Power of Attorney Abuses

Abuses of a Power of Attorney – Purchaser Be careful

A power of attorney (POA) is utilized to entrust legal authority to another individual. The principal is the person giving the power of attorney and gives the representative, likewise known as the attorney-in-fact, the authority making legal decisions on his/her behalf, consisting of managing checking accounts, real property, and other assets.

Decide Who Makes Decisions for You
Decide Who Makes Decisions for You

The possibility of fraud or exploitation exists in every power of attorney arrangement, through self-dealing, embezzlement, and illegal gifting. In some circumstances, a power of attorney holder will significantly diminish an estate, leaving the beneficiaries with little or no inheritance. Other instances where a POA can be mistreated include changing beneficiary classifications on life insurance or annuities, and opening a financial account with joint title or pay on death provisions in favor of the representative.

If a validly executed power of attorney has been abused by the representative, grounds may exist to take legal action against the agent for the return of embezzled property or monetary damages. If the principal has passed away before the power of attorney abuse has been uncovered, the principal’s estate or the designated beneficiaries of the estate may be able to take legal action against the agent for breaching his fiduciary duty, or a number of other causes of action. See this excellent article on fixing abuses by agents.

Due to the capacity for abuse with a power of attorney, their use should be limited. Often individuals developing a power of attorney will leave the original instrument with the preparing lawyer until the conditions activating the POA have occurred, such as the incapacity of the principal.

Importance of Living Wills


Living Wills May Decide Who Makes Decisions When You Can’t.

Many individuals are wondering exactly what they need in the event of incapacity, that their desires are known and followed regarding potential end-of-life choices. Advanced instructions are a set of documents that are made use of to lay out a clear pecking order to offer decisions makers guidance as to the individual’s desires as they relate to the type of care wanted in a crisis. It is a method to direct the choice maker about what an individual wants and does not want, must they be not able making their wishes clear.


Unlike a Last Will and Testament, which deal with matters after the person’s death, advance instructions are usually used before a person passes away, and they are an important part of the estate planning procedure. Three common documents that are usually prepared are a power of attorney for financial choices, a power of attorney for health care and a Living Will.

A power of attorney for monetary choices names an individual to manage financial matters on behalf of another person. A monetary power of attorney can be really broad in the power that it confers on an individual making serious decisions relating to a principal’s possessions.

A power of attorney for health care is similar in some respects to the power of attorney for monetary decisions in that it also names an individual to make decisions on behalf of another person. When carrying out a power of attorney for health care, specific responses can cover several concerns in an attempt to make plainly exactly what kind of treatment they want, based on their medical condition.


A Living Will, in some ways, duplicates the details in the power of attorney for health care. However, unlike the power of attorney, a Living Will is merely an instruction stating that a person does not desire “steps” to keep them alive when there is no practical possibility of any meaningful recovery.

It is more vital to offer your loved ones the tools they have to handle your incapacity (and even your death) with the self-confidence that they are following your wishes.

Avoid Living Trust Scams

What Are Living Trust Rip-offs

A. Living Trusts

As you may know, living trusts are legal arrangements where a person, called the “grantor,” positions his possessions into a trust throughout his lifetime. The trust is provided by a “trustee” for the advantage of the trust’s beneficiaries. The grantor, also called a trustor, may be a trustee and a beneficiary of the trust. Living trusts are an extensively acknowledged and legitimate estate planning devices. Since the grantor no longer holds assets transferred to the trust, at the grantor’s death, his or her possessions are not part of the grantor’s estate and do not have to be probated. Accordingly, a living trust can avoid exactly what might be a costly, prolonged process. Whether this is a significant benefit differs by the size of the estate and by state and area; for small estates, lots of states have an informal probate procedure that decreases cosScales_of_Justicet and hold-up. Whether a revocable living trust is the right estate planning devise for you depends upon a person’s goals.

B. Scams Involving Living Trusts

Misunderstanding and false information about probate and estate taxes supply a ripe environment for scammers to take advantage of older customers’ fears that their estates will be consumed by expenses, or that distribution of their estate to loved ones will be long postponed. Some unethical businesses promote workshops on living trusts or send postcards welcoming consumers to call for in-home appointments, seemingly to find out whether a living trust works for them. A typical practice is to greatly overemphasize the benefits of living trusts and wrongly assert that locally-licensed attorneys will prepare the files. In some instances, customers send cash for living trust kits, however, get absolutely nothing. In others, the offer of estate planning services is simply a ploy to access to customers’ financial info and to offer them other financial items, such as insurance or annuities. These practices might violate securities laws, along with other laws.

Some state Attorneys General and other authorities, such as corrective or complaint committees of state or city bar associations, have actually taken enforcement actions against living trust scammer. Some cases have been brought under state Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices laws. Because the salespeople were not lawyers, others have been prosecuted under the unauthorized practice of law. Even in instances where there might be some lawyer evaluation, it may be inadequate to render the activity legal. The United State Securities and Exchange Commission likewise has prosecuted businesses claiming to provide estate planning services, such as living trusts, for breaching the securities laws through fraudulent investment plans targeting elderly people.

As you now understand, a living trust is a legal arrangement where the grantor places his possessions into a trust during his lifetime. The trust management is provided by a “trustee” for the benefit of the trust’s recipients. Some unscrupulous companies promote workshops on living trusts or send out postcards welcoming consumers to call for in-home consultations, seemingly to discover whether a living trust is right for them. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission likewise has prosecuted business purporting to provide estate preparation services, such as trusts, for violating the securities laws through fraudulent investment plans targeting senior citizens.

So when looking to set up your own living trust, make sure to find a lawyer that specializes in estate planning who you can trust.