Keyport, NJ asked in Animal / Dog Law for New Jersey

Q: My sister surrendered my dogs while I was hospitalized and incapacitated She had PoA. How can I get them back

I was suffering from mild mental health issues and also had several strokes. She had poa while I was incapacitated but I'm now doing much better and am in therapy

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1 Lawyer Answer
Barbara Ungar
Barbara Ungar
  • Edison, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: The power of attorney needs to specify that she may act on your behalf if you have a mental health issue. She has no authority under the power of attorney to permanently surrender your dogs. If the mental health crisis is over and your therapist with whom you are treating does not feel that you are legally incapacitated, the power of attorney does not dictate and your dogs should be returned to you. If she feels there is a basis for guardianship of you, she could file guardianship and you would be able to contest it through the court process.

You should consult an attorney and have an attorney intervene to seek return of your dogs and to advise your sister about the limitations under the power of attorney. If your treating therapist feels you are legally competent, you can revise the power of attorney to someone else or have an attorney prepare a limited power of attorney limiting her authority under the power of attorney.

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