Power of Attorney Abuse

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Troubled by POA Abuse? Hear the outrageous stories we never saw coming, as well as what to do when they’re happening to you. You aren’t alone anymore.

Power of Attorney: Can My Bank Insist I Use Their Form?

2017-01-17T22:40:58-05:00February 10th, 2015|Estate, Estate Planning and Administration|

You walk into the bank with your lawyer-drafted Power of Attorney form and ask to see Aunt Milly’s bank statements.

“I’m sorry; this isn’t a BIG BAD BANK form. Here at BIG BAD BANK, we have our own forms which are practically perfect. You have to use one of our forms.

“But my attorney drafted this. I paid good money for it!”

“But here at BIG BAD BANK, we’re looking out for the little guy. We know what the form is supposed to look like. Sorry.”

That conversation has been the norm for many years in Pennsylvania. And, in BIG BAD BANK’S defense, there […]

Estate Planning – The Power Of Attorney Law Has Changed

2015-01-29T14:51:58-05:00January 29th, 2015|Estate|

In July of 2014, Pennsylvania’s legislature changed the Power of Attorney Law in substantial ways. This blog is only going to address one of those changes. In succeeding entries, I will address some of the other changes.

Before I begin, please understand that your power of attorney document can be drafted to your specification. In fact, it should be drafted and personalized to your desires. The changes that I am going to address are the ‘default’ changes which the statute has made. With few exceptions, your document can be made to do precisely what you wish for it to do.

Also, remember […]

Power of Attorney Abuse:

2015-01-08T13:32:33-05:00January 8th, 2015|Abuse, Power of Attorney Abuse|

Aunt Gertrude trusts her niece Milly; that’s why she appointed Milly to be her agent on her power of attorney document. Milly does not have any special training, she is simply a good- natured, good-hearted niece to Aunt Gertrude and she wants to help her Aunt. She has a high school degree and is reasonably intelligent. That’s good enough, right?

There was a time when I would have answered, “The most important thing is that you have a high level of confidence in the agent you have chosen. She can learn how to handle things, and she can always call on […]

Power of Attorney Abuse: The Times, They Are A Changin’

2014-12-01T13:40:08-05:00December 1st, 2014|General, Power of Attorney Abuse|

     Aunt Gertrude may wish to appoint her niece, Milly, as the agent on her Power of Attorney document. If she does so after January 1, 2015; they will both find out that many things have changed.

     There have been fundamental changes to the way the Power of Attorney operates in Pennsylvania; such as changes in duties, changes in gifting, changes in potential liability, and changes in definitions of simple phrases like “good faith.” These changes affect both the agent and the ones accepting or rejecting a power of attorney document.

     If you have a power of attorney document in […]

Power of Attorney Abuse – Attorney Induced Abuse

2014-11-03T14:19:53-05:00November 3rd, 2014|Abuse, General, Power of Attorney Abuse|

For this vignette, imagine that dear Aunt Gertrude is slipping mentally, but she is okay, day to day. Gertrude’s husband Joe and Aunt Gertrude have been married for over 40 years. Joe is fit as a fiddle. Aunt Gertrude appointed her niece Milly on her Power of Attorney document because she thought it would be best to have someone younger as her agent.

Today, Uncle Joe and Aunt Gertrude see the attorney about some estate planning matters – they are looking to the future when Gertrude may need to be cared for in a nursing home. Uncle Joe and the attorney […]

Power of Attorney Abuse – How Does It Start?

2017-01-17T22:18:36-05:00August 20th, 2014|Attorney in Fact, Power of Attorney Abuse|

When Aunt Gertrude appointed her niece Milly, she believed Milly would do the right thing and take care of her. She didn’t know the meaning of the word “fiduciary.”  She simply needed Milly to help her as she was aging.

Milly never set out to steal from her Aunt Gertrude. She loves her Aunt. She remembers her from when they were both younger. Aunt Gertrude was her favorite.

So what happened?

Need and greed are the two most common elements. Aunt Gertrude trusted Milly with her check book or her bank card, and Milly bought the groceries and paid the bills for her […]

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