Can POA transfer stock for their own personal gain?

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Can POA transfer stock for their own personal gain?

My mom left my brother, sister and I each 857 shares of stock TOD. She passed away 5 weeks ago and I found out I had only 115 left. I learned that over the past 3 years, that 3 times my shares of stock weredebited prior to her death. Recently I learned my brother and sister’s shares increased during that time. I suspect she debited my account and transferred those shares to their accounts. As POA, is she allowed to do that? I understand the need to provide care for my mother while she is unable to make decisions for herself; however, why wouldn’t each of us provide equally for my mother’s care from the stock? I believe she did this out of spite and wanted to hurt me in the only way she could.

Asked on July 30, 2011 Ohio

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your mom left you and your siblings shares of a stock to be transferred on death, and if this was as a result of either a will or a trust, your mom had every right to change the share amounts. However, if these were via your mother having a power of attorney, then the shares would have come from a prior source. If that was the case, then the question becomes how your mom came to have power of attorney and whether your mom's power of attorney was broad or limited and if it included any provisions concerning preserving these share amounts. If your mother was able to have unlimited power over the shares, to use as she wished, then it may be an issue of whether her personal gain was allowed pursuant to the power of attorney. If so, you are out of luck. If not, then the issue becomes if the statute of limitations has run concerning the initial sale of those shares and whether you can now file a claim against the estate for what you would be earning currently on those shares and to have a court decide (order) if those shares or the money should be transferred to you.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your mom left you and your siblings shares of a stock to be transferred on death, and if this was as a result of either a will or a trust, your mom had every right to change the share amounts. However, if these were via your mother having a power of attorney, then the shares would have come from a prior source. If that was the case, then the question becomes how your mom came to have power of attorney and whether your mom's power of attorney was broad or limited and if it included any provisions concerning preserving these share amounts. If your mother was able to have unlimited power over the shares, to use as she wished, then it may be an issue of whether her personal gain was allowed pursuant to the power of attorney. If so, you are out of luck. If not, then the issue becomes if the statute of limitations has run concerning the initial sale of those shares and whether you can now file a claim against the estate for what you would be earning currently on those shares and to have a court decide (order) if those shares or the money should be transferred to you.


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