You have signed a Power of Attorney, but you suspect that it is not being used properly. What can you do? In Siedentopf Law’s latest video, Georgia estate planning and probate attorney Sarah Siedentopf explains how to terminate a Power of Attorney.
Hi, I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an estate planning and probate attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. So, you’ve signed a power of attorney giving someone authority, or maybe a loved one has, and you become suspicious that that power of attorney is not being used properly. That you are in fact being stolen from. Act quickly. It is much, much easier to stop money from leaving than it is to get it back.
The first step is to revoke the power of attorney. If you have someone acting under one that you have granted, and you believe that they are not doing what you want them to do, you must terminate that power of attorney, and when you do, you need to let all banks, financial institutions, and other places that that person has been doing business with the power of attorney — let them know that this has been revoked. As long as they don’t know this, they can continue to act. You may want to actually let the police know about it. However, it is very difficult sometimes to get the police in these situations.
Often, there is a mistaken thought that this is a civil problem, and you just need to sue them. Sometimes you do just need to sue them; however, theft is always criminal, even when it is theft using a power of attorney. You may need to actually go to an attorney to talk about this because the next step is demanding that the person return the funds. Sometimes, having an attorney letterhead helps with this. If they don’t return the funds, a lawsuit may be necessary. You may have to sue them to get the money back, and sometimes a guardianship is necessary if the person who granted the power of attorney is not competent. It may be necessary to prove to the court that the current power of attorney is not doing what they are supposed to do and that a guardianship should be granted. So, if you suspect financial abuse under a power of attorney, don’t wait. Look into it immediately. You’ll regret it if you don’t. I hope this has been helpful. Thank you.
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