Powers of Attorney and the Elderly
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a very important legal document where the principal authorizes an agent to act on the principal’s behalf in business transactions and more. Someone with a Power of Attorney has legal authority to do things like transfer money, sell a home, and manage medical services. Unfortunately, the appointed agent may take advantage of this broad authority for the agent’s own benefit. The results can be devastating. The Marin County and California financial elder abuse lawyers at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent seniors and their families who suffer loss when agents misuse Powers of Attorney in any direction. If you or a loved one has suffered from an agent’s misuse of a POA, call us today at (415)441-8669. We only handle cases in California.
Here are a few signs that an agent may be misusing a Power of Attorney:
- The principal is being neglected. Maybe utility bills aren’t being paid on time, tax payments are late, or credit card bills are going unpaid.
- Care expenses aren’t covered. Late payments and cancelled services may indicate that the principal’s money is not being spent on the principal but is being diverted by the agent.
- Sudden, significant changes are made to care, financial, and estate planning arrangements. The agent may move the principal to a facility or order a different type of medical treatment without consulting the elder’s family. The agent may suddenly appear as a pay on death beneficiary on bank accounts, accounts may be switched to joint accounts, or in-home services may be cancelled to isolate the senior.
- The agent prohibits visits and calls by family and friends. Or, if the elder receives visitors, the agent may routinely hover around to hear what is said. Attempts at isolation and control are always red flags.
An unscrupulous agent can ruin a senior’s life. Seniors need to be extremely careful in selecting their agents. Because the POA powers are so broad, our lawyers recommend principals appoint two or more trusted individuals, so that the agents must always work jointly on matters concerning the principal. Seniors should never grant such authority to strangers, and be highly cautious with caregivers, financial advisors, or even family members suddenly develop a high-level of interest in their financial, or personal affairs and suggest a POA. Ask a professional to prepare the Power and have them tailor the power exactly to the authority you wish to grant and under what circumstances the power should spring into effect.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered Power of Attorney abuse or elder abuse in Marin County or elsewhere in California contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other California elder abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at 415-441-8669 or or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts, such as annuities and life insurance, and large insurance companies and cases involving Powers of Attorney, trusts, wills, and other legal instruments. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.