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Jan 19, 2022 by |

Santa Clara County Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Powers Of Attorney And Financial Abuse Of The Elderly

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Stealing From Principals Under Their Power Of Attorney

Predator Revoked Family Member Appointment 

Remedies For Power Of Attorney Misuse

Different forms of Powers of Attorney (POAs) cover financial matters and health 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).  POAs are more than just fill-in-the-blank forms.  POAs grant the agent broad powers over virtually all of a principal’s affairs.  The potential for abuse of such power is always present.  Whenever you grant an individual a POA make sure it is a person you trust.  At Evans Law Firm, Inc. we recommend you appoint two trusted individuals to act jointly reducing the chances of misuse or mistakes by a single agent.  One other important recommendation:  never, ever, grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiverWe have seen too many cases where caregivers abuse a POA to benefit themselves to an older person’s real harm. If an agent has misused a POA to your or an older loved one’s detriment in Santa Clara County or elsewhere in California call us at (415)441-8669 or toll free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Alleged Theft By Power Of Attorney

In a recently reported case,[1] a federal grand jury has charged an individual with stealing more than $500,000 from an elderly woman with dementia while acting as the woman’s Power of Attorney.  According to the complaint, the agent allegedly took the victim’s money over a period of seven years 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 to him.  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 agent also allegedly cashed in $290,000 of the victim’s U.S. Treasury Bonds and kept the money.  The matter is currently awaiting trial, and the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison for his crimes.

Remedies for Victims And Families

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 citizen the misuse also constitutes criminal and civil financial elder abuse.  Penal Code § 368; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30.  In addition to straightforward theft as in the reported case 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. 

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 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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