Q: My father was just diagnosed with a terminal illness. He is 80 years old. His step daughter “talked” him into giving her POA. What can we do? We all live hours away. My sister is going up to take care of him, after she puts her affairs in order. She is also the executor of his will (as she understands it). We are worried she (step daughter) will change his living will. He feels intimidated by her. She is big and forceful. We are afraid she will change it and take the cabin away and put him on the streets. He lives in the cabin in Crawford County. We are all in Allegheny except the step-daughter who lives up there. What are our options?
A: Generally, an Agent on a POA cannot draft and sign a will for another person. But this could not stop her from having a new deed to the cabin prepared and signed by her as POA, in which she deeds it to herself. If he is still mentally competent, perhaps you can advise him to revoke the POA by signing one over to you or your siblings. If this is not possible, if you want to control the situation, you may need to file for a guardianship. Unfortunately, he lives in Crawford County and you may have to file there. I think you should discuss this with a lawyer here or in Crawford County. He or she may be able to start communication with the step daughter and this may put her on notice that her actions are being scrutinized. If you have evidence she is diverting money, or has wrongfully converted his money, you can have an attorney petition the court for an accounting of POA funds. Before you do anything I would attempt to see if you and your siblings can meet with her to put all of these concerns on the table. Open communication may help to avoid a legal fight.