Can a POA file eviction papers?

Q: My sister owns her home. She invited her son and his son to live with her. Since that time, she entered a nursing home. Her daughter was given POA. Her son has been selling her items out of the house and damaging the property. The house had to be listed for sale when she entered the nursing home, for financial reasons. The son was supposed to move out within one week of her transition to the facility. However, he refuses to leave and refuses to let his sister, the POA, in to the house to take care of their mother’s belongings. We understand he will have to be legally evicted. Can the POA file the eviction papers for her? And can the utilities legally be turned off since he has no means to pay the bills which are in her name. And she has no funds coming to her as it goes to the facility? (Edgewood)

A: It depends if the Power of Attorney document authorizes the daughter to do the things you mention. If it is a well-drafted General Durable Power of Attorney, it likely will have a panoply of powers and she will likely be authorized to do what you express needs to be done. The document may state something to the effect, of “handling real estate matters”, which should suffice. If she is so authorized, she needs to act promptly to prevent damage to the house or theft of property from your sister. She can take the POA to the local District Justice and file an eviction complaint for possession. She can also contact the utility companies. They will require the POA to be faxed to them but she should be able to control the utilities. You may also want to involve the police.

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