Is it legal for my sister in law to close my mother in law’s checking account and sent her SS to her account? 13 Answers as of April 14, 2014

My sister in law has the power of attorney of my mother in law (92 years old), whom my wife and I live and take care of for more than 11 years. My sister thought we were stealing from her social security money. She refuse to release money to mother or my wife even for her needs. My mother in law has physical problems like walking but she still has a clear head.

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O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, if your sister has been properly authorized to manage, receive, etc. your mother's financial affairs and SS income (usually via a document authorizing someone as an agent, such as a power of attorney), then it is likely your sister may lawfully do all that. If your mother does not want your sister to act on your mother's behalf, then your mother can revoke/terminate any authority she provided to your sister.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 4/14/2014
Law Office of Jeffrey T. Reed | Jeffrey T. Reed
If your mother-in-law still has legal capacity have her revoke the power of attorney to your sister-in-law and issue a new one to your wife and go to the bank and open a new account for the SSI checks.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/11/2014
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
It may be legal. It is something that your mother-in-law could potentially stop. As long as she has capacity, she can revoke the POA form. Whether or not she "should" do so, depends on lots of different facts, which are not included in your summary. It sounds like the situation is really crying out for a family conference, where hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/10/2014
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
If the power of attorney grants her that right, she has the authority to do it.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 4/10/2014
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
Suggest you obtain the services of an estate planning lawyer for mom to execute a new POA in your favor, revoke the sister in law POA. Contact SS with your new POA and request redirection of the funds to your mother in law, assuming she is still lucid.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/10/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    It is legal, but if mom still has capacity and doesn't like it, she can revoke the POA, open a new bank account, and have SS send the checks to the new account.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    If she has a valid power of attorney for financial matters it is proper for her to be the signor on an account in your mother-in-law's name and social security number that receives her social security.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    Attorneys in fact must account for the use of funds received and used on behalf of the incompetent person. She might be doing things right. She might not. Demand and accounting. If she refuses, take her to court.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Its ILLEGAL for your sister in law to do this over the express wishes of your mother unless your mother has been found incompetent and put under a guardianship..Take your mom to an attorney, have her draft another general durable power of attorney for you and REVOKE your sisters power of attorney. Then you can sue her for an accounting of all of your mothers funds and redirect her SS to her own account.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    It is illegal for a fiduciary, agent under a POA, to commingle Mom's money with the agent's personal funds or accounts. If the principal is competent, she should revoke the POA and take legal action to obtain an accounting of her funds.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    The individual with the POA acts as the agent of the principal. The principal can order the agent to act and can terminate the POA. If your mother has legal capacity the agent cannot deny the principal access to her funds.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    A power of attorney for financial matters does not give a person the right to comingle funds. You sister-in-law needs to to keep your mother-in-law's funds separate from her own, especially the social security funds. The money belongs to your mother-in-law and should be used to pay for her expenses, debts, etc. Whether or not that includes the care you provide will depend upon the specific facts.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/10/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    It might be possible for your sister-in-law to do that under the authority of the power of the attorney depending on its language. On the other hand, it is still your mother in law's money and your sister-in-law, regardless of the power of attorney, has no right to take her property or withhold from her.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/10/2014
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