What to do about an abuse of fiduciary responsibility?

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What to do about an abuse of fiduciary responsibility?

Prior (6 years) to my mother’s death 3 life insurance policies were secretly cashed by my sister, who acquired power of attorney. This was done with no fiduciary notice or discussion with my brother or I. She used some of the proceeds to buy burial insurance for our Mom. Is the burial insurance value shielded from any legal action I might take to possibly recover an equal distribution as my mother told me years ago was her intention (i.e. we were all to have a 1/3 share of the proceeds)?

Asked on March 1, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your troubles.  If your sister abused her Power of Attorney - which is a fidcuiary responsibility - then whomever is appointed as the Personal Representative of your Mother's estate can bring an action against her to rectify the problem and recover the money.  The burial insurance will, I think, be an issue as you say but you will have to name the transaction anyway. If she unduly influenced your Mother to acquire Power of aAttorney that wll be an issue as well to address. Get some legal help from an attorney in your area with all of this.  You are going to need it.  Good luck.


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