CHICAGO ELDER LAW LAWYERS FOR MISUSE OF POWER OF ATTORNEY
Elgin, IL Power of Attorney Misuse Attorneys
Power of Attorney legally enables an individual to make a range of decisions on the behalf of another individual who might be elderly, ill, disabled or incapacitated. Often a relative or close family friend serves in this role. Power of Attorney grants authority to the person, who is also called the agent. With that authority, however, also comes the capacity for misuse.
Power of Attorney misuse targets those unable to sufficiently take care of themselves. For example, elderly, disable or sick people. Power of attorney grants the agent ability to assist with legal, medical financial and other decisions. For this reason, the agent also frequently can access funds, assets and personal information. To protect against power-of-attorney abuse, it’s helpful to know the facts, and responsibilities associated with this status.
What is Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is legal documentation establishing a relationship between two individuals. They’re referred to as the Principal and the Agent (or Attorney-in-Fact). The Principal authorizes the Agent to make decisions on his or her behalf. It’s the Power of Attorney document that grants this authority. Principal.
How can it be misused?
This form of abuse happens when the Agent takes unfair advantage of their position. For example, the Agent makes decisions that benefits them without the knowledge or consent of the Principal. There can be multiple forms of Power-of-Attorney misuse, with financial misuse usually the most common.
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Most powers of attorney permit full control over the Principal’s funds. Therefore, those who misuse their authority may steal from the Principal’s bank accounts for personal use. They may even claim it’s to benefit the elderly person. An instance of stealing an elderly or disabled Principal’s money may equal a case of financial exploitation. If an agent utilizes their status to make transactions for their personal benefit it may be misuse.
Forgery, Fraud and Identity Theft
With access to the Principal’s personal information, a scammer may open bank accounts or credit cards in the elder’s name. These acts may mean the Principal is accountable for any fraud the Agent commit’s under the Principal’s name. Furthermore, the agent may even commit welfare or tax fraud under the Principal’s name. Another example of fraud or forgery is the action of changing the principal’s beneficiaries to the benefit of the agent.
As an example of physical abusiveness, an agent committing power-of-attorney misuse makes poor medical decisions on behalf of the Principal. These decisions may include committing the elderly person to a nursing home or making unnecessary medical purchases. In addition, they may fail to place the elderly person in an appropriate care facility. Whether due to negligence or malice, these acts may constitute power-of-attorney misuse.
Breaches of Fiduciary Duty
The individual with Power of Attorney owes what’s known as a fiduciary duty to the Principal. These duties include keeping the elder updated about the status of their finances and medical affairs. Also, they must inform the Principal about the status of other financial accounts covered by their agreement.
Fight Against Power of Attorney Misuse – 847-628-8311
The agent must receive consent from the elder prior to seeing any profit from the elder’s finances. Essentially, fiduciary duty means the agent must serve the elder’s best interests. Failure to uphold fiduciary duties or committing a breach of duties can result in power of attorney misuse.
Who is at greatest risk of falling victim to abuses?
The purpose of granting powers are typically to provide for those who need help. For instance, elderly or disabled people who in a physically or emotionally vulnerable state. For this reason, individuals seeking the chance to swindle money from the unsuspecting are drawn to commit this act.
Elders or the disabled who live by themselves, for instance, may be vulnerable to Power of Attorney abuses. In some instances, distant relatives resurface and propose to sign a document. It may promise to provide medical care for the elderly person. In other cases, fraudulent estate or trust planners make promises to manage the elder’s accounts. However, they may enable themselves with Power of Attorney only to exploit or defraud the elderly person.
Work With an Elder Financial Abuse Lawyer
If you need help with Power of Attorney fraud or abuse, please contact our attorneys today to set up an initial appointment.
We serve the Chicago area, including Elgin, Rolling Meadows, Barrington, Carpentersville, South Elgin, Lake In the Hills, Crystal Lake, Geneva, St. Charles, Kane County, Cook County, and the surrounding counties.
Please call 847-628-8311.
We are ready to help you and your loved ones through this challenging time.