Wrongful use of a Power of Attorney is financial abuse the elderly
In this 3rd 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. Power of Attorney misuse to financially exploit the elderly is wrong.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Every person granted POA owes a fiduciary duty to the Principal. These duties include, but are not limited to: keeping the elder informed about the status and any changes to the elder’s finances, medical affairs, and other accounts or information covered by the agreement; receiving consent from the elder before reaping any profit from the elder’s accounts or finances; maintaining and acting according to the elder’s interests at all times; and refraining from transferring any of the elder’s property. Failure to abide by these duties, or any breach of these duties, may constitute POA abuse.
Who is at risk for POA abuse?
A POA is usually granted to provide for elderly, sick, and disabled individuals who are already in emotionally and physically vulnerable positions. For this reason, dishonest individuals who seek opportunities to swindle funds from unsuspecting elders are drawn to commit POA abuses and other types of physical and financial elder abuse.
Elders who live alone or who have few close relatives may be susceptible to POA abuse. In many cases, a distant relative will resurface in the elder’s life and offer to sign a POA agreement by promising to provide adequate medical care for the elder. In other instances, fraudulent estate planners or trust managers will promise to manage the elder’s finances, but designate themselves POA in order to exploit or otherwise defraud the elder.
Signs of POA Abuse
- As listed above, POA abuse can manifest itself in many ways. Be aware of the following potential signs and symptoms of power-of-attorney abuse.
A sudden an inexplicable change in the finances of medical affairs of the Principal
- Secrecy or reluctance to communicate by the Agent
- The Agent’s refusal or reluctance to share financial information or records with the Principal
- Any signs that the Agent is making decisions on behalf of the Principal without consulting or gaining consent from the Principal
- Any demands that the Principal sign unfamiliar or unexplained documents
- Any signs of financial exploitation, identity theft, fraud, or 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