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Nov 3, 2021 by |

Contra Costa County Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Powers Of Attorney And Financial Abuse Of The Elderly

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Using A Power Of Attorney To Steal

Abusers Revoke Prior Powers

Recourse For Victims And Their Families

Powers of Attorney (POAs) can cover financial matters and also health and personal care matters and medical needs.  The California Probate Code provides standard forms for both types of POAs.  See Cal. Prob. Code §§ 4401 (financial POA) and 4600 et seq. (medical powers of attorney and advanced health care directives).  But POAs are much, much more than just fill-in-the-blank forms.  POAs grant the agent acting under them broad powers over virtually all of a principal’s affairs.  The potential for abuse of that broad power is always present so whenever you grant an individual a POA make sure it is a person you trust.  Never, ever, grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiver; our elder abuse litigators have seen too many cases where caregivers abuse any POA to benefit themselves to an older person’s real harm.  Misuse of a Power of Attorney is grounds for civil liability of twice any amounts taken and attorneys’ fees for the victim. Probate Code § 4231.5.  Where the principal is a senior such misuse also constitutes criminal and civil financial elder abuse.  Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30. If an agent has misused a POA to your or an older loved one’s detriment herein Contra Costa County or elsewhere in California call us at (415)441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Misused Of Powers Of Attorney

A recent grand jury indictment reveals just how dangerous it is when an untrustworthy agent has a Power of Attorney for a senior with cognitive impairment.  In the case,[1] a federal grand jury has charged an individual with stealing more than half a million dollars from an elderly woman with dementia while acting as the woman’s Power of Attorney.  According to the complaint, from 2012 through August 2019, the agent allegedly took the victim’s money without her knowledge or permission to use for his own benefit.  The indictment details how the agent improperly used the victim’s Power of Attorney to convince various entities, including banks and life insurance companies, to transfer the victim’s money for his use.  According to the authorities, the victim had previously appointed a family member as her Power of Attorney but the defendant drafted a revocation of that Power for the victim to sign when she was 85 years old, already exhibiting signs of dementia, and living in an assisted care facility. The indictment further alleges that the agent told the victim’s banker that he needed $200,000 to set up and educational fund that the victim wanted to establish but instead transferred the money to himself.  The matter is currently awaiting trial, and the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison for his crimes.

Recourse for Victims And Families

POA misuse is a prevalent form of financial elder abuse and Evans Law Firm will pursue all persons responsible for this kind of abuse of an elder.  In addition to the kind of straightforward theft discussed above, California law also prohibits an agent from designating beneficiaries or creating future (or survivorship) interests in the principal’s property unless specifically authorized to do so in a POA.  Cal. Prob. Code § 4264.  The agent is strictly prohibited from making or revoking the principal’s Will. Cal. Prob. Code § 4265.  Misuse of a POA to commit any such wrongful or unauthorized acts renders the transactions void and also makes the offending agent liable for attorneys’ fees when the principal sues for the abuse.  Cal. Prob. Code § 4231.5(c).

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans can represent you if an agent has misused a Power of Attorney granted by you or an older loved one.  If you need help, call us today at 415-441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Ingrid and the other elder abuse litigators at our firm will pursue all remedies available against the agent, including attorneys’ fees and expenses for the older person required to bring an action based on the agent’s wrongful conduct.

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.

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