Poa

My fatheres wife died two years
ago and her daughter became his
poa and over a two years time she
closed his bank account which he
had for over 30 years and opened
another one and started to make
online transfers of very big
amounts of money to other accounts
with out his knowledge. Is that
abuse of poa and can we file
charges against the poa for abuse

Asked on June 9, 2016 under Estate Planning, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is very likely a violation of the "fiduciary duty," or obligation to exercise the authority conferred by the POA in the interest of the principal (the person granting the power; your father), which law imposes on the agent (person given the power; his wife's daughter). Depending on the exact circumstances, it could be criminal; even if not, it is something which can be sued over to recover the money, if the transfers were in her interest, not his. However, if your father is mentally competent, only he can take legal action to recover his money; if legally competent and he is content to let her due this, then she has done nothing wrong, since he has validated her actions. If you feel he is not mentally competent and is being taken advantage of by this woman, you will need to try to have him declared incompetent by the courts and a legal guardian appointed; the guardian can then act to protect him. If you want to explore that option, consult with an elder law attorney--it is something for which you will need an attorney's help.


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