Husband’s father has cancer, can his sister write checks?

Q: My husband’s sister is staying with her father. Who is sick. My husband is the father’s Power of Attorney, but the sister has been signing the father’s checks and giving them to her other sister, who up until this week hasn’t been part of her father’s life for several years. Supposedly they have been taking his mail and banking information out of the house as well. The do not possess power of attorney, and the sister staying with her father is on SSI Disability, and has taken the father’s bank cards and been using them for purchasing many items for herself and her boyfriend without the father’s permission. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: She has no authorization to sign checks on his behalf. She should not give his money to anyone else unless he is authorizing her to. The way you describe it, it sounds like she is taking advantage of him. As his Agent under a POA it should be in your husband’s authority to safeguard him in a variety of ways, assuming he is not competent and is not opposing your help. If so, you can close his bank accounts, have the bank restrict them, redirect his mail, change his locks and keep them out of his house. These are complicated situations and you may want to consult with a local attorney. If his competency is in question and he refuses your help, your husband may want to consult with an attorney about becoming his Guardian.

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