Use a guardianship to keep sibling from ripping off parent


A guardianship automatically revokes all powers of attorney and places the guardian in complete control of the ward's assets.


Attorney Tom Olsen: Bill in Claremont. Bill you're on News 96.5. Go ahead.

Bill: All right thanks for taking the call. I have an elderly father who lives out of town, out of state. Has some dementia issues. After my mom died, my sister was the only one remaining in town and she took over his medical visits and paying bills and that sort of thing. Well, she has decided to just drop all that and sell her house and abandon him, and she has moved out of the country.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Oh boy.

Bill: I moved up or I went up there to try to clean up the mess, discovered that she had been stealing a lot of money from his accounts. I established myself up as the POA for his business and medical stuff, but I'm still down here. We are hearing rumors that she is planning to return up there. I'm wondering how do we protect him because she could very easily strong arm, today-

Attorney Tom Olsen: Bill, what you may need to do is a legal guardianship where the court appoints a legal guardian for your father. Probably going to be you but it could be an independent third party. A legal guardianship trumps all powers of attorney. A legal guardianship revokes all powers of attorney.

When a legal guardian is appointed for your dad, that legal guardian would take all your dad's money and put it into an investment account and a bank accounts under the name of the guardianship and nobody will have access to that money. Not your dad, not your sister, not you, not somebody with a power of attorney, the only person to have access to it would be the legal guardian. That would be the best way to proceed, Bill.

If somebody petitions the court to appoint a legal guardian for your father, all interested parties will have to get legal notice of that guardianship proceeding and that certainly means all of his kids, so that all the kids will have a right to come in and say, "No, I want to be legal guardian, or I want to be legal guardian." The court will choose the best of you. If the court's not comfortable with any of you then the court may appoint an independent third party to be the legal guardian for your father and manage his money.

Bill: Okay. That's a big help thank you so much.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay Bill. Good luck to you. Bye-bye.