If our brother obtained a POA for our mother and sold the homestead without our knowledge, do we have any legal recourse?

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If our brother obtained a POA for our mother and sold the homestead without our knowledge, do we have any legal recourse?

My sister and I have just learned that our brother obtained a POA from our mother who has Alzheimers. He has sold the family homestead and moved all of the contents that weren’t sold to a warehouse. Our mother’s monthly income has been enough for her to live comfortably since our father’s death 34 years ago. My sister is the executor of her Will and that would have been our inheritance. Do we have any legal recourse since this was all accomplished without our knowledge?

Asked on August 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You very well may have recourse.  A POA allows the Attorney-in-Fact (in this case, your brother) to act ON BEHALF OF THE PRINCIPAL - i.e., your mother.  It does NOT give the Attorney-in-Fact permission to use the Principal's property for his own benefit.  It sounds like your mother intended for you and your sister to inherit this property and your brother took it for himself.  If that is true, he could be held liable for breach of fiduciary duty, civil theft, unjust enrichment, and other causes of action.  If he took advantage of your mother's Alzheimer's disease to obtain the POA, the POA could be invalidated for undue influence or lack of capacity and your brother could be liable for exploitation of the elderly.  I encourage you to speak with an attorney soon.


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