A power of attorney vests specific legal authority in an individual, referred to as the attorney-in-fact or agent, that is designated by the principal (person creating the power of attorney). These powers given to the agent are specifically listed within each power of attorney and vary from case to case. However, it is very common for the agent to able to make financial decisions, transfer property and assets, make investment decisions, and make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal. This type of power is helpful if the principal becomes incapacitated and is unable to make decisions regarding their assets. Ideally, the agent will make only the best decisions that are congruent with the ideas of the principal.
Unfortunately, with such power comes the potential for abuse of that power. Sometimes, those who have been given power of attorney abuse their duty and withdraw funds from the estate, change the rightful beneficiaries to themselves or someone of their choosing, or any number of horrible things that can deplete the principal’s assets before the heirs can remedy the problem. When a power of attorney is abused, there are ways to get the agent removed and restore the estate. When an agent mishandles an estate in these ways, the families and testator, if still living, can sue them to recover those assets. If you or your family is faced with breach of a power of attorney, an experience probate litigator will be needed. The Law Office of Caleb A. Petersen, LLC has the experience needed for success.