Can a sibling who has power of a parent’s health affairs become power of attorney without the parent knowing it?

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2011

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Can a sibling who has power of a parent’s health affairs become power of attorney without the parent knowing it?

My parent has given my sibling full control (legal) of her health matters (not my father) but says that she does not have power of attorney nor would she give her that and it is only for her health. I told her that she should check with a lawyer since my sister is an estate attorney and has never given my parents advice of where they should go to have their estate handled. I told my mother if she has legal power of her health, how does she know if that does not also consist being power of attorney.

Asked on August 2, 2011 Pennsylvania


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A durable power of attorney for health care is separate from a general power of attorney to handle financial matters.  Your mother has to sign a power of attorney for it to be effective.  Since she hasn't signed a power of attorney over her financial affairs, no power of attorney is in effect.  Since she signed the durable power of attorney for health care, that is in effect for your sister to make decisions about your mother's health care.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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