister to get a Power of Attorney without our mother having knowledge of it because it would harm her and could make her have a stroke or serious medical issue? We heard from other families with the same situation that they have done it. Is so who can do it and what is the average cost and time frame? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: No, you cannot get a Power of Attorney over someone without their knowledge. The person must be competent, understand what they are doing and sign the document. Your mother sounds like she may not be competent to sign such a document. If that is the case, your only option would be to file in court to be her guardian. Your mother certainly would have to know about this proceeding as she would be summoned to court unless excused for health reasons. You should consult with a CA lawyer in person.