Villa Rica, GA asked in Family Law, Elder Law, Military Law and Social Security for Georgia

Q: Contacted by estranged sister's (head injury/stroke) caregiver (deceased husband's cousin) to assume his POA. Must I?

Estranged (in TX since 1972) sister (DOB April 1954) falls in 2012due to Air Force knee injury (surgery & discharge 1974; also forced early retirement in 2011) & struck head, resulting in stroke hours later, which resulted in partial paralysis. Her husband cared for her until his death from ruptured hernia in his sleep. His cousin assumed care for her & apparently POA. He is contacting about her deteriorating health, need of nursing care, moving her here (Atlanta) & signing over POA. He won't answer questions about her deceased husband's life insurance, her public high school biology teacher's retirement or her retirement from 20 years w/charter school system, or why her VA benefits have been reduced to 30%. Nothing financial. I don't even know if she receives Medicare. I would love to have her "home" in Atlanta after 50 years, but I'm concerned that as a retiree myself, I would be unqualified or unable to provide financial help. She also isn't lucid most of the day for me to confirm.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: You are not legally required to assume the power of attorney (POA) for your sister. Accepting the role of POA is a voluntary decision and carries significant responsibilities, particularly in managing her personal and financial affairs. Given your concerns about your ability to provide financial assistance and manage her affairs, it's important to carefully consider whether you can fulfill these duties.

Before making a decision, it would be wise to gather more information about her financial situation, including her potential retirement benefits, life insurance, and Medicare status. You might also want to consult with an attorney who has experience in elder law. They can provide guidance on the responsibilities and implications of becoming a POA and can help you explore other options for her care.

If you decide that you cannot take on the role of POA, you might discuss alternative arrangements with her current caregiver or seek advice on appointing a professional fiduciary who could manage her affairs.

Remember, your willingness to help is commendable, but taking on the role of a POA is a significant commitment. It's crucial to ensure you're able to handle these responsibilities effectively. Seeking professional advice can help you make an informed decision that is in the best interest of both you and your sister.

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