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Oct 22, 2020 by |

San Francisco and California Elder Abuse Attorneys: When Agents Abuse Financial Powers of Attorney

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Misuse Of Financial Powers Of Attorney

Agents May Exceed Authorized Powers 

Understand The Extent Of An Agent’s Authorization

Powers of Attorney (POAs) are important estate planning tools for everyone, especially the elderly.  Powers can cover financial matters and also health matters.  Standard forms are set out in California Statutes.  See Cal. Prob. Code §§ 4401 (financial POA) and 4600 et seq. (health care decisions).  POAs, however, are more than mere statutory forms; they should be carefully drawn and understood because the agent acting under them has enormous power over the principal’s affairs.  The attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. has experience both in the drafting of POAs and in litigation against agents who misuse POAs to the detriment of the Principal.  See our Estate Planning tab for information on having a POA drawn.  If someone has misused a POA to your detriment, call our litigators at (415)441-8669.

There are many ways an unscrupulous agent under a POA can manipulate the powers they have been given to the principal’s detriment.  This arises particularly in instances where the principal is an elderly person or some suffering from cognitive impairment or dementia.  In those latter cases, the principal may be unaware of what is happening to their financial affairs.  An agent may utilize that weakness to open accounts in his or her own name, designate themselves as beneficiaries on accounts, transfer money or other property and the like.

Protections For Principals Under California Law

California law and the language in the POA may preclude such unauthorized actions and that is where the litigators at Evans Law Firm can help injured seniors.  For example, California law 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

If an agent has misused a Power of Attorney granted by you or an older person you love, 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: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.

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