It is highly common for an elderly person to obtain a power of attorney. According to the American Bar Association, a Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document where the principal authorizes an agent to act on the principal’s behalf. The authority of the agent ends either when the principal revokes their authority, or the death of the principal occurs.
Family members and trusted relatives are often the ones being appointed. Unfortunately, the majority of Power of Attorney abuse claims received by Bay Area elder abuse attorneys are against family members or trusted loved ones. Appointing someone as a power of attorney is designed to grant the agent the power to speak and act on an elder’s behalf, without the senior losing their decision-making rights. However, elder abuse can easily occur when anyone is granted such power.
By law, having a durable power of attorney means that the authority of the agent ends when the elder/principal loses their decision-making capacity, and cannot revoke the authority of their Power of Attorney. Sadly, in many cases, the power of attorney uses this to their advantage. Oftentimes, elders may have no clue that they have been financially and mentally abused, until they suddenly see their savings decrease significantly. But by then, it is often too late.
To prevent the chances of Power of Attorney elder abuse, seniors should always make sure that they never grant such authority to strangers, while being highly cautious with caregivers, financial advisors, or even family members that suddenly develop a high-level of interest in the their financials, or other personal information.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered Power of Attorney abuse or elder abuse in California or specifically in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sonoma County, contact the Evans Law Firm at 415-441-8669 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free and confidential consultation.