Use And Abuse of Power of Attorney | Patterson Law Firm

Estate Planning

Advising On Power of Attorney Abuse

USE AND ABUSE AND POWER OF ATTORNEY

Powers of attorney (POAs) have become prevalent in recent years due to an increase in using trusts to avoid probate. Not surprisingly, this increased usage has resulted in a set of new problems for POAs.

A common scenario involves a sibling who has used a POA to squander the estate while elderly parents were incapacitated. The sibling holding the POA, however, does not understand, or flatly ignores, the fact that the POA imposes upon them a fiduciary duty to care for the estate. As a result, the squandering of the estate exposes the sibling holding the POA to very serious legal consequences, including criminal prosecution.

To challenge the holder of the POA, Patterson Law files a petition requiring the holder of the POA to account for the funds. This accounting often goes back to when the holder of the POA began acting as agent under the POA.