Q: My dad has Alzheimer’s Disease. My aunt is his Power of Attorney and has been making some questionable financial decisions on his behalf. I saw the Power of Attorney a few years ago, and I don’t remember much detail about it, but I do remember it expires this year. When I asked my aunt about the Power of Attorney and her actions being taken under it, she says she has an attorney and cannot speak to me about it. As my dad’s son, do I have a right to see this Power of Attorney? Can I question my aunt’s actions and hold her responsible for mismanaging my dad’s estate? Can I remove her as Power of Attorney and have her held responsible for her actions while my dad is still alive?
A: Your aunt has no legal obligation whatsoever to show you the power of attorney or give an accounting to you, unless she so chooses. People seem inherently suspicious of Agents under powers of attorneys and most often for no legitimate reason. If you get nowhere with her or her attorney by making an informal request, and, you still are convinced there is questionable activity, you will need to hire a lawyer. If the lawyer’s informal inquiries are denied, he or she can file a petition for accounting and force your aunt to produce an accounting of all her expenditures on behalf of your father. You can then review the accounting with your lawyer. If you still think there are questionable issues, you can start procedural record producing requests and ultimately drag her and her attorney into court on a Petition for Accounting for a no-rules barred legal cage match.