Hurting The Ones You Love: Stop financial abuse of the elderly through misuse of a Power of Attorney
In this 1st part of a 4 part blog, we focus on the serious harm caused when people misuse the powers granted in a Power of Attorney to financially exploit an elderly person. This is a serious problem. Read all of 4 parts of this blog to learn about the scope of the problem and what you can do to stop the problem from happening.
Misuse of a Power of Attorney to financially exploit the elderly is wrong. A Power of Attorney (POA) recognizes and legally allows for one individual usually a trusted relative or family friend to make a wide variety of decisions on behalf of another individual who may be elderly, frail, ill, handicapped, or incapacitated. A POA Attorney affords an immense degree of power and influence to the person bearing that status (often called the agent), and with that comes the capacity for significant abuse.
POA abuse targets those who cannot adequately care for themselves: typically elderly, sick, and disabled people. An agent is granted POA in order to aid with legal, financial, medical, and other decisions. For this reason, the agent also often has access to funds, property, and personal information.
What is Power of Attorney?
A POA is a legal document that establishes a relationship between two people: the Principal and the Agent. The Principal designates or authorizes the Agent to act on his or her behalf. The POA or POA is the document that grants the authority of the Agent over the Principal.
Typically, the POA contract remains valid until the Principal rescinds it, passes away, or loses mental capacity. While this arrangement is typically intended to ensure the fulfillment of the Principal’s wishes and decisions in case of incapacity or incompetence, this situation can leave the Principal particularly vulnerable to financial abuse, since the agreement gives almost limitless power to the Agent over the Principal’s financial and other matters.
How can a Power of Attorney be abused?
POA abuse occurs when the Agent in the agreement takes advantage of his or her position and makes decisions on the Principal’s behalf that benefit the Agent without the Principal’s knowledge or consent. Power-of-Attorney abuse can take any number of forms, the most common of which is financial abuse.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered POA abuse or elder abuse in Texas contact my law firm at 972-772-6100 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also contact The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Adult Protective Services (APS) at 1-800-252-5400 or visit their website www.everyonesbusiness.org