When a senior citizen that you love and care for goes to visit an attorney, go with her. Aunt Gertrude should never have to go alone. Her niece Milly should accompany her. And this should be Aunt Gertrude’s attorney, not Milly’s attorney. And if it is Milly’s attorney and not Aunt Gertrude’s attorney, then there should be several meetings, not just one.
Sometimes, our senior citizens don’t have many people around them. Sometimes there is no one. So what do you do?
What if the attorney who drafts the will appoints himself as the executor of the will? And then he appoints himself as the Attorney In Fact (the person named on the Power of Attorney document, often referred to as ‘my Power of Attorney’), and he drafts a trust and appoints himself the trustee? Does that sound fair? Does that sound like it just might give that attorney a chance to put his fingers in the pie? After all, who’s looking?
And what if, after that senior citizen dies, the attorney (who is also the executor) hires himself as the lawyer to help the executor (who is also himself) to assist in the administration of the estate? Does that sound fair?
You say “That would never happen!” Sadly, it happens all the time, right here in Central Pennsylvania.
So, what do you do if you find yourself in a position where the attorney has appointed himself to all of the positions of power and influence and there is no one overseeing his actions? You ask him or her for an explanation, or for an accounting. Do not look the other way and say “Oh well. . .” there is almost always something you can do to address this type of self-dealing. And this story shows why you must have an attorney in whom you can trust and whose integrity is stellar.
Please contact Mateya Law Firm to help you with your estate planning and administration needs.