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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Power of Attorney and Will for Neighbor

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Pennsylvania

    I will try to be brief with this narrative and question. Our elderly neighbor (86yrs old) has mild dementia. We have lived next to him for 30yrs. He has no children, never married. We have always done things for him and have helped him out; we sit with him most evenings and transport him everywhere. He recently had to turn in his license do to an order from his primary physician. In May he had a special needs woman leave his house. She was with him for about 20 yrs and he was basically her legal guardian. He sought us for help regarding the matter as she took his dog. He was also going broke as this woman charged quite a bit of money on his credit cards, Verizon bill, etc. My wife got his dog back. It seems this episode accelerated the dementia. His mother died of Alzheimer was did his brother. To help him out we purchased 4 acres from him at fair market value. We went through a lawyer and abstract company. He still owns his house and about 7 acres. He also wanted us to purchase his house and allow him to remain there. We just could not do it financially.

    He also wanted to make my wife durable POA. She was his medical POA. He also wanted to change his will and remove this girl who he cared for. I should note that he changed his will back in 2015 naming my wife executrices and leaving most of his distant nephews with little. This was due to his untrust of his oldest nephew. This he stated. Currently, he has left the estate to my daughter. She is a veterinarian and he felt that she could use it. This was all done before his mental health declined. It was done in his attorney's office.

    It should be noted that my wife does an excellent job with him and being his POA. He trusts her and she has his best interest in mind, allowing him to make the decisions.
    She takes him to the bank, helps him with transactions, take him to the senior center and too much to list here.

    This brings me to today. One of his nephews came to visit today. He and his wife wanted to meet my wife. After thanking her for what she and I do for their uncle they proceeded to say he would be best in a nursing home or assisted living. My wife was clear on this that he does not want to go to a home. Additionally, the law cannot force a person out of their home as long as they are lucid, which he is most days. These nephews never come in. Want nothing to do with him, but want his house so they can sell it and divide the profits. Our neighbor told us this long ago. I feel that they know he is getting older. They wanted nothing to do with their own father when he had dementia and had him shipped off to be near our neighbor in a nursing home.

    His nephews do not know that (1) my wife is POA, (2) that she is executrices and my daughter the beneficiary as well as some other organizations. In fact the one nephew told us not to anything until we talked to him since he the executor of the will. Just based on that statement I don't think they know what an executor even does. Do we owe them any explanation about these changes? Our lawyer says no. His lawyer says no. It only becomes public if our neighbor decides to say something or open his death. I'm worried that world war III will break out now or later. I feel like we are not being honest with his extended family, but if we say something now that could put our neighbor on a dangerous path of something he does not want.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Power of Attorney and Will for Neighbor

    I'm not a lawyer but I've been around the block a few times. I tend to agree that you don't owe the nephews any explanations.

    But, you have to understand that, legally, they are next of kin and you and your family are strangers that have been authorized by him to act on his behalf.

    One way to protect yourselves is to get the original of the current will and put it in a safe place, preferably in your house so that the vultures (er, nephews) can't find it upon his death. Because if they do find it they will destroy it and probate the estate under intestacy and they will get everything. Make sure there are no copies in the gent's house.

    I hope the will was a self-proving will (ask the lawyers) so there is no issue about finding the witnesses after his death. I also hope that nobody in your family was a witness because that could give the vultures cause to contest the will.

    The more progressive his dementia becomes the greater the opportunity the vultures will have to influence him to make changes in their favor.

    If he is still lucid you might have him consider putting his property (and money) in an irrevocable trust with you as trustee and your daughter as beneficiary. That way he, personally, does not own his assets and cannot revoke the trust so the vultures won't have any way of influencing him to change anything. You will, of course, have to act in his best interests while he is alive, but you are doing that anyway.

    Unfortunately, no matter what you do, there is always the possibility that the vultures will litigate and cost you a great deal of money. Best to keep things to yourself and avoid the vultures as much as possible while keeping a close watch on the old gentleman.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Re: Power of Attorney and Will for Neighbor

    Thank you that makes sense.

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