Having named her niece Milly as her Attorney in Fact, Aunt Gertrude feels so much more secure knowing that there is someone who will ‘look out’ for her in the future. And the family members are all so proud of Milly for stepping up to the plate to help. Aunt Gertrude’s bills are being paid on time, she has a quiet confidence in Milly plus she has the peace of mind knowing that Milly is looking out for her best interests.

So who is keeping an eye on Milly?

“Oh, we don’t have to worry about that. She’s family” is the resounding answer I hear when I ask that question of family members.

“Aunt Gertrude and Milly have been close since Milly was a toddler” is a typical response. And I want to believe the best about Milly. I do. We all do. After all, its much easier to have Milly carrying the load. The family trusts her. And the family knows that Aunt Gertrude is cared for.

Sort of.

The real problem is that no one knows exactly what Milly is doing. And Milly has no oversight. Milly may be the best thing since sliced bread. And she may not be. Once an attorney in fact takes actions on behalf of the principal, here, Milly acting for Aunt Gertrude, she quickly learns that the power of attorney document is all she needs. She can take whatever actions she chooses, limited only by the document. And the power of attorney is a powerful document. There are very few limits on what she can do.

Families often feel uncomfortable asking a “Milly“ what is happening with Aunt Gertrude’s finances, even when they suspect foul play. They feel they are meddling, and they don’t want to get involved. But that may be exactly what is needed.

We are going to investigate two ways that an attorney in fact is limited in what actions he or she may take. One which is statutory and one which is new.

Please keep sharing your stories with us, or leave a comment on our blog. We want to help our senior citizens live a happy, full life.