From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My dad named me his power of attorney. For many years I helped pay his bills and care for him. After years of in-house care and then a nursing home in Lehigh County, all his money was gone except one small account which we both split. My brother thinks I stole the money, but that is not true. He has served me a citation to account for my actions under the power of attorney, what do I do now?
By accepting the position of agent through your father’s Power of Attorney, you became a fiduciary. As a fiduciary, you owed your father a duty to look out for his interests. But that job also comes with the obligation to explain your actions as agent to certain people.
An interested party can ask for you to account for all the actions you took as the agent. During his life, this could have been your father. Now that your father has died, your brother (as the heir to half his estate) has the right to ask for a power of attorney accounting from you because if it is found that you took any money, half of anything recovered will go to him.
Don’t take this process lightly, as the Lehigh Orphans’ Court judges will review your accounting and your brother will have the right to object to all your entries. I suggest that you have an experienced Lehigh probate lawyer help you assemble the accounting and that you have a firm with a litigator familiar with Orphans’ Court litigation, as it sounds like your brother will want his day in court.
If you have questions about litigation in Lehigh County, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.