There are many types of elder abuse, include abuse of power of attorney. In this article, we’ll examine what this type of abuse looks like and what you can do if you suspect that a loved one is experiencing it.
What is Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney provides an individual with the ability to make financial and legal decisions on another individual’s behalf. People who have power of attorney (agents) are expected to act in the best interest of the persons they represent (principals). Unfortunately, sometimes power of attorney is abused.
What Does Power of Attorney Elder Abuse Look Like?
Senior citizens are especially at risk for power of attorney abuse. They may have mental or physical impairments preventing them from managing their own financial and legal affairs. Agents can sometimes use power of attorney to steal money from the principal.
In some cases, an individual decides to designate an agent with power of attorney due to pressure from that agent, who may or may not be trustworthy. Powers of attorney are not typically subject to oversight by a court or third party, which means an agent can abuse their power for months or years without getting caught.
Anyone who has a senior’s power of attorney can abuse it. This includes lawyers, family members, and friends.
Watch for these signs of power of attorney abuse:
- Principal is isolated from friends/family by the agent
- Agent prevents principal/others from seeing bank statements
- Strange or unexplained bank account withdrawals
- Changes a senior’s will for their benefit
If you notice any of these signs, act right away to protect your loved one’s financial assets.
Seniors should discuss their options with trusted family and legal professionals before transferring power of attorney. If power of attorney must be transferred, ideally it will be to an individual the senior has known and trusted for several years.
Seniors should know how to revoke power of attorney if possible, and family members should be aware of what to do if a senior cannot revoke their power of attorney. Consult a legal professional to learn more.
If you suspect power of attorney abuse, call local authorities immediately.
If you or a loved one has suffered from elder abuse, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.