Abuse of a power of attorney

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
A person with a power of attorney is a fiduciary (fih-DOO-see-air-ee). If a person exercises a power of attorney wrongfully, he or she can be held personally accountable. Sometimes persons with powers of attorney transfer assets to themselves before a person dies to avoid probate, but end up depriving people named in the will of a decedent of assets to which they would be entitled. Powers of attorney are convenient – and advisable. If you become disabled or incapable of handling your affairs temporarily or permanently, appointing someone you trust with your power of attorney is a good idea. If you become disabled, the expense and inconvenience of a formal guardianship is avoided. But be careful; a person who abuses a power of attorney may not have the ability to repay you or the people who have been harmed. If you believe that a person exercising a power of attorney or other fiduciary duty has deprived you of assets, contact an attorney.

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