Can a person with power of attorney sign over ownership of everything to themselves?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a person with power of attorney sign over ownership of everything to themselves?

Owner of my company is in the hospital. His
wife/accountant has signed over ownership of
everything to herself while the original owner is
unreachable and unaware of what is occurring.
It reeks of illegality. Please let me know

Asked on June 29, 2018 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The attorney-in-fact or agent (those are the terms for the person given power by a power of attorney or POA) may well have the legal authority to transfer ownership (if the POA by its terms gave her power to sell his assets generally or this business specifically, she could do this), but must do so only in accordance with the principal's (the person creating the power) instructions or best interests: that is, the agent has a "fiduciary duty" of loyalty to her principal and cannot act disloyal. An action violating fiduciary duty could be reversed or set aside by a court in a lawsuit.
However, that is for the principal (or if he is incapacitated and has a legal guardian, his guardian) to challenge her actions: if you are an employee of the company, you have no legal "standing" or right to challenge this. It is he who owned the business, he who gave her the POA, and so he who legal rights in this case. If he is content with what happened, no one else can challenge it. So unless the owner complains, this will stand. And given that this is his wife, who also works as his accountant, who has taken ownership, and that he is hospitalized, for all you know, this *is* in accordance with is wishes or interests--this may be part of their succession plan to insure continuity of management, for example, in case he is disabled or impaired or worse and cannot run the business. Someone turning over a business to his spouse is not that suspicious or unusual.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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