Cases of Abusing Power of Attorney
In a recent case of severe abuse of power of attorney against a vulnerable adult, a man was sentenced to four years in prison. The individual pleaded guilty to stealing more than $600,000 from his mother who has acute dementia and had no way to understand that her son was taking the money. The man liquidated many of the woman’s bank accounts and proceeded to spend the woman’s money. The exploitation of the woman’s money continued over the course of eight years in this example of abusing power of attorney. Lawyers claim that in addition to financial damages caused by the man, he also caused serious emotional pain for his family. The man’s defense attorney urged the man receive treatment for his gambling addiction, but this argument did not prevent the man from being sentenced to several years in prison. If you suspect that financial exploitation of an elder is occurring, it is often a wise idea to immediately contact a skilled attorney.
The Danger of Financial Exploitation of Elders
This case highlights one of the many ways in which elderly abuse can occur. Misuse of an individual’s fund by another person who has been granted power of attorney is just one of many ways that financial abuse of elders can occur. This exploitation could include the intentional overbilling by a health care institute. In consideration of the significant risk of abuse to seniors, since 2013 the state of Colorado has required that certain professional givers and care providers report financial details about an individual to law enforcement within 24 hours once the discovery of the abuse occurs. As a result, if you suspect that an elderly loved one is the subject of financial abuse, it is almost always a wise idea to act quickly. If a power of attorney must be revoked, a skilled attorney can prove helpful in handling this matter.
How Power of Attorney Abuse Occurs
The basis of many cases involving the abuse of power attorney concerns an individual breaching their “fiduciary duty” to the individual. When a power of attorney is signed, a “fiduciary relationship” is created between the signer and the individual who is designated on behalf of the individual. By this relationship, the appointed individual owes the signer of the document a duty to act with good faith and loyalty.
Duties Under a Power of Attorney
Some aspects of the obligation created under a power of attorney include that:
- An individual must keep the elderly person informed of things that would influence that elderly person’s interests.
- The agent is prohibited from acquiring an interest opposed to the elderly person.
- The individual is also forbidden to transfer the elderly individual’s property to himself.
When people fail to uphold these elements of the fiduciary relationship, the individual is at risk of being liable for breaching the relationship.
Get The Assistance of an Estate Planning Attorney in cases of
Abusing Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is one way to make sure that in the event of a medical emergency, someone you trust can make medical decisions for you. If you require assistance in creating a medical power of attorney or have questions about this type of document, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Whitcomb, Selinsky, & McAuliffe, PC. Our firm appreciates the important role that medical power of attorney can play in healthcare settings.
To speak to a lawyer today, contact our practice online or call our practice at (866) 476-4558.