When does the power of attorney become a sword instead of a shield? It is clearly designed to be a shield to those who have it. Too often, however, the attorney-in-fact appointed in the power of attorney document becomes inflated with the power and authority he or she possesses. Consider these examples of abusing the power of attorney document:
• A daughter, towering over her mother and screaming at her, “You can’t invite anyone to hunt on your property! I have the Power!”
• A son sells his father’s house to himself using the power of attorney document. The house is valued at $180,000, but he only pays his father $100,000.
• A son takes money from his mother’s account to supplement his welfare income. He could work, but chooses not to. He just takes Mom’s money.
• A step-daughter sells her step-father’s house and uses the proceeds from the sale of the house to buy cars for herself and her family members.
• A daughter gets right in her 85 year old mothers face and tells her that she cannot give away a part of her farm to a charity in her will. . .”That’s my land.” In fact the land was Mom’s land, but the daughter was used to bullying her mother into getting what she wanted.
These stories may seem fantastic and crazy, but most of these were brought to our attention (most in a plea for help) within the past six months. If you or someone you know is being taken advantage of due to your age or your infirmity, don’t stand for it another minute! There are those of us in the legal profession who can help you. We want to help you. Reach out.