Odenton, MD asked in Elder Law for Maryland

Q: What percentage of blood relatives(MD)get Guardianship/Dad over a step sister who has POA for 2 years and didn't tell us

My Mom passed away in 1995. My Father (4 sons) remarried in 1999 and his wife had 2 daughters. My Father and his new wife moved to Florida in 2000. One of the daughters moved in with them around 2013 when her husband passed away. The other sister moved down also but has a home an hour away. In 2012 my Father was diagnosed with dementia. Since 2000 my father and his wife kept refinancing their home and must have spent close to $500,000. In 2016 my father, his wife and 1 daughter signed a deed where if my father dies, she gets his home. The other daughter is P.O.A. and has control of his finances, and medical. Every time we ask the wife and 2 daughters a question about my fathers health, they said he is OK. They have been lying to us the whole time. The daughters told us to help find your Dad a home and we will work together. My Dads 2nd wife died of cancer this October 2018. After she died, the daughters canceled the meeting with us. Trying 4 Prof. Guard/ship 4 $ & medical

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: You need to re-ask this question under Florida law, which will apply to your father's situation. Florida has very aggressive guardianship and elder abuse laws (including financial exploitation) and you will need a Florida lawyer to advise you, as well as answer any questions. Your facts raise many questions, including whether your father was competent to sign any POAs at the time he signed them. Certainly family members can petition to be appointed guardian. Setting aside a deed transfer based on lack of mental competency will require medical proof and physician opinions addressed to the date of such a transaction or the date of the POA that granted the power to act on his behalf. However, a POA may only be utilized in the best interest of the grantor of the POA, meaning the step-daughter may not act in her own or others' financial interest (self-dealing). You will need to obtain copies of deeds at the time before and after any title change, to establish how the property was and is held before and after, as well as try to determine whether and when any wills were signed by your father, if possible. The appointment of a guardian will terminate a POA, and impose court supervision, including regular financial accounting, on the guardian.

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