Here is my synopsis of what happened to another “Aunt Gertrude,” but this time, unfortunately, it is a sad but true example of what I have been writing. Today our paper reported that it was a great niece.. You may agree with me that there is nothing so “great” about this niece:

“A woman stole more than $300,000 from her elderly aunt. In April 2010 the York County
Area Agency on Aging received a complaint that an elderly woman, who resided at the
Brunswick of Longstown personal care home was being financially exploited.”

Let me just break in here and say “Bravo” for the nursing facility that had the guts to pick up the phone can call the Area Agency on Aging!

“The elderly woman appointed her great-niece as her Power of Attorney (Her attorney in fact). With complete financial control of her great aunt’s finances, she allegedly misappropriated more than $300,000 for her own use. The great niece was arrested on July 5 and charged with two counts of forgery, one count of theft by unlawful taking, and one count of theft by deception. She was preliminarily arraigned before Dallastown Magisterial District Judge Scott Laird and released after posting $25,000 straight bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2 at 9 a.m. The charges listed above are taken from the allegations in the court papers.”

Taken from news.

The Power of Attorney document is designed to assist those who need a helping hand with the routine affairs of life. Here, as is too often the case, the niece may have begun with the best intentions, but she soon learned that there was no one watching her. She had absolute control and there was no automatic oversight built into the document.

At Mateya Law Firm, we have worked with bankers, other lawyers, accountants, trust officers,and financial planners to develop a very simple, automatic oversight into each new power of attorney document we execute. The hope is to keep stories like this from happening to our clients. Please contact us if we can help you or if you have something to share.