Q: How does power of attorney work in cases where the parent is no longer there, mentally, has offspring, and has NOT written anything in the will about power of attorney? If one of his children asks to get power of attorney because of his/her parent’s weakened metal state, is it given to that sibling without informing the others first? Suppose that sibling happens to be a con-artist, hoping to take his/her parent for all his money? Lastly, where do you go to get power of attorney in this case? The state? Hire an attorney? (North Strabane Twp., PA)
A: So long as they are competent, a person can sign a Power of Attorney which appoints anyone he or she chooses as Agent. The Agent does not have to be the person’s spouse or child. A person who becomes appointed under a POA, has no duty to tell anyone, including his or her siblings. It is best to have an attorney consult with the person who is designating the power, the principle, assess his or her competency, then if appropriate, prepare the Power of Attorney. Depending on what you mean by the parent “…no longer there, mentally…” could affect whether the parent is competent to sign a POA. You can consult with an attorney or take this parent to one.