Is it in my best interest to try and fight to keep a POA signed by my mother when Adult protective Services is involved ?
3 attorney answers
Please hire a lawyer immediately. I would not be talking to APS without an attorney representing me and being present for all conversations.
As a POA, you are held to the highest ethical standards. You must act in your mom's best interest even if it "hurts"you.
If you are found by a judge to have acted in a criminal manner, the District Attorney might file criminal charges on you. So this is pretty serious. So please lawyer-up now!
Fran Brochstein has been a licensed Texas attorney for 30 years but she now only mediates. She no longer goes to court. She moved from Houston to TX Hill Country and mediates cases all over TX via Zoom due to Covid. She hopes to return in person mediations when Covid is over. She has reduced her mediation rates for 2021. Please understand that Fran's reply to your question in no way creates an attorney-client relationship. You are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney in your county in person about your specific legal problem.
Pick up your phone right now and call a lawyer. Do not pass GO, Do not collect $200, Call somebody now.
I would suggest Sandra Perez Ard (Sandy)... who is available here on AVVO. I don't know where Dickinson is in relation to you, but get in touch with Sandy anyway.
Here's the thing.
Taking the money out of the account is a typical move for well-meaning, innocent, trying to be helpful kids. It is also a typical move for meth-head junkies trying to steal mom's few remaining shekels. When APS gets involved that means somebody is worried that the meth-head is involved. Not necessarily. But if you talk to an APS agent/officer for 10 minutes, they can tell you exploitation stories you literally cannot believe. You need to counter that and get back on the side of goodness and light.
Also, do not simply give up the POA without a fight. You do not want to be restricted by the probate court. Call Sandy.
This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. You cannot rely on my response to your question. My response to your question is probably worth exactly what you paid for it. You don't get to sue me for anything. If you'd like to sue me, well you have to hire me first.
Hello, in order to answer I first have to address your use of the phrase "in my best interest" ....to keep the POA. The reason for a power of attorney, whether it be financial or healthcare, is so that the Agent (you in this case) can act "in the best interest" of the Principal (your mom in this case). I have to point that out because truly what is in YOUR best interest is somewhat irrelevant to the POA! As to whether it is in your mom's best interest for you to keep it...really hard to say without substantially more due diligence and scrutiny. So, the following will be somewhat generalized information: One, it is APS's job (and the bank's responsibility) to investigate suspected fraud. So it is actually a good thing they acted. If you have done nothing wrong (but see discussion below on missteps), which I will define here as "acting in your mom's best interest," then you should be okay. Which is not to say that APS won't still investigate and that you won't still have to prove you are acting in her best interest. But if you truly believe that you can and will act in your mom's best interest better than a state agency can, then by all means do what you can to prove the document (and your subsequent actions) were legitimate. If you have no proof, this could be difficult. Two, while your intent with the funds may have been in her best interest - to purchase a home with disability access - the fact that you completely withdrew funds (presumably to deposit into your own account) vs. just worked with her account to directly buy for her is what raised the flags. Assuming the POA was an "off-the-rack" POA, agents acting under a power of attorney must take care NOT to co-mingle funds, should keep meticulous records, and should only participate in actions that benefit the Principal, not themselves, in any way. So while your intent was likely good, your actions cast doubt. As far as next steps for you, it is impossible to advise without further due diligence. But I would reiterate that yes, if you believe you can and will act in your mom's best interest, then stand up for the right to do so with your current document - just be prepared to offer evidence of your intentions!