Can my aunt steal my inheritance if she had power of attorney and became 100% beneficiary?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my aunt steal my inheritance if she had power of attorney and became 100% beneficiary?

My father had severe dementia and couldn’t care for himself. He is retired Navy. His wife passed a year before him and my aunt gained power of attorney and made herself 100% beneficiary without consulting me, my older brother, or my younger sister. She moved him from North Carolina to Arizona and will not provide any documentation. The funeral home made us aware that she was thebeneficiary on his life insurance. My father made mention to my siblings and I that he had left us money before he was ill. Do I have any grounds to get a lawyer with this information?

Asked on November 1, 2017 under Estate Planning, Washington


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your father and his wife.
You can sue your aunt for conversion, which is theft in a civil case.  Your remedy is to seek a constructive trust which would require your aunt to return the stolen funds to your father's estate.  If your aunt has used the stolen funds for any acquisitions, those items or their value can be returned to your father's estate.  The constructive trust can be used to trace the stolen funds to acquisitions by your aunt.

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