POAs & Financial Exploitation of the Elderly
A power of attorney( POA) can be a dangerous document if it gets into the wrong hands. Probate litigators in West Palm Beach know that people, unfortunately, abuse POAs and take your money. It happens more often than you could imagine. Our trust and estates litigation office receives many calls from prospective clients suggesting that a power of attorney document has been misused. This is why – just like guardianship litigation – power of attorney litigation is almost a sub-specialty of probate litigation. In case you didn’t know it already, people who claim to be your friends or relatives misuse powers of attorney. They use and abuse your power of attorney to sign deeds, to change your beneficiaries, to withdraw money from your bank accounts, to put their names on your financial accounts, and to take your money and property. In Florida, we refer to these actions as “financial exploitation” or “financial abuse.”
A February 17,2017 article in The Augusta Chronicle discusses how two men are facing charges for exploitation of the elderly. Although this particular elder abuse did not occur in Florida, exploitation of the elderly in Palm Beach is happening frequently. One of the men here, John Breshahan Weigle Jr, had sole power of attorney when he allegedly emptied out his elderly mother’s bank accounts. This made his own mother unable to pay her nursing home. To read the entire article, click here.