A Useful Guide to Resolving Any Power of Attorney Sibling Conflict
When a person becomes someone’s power of attorney (POA) agent, they get legal authority to make decisions about the principal’s health, finances, and personal matters. If a parent decides to appoint one of their children as a POA agent, it can lead to conflicts between family members.
DoNotPay provides some useful tips for handling any power of attorney sibling conflict and preventing it from escalating.
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To understand how a power of attorney causes conflicts between siblings, you should get acquainted with the document itself.
A POA is a legal document through which one person—the principal—gives another individual—the agent—the power to make important decisions and act on their behalf. There are various types of power of attorney, including:
Some of the legal authorities that an attorney-in-fact has include:
- Filing taxes
- Managing retirement accounts
- Handling bank accounts
- Signing checks and documents
- Making decisions about the principal’s health
- Selling property and assets
While a power of attorney agent should be someone close and trustworthy, choosing a family member for such a task can be risky as it often leads to conflicts. The trick to having a child or relative as an attorney-in-fact is taking all of the benefits and drawbacks into consideration. The right choice for an agent would be someone responsible and good with finances, while someone with debt might be a liability.
Check out what to look for and avoid in a POA agent:
|Who Can Be a Good POA Agent?||Who Can Be a Potentially Bad POA Agent?|
Even if the children get along well, giving one of them more power over something can throw off balance. The most common reasons for sibling disputes include the following:
- A sibling is questioning the validity of the POA document and the agent’s intentions
- An ongoing rivalry between the siblings became worse because of the POA and the shift in power
- Other children don’t want to accept the principal’s wishes that the agent has to fulfill, even if they don’t like the outcome (common when it comes to selling real estate)
- A person doesn’t trust their sibling to handle their parent’s finances
- Siblings believe the agent is taking advantage of the power of attorney
One of the POA agent’s duties is to put the principal’s best interests before their own. If a child is their parent’s attorney-in-fact, they have to act according to their parent’s wishes even if they don’t agree with them.
If a person suspects their sibling is abusing a power of attorney, they can inform the rest of the family and sign a petition to file a lawsuit. If the abuse gets out of hand, the family can press criminal charges against the agent. The penalties for the abuse of power of attorney include damages and imprisonment.
Family relationships are complicated, and disputes are sometimes bound to happen with or without a power of attorney. You should know how to deal with POA-related conflicts if they happen to occur. Some of the following sibling conflict resolution techniques work from the agent’s, other from the principal’s, and the rest from the third-person perspective:
- Reserve the right to information—The principal doesn’t have to inform anyone else about the person they appointed as a POA agent, and the agent doesn’t have to notify the rest of the family either. If the family is prone to conflicts, not telling them about the POA can prevent arguments
- Allow access to the parent—Unless it’s in the principal’s best interest, the agent doesn’t have the right to prevent siblings from visiting or talking to their parents
- Name the children as joint or co-agents—The easiest way to prevent disputes between siblings is to make them all agents and divide responsibilities
- Revoke a power of attorney—If the parent isn’t incapacitated, they can revoke the power of attorney to put an end to disputes between siblings
- Take power of attorney away from the agent—When the principal’s incapacitated and other siblings and family members don’t agree with the appointed agent, they can sign a petition and file it to the appropriate court to take the duty from the problematic sibling away
If you need to create a power of attorney, DoNotPay is the right choice! Forget about the pricey lawyers and third-rate templates—we got you covered!
Our hands-on Power of Attorney feature generates POA documents in accordance with your preferences and state’s legal requirements. To get a customized power of attorney letter that suits your needs, all you need to do is:
- Open DoNotPay
- Select the Power of Attorney tool
- Complete our brief questionnaire
We’ll send you an ironclad power of attorney along with two notices for the principal and agent. What if your state requires all POAs to be notarized? DoNotPay can be of service! Notify us that you need a notary’s signature and stamp for your power of attorney, and we will help you set up an online meeting.
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