Pick Wisely! Your Financial POA Can Rob You Blind
Contributor: Maria L. Shinn
Be careful. Be very careful when naming someone as your power of attorney. An unethical person with a financial power of attorney in hand can steal your money and wreak havoc on your finances.
You may have heard the heartbreaking stories of caregivers who steal money from an elder when the elder grants them a financial power of attorney. Theft by fiduciaries is one reason banks and financial institutions look for any reason to refuse a power of attorney document.
So does that mean that you should not sign a power of attorney document? No, definitely not. It means that you should only name someone you know and trust as your fiduciary for finances. You should also consult with an attorney because there are different types of powers of attorney and other ways to protect your assets. If you don't have a properly drafted power of attorney, the probate court may have to appoint a guardian for you if you become incompetent and/or unable to handle your financial affairs.
If your friend or loved one is being scammed or ripped off by a fiduciary, contact the police right away. The fiduciary could be prosecuted for any actions that are criminal. In addition, your friend or loved one can sue the fiduciary to recover the stolen assets, be awarded attorney fees, and possibly even collect treble ("triple") damages against a bad-acting fiduciary.