Power of attorney can be invaluable to have in place should a person living in Lee County, Florida become unable to make decisions about finances and health care. The person who is given the power of attorney should be someone that the giver trusts to make those decisions. In order to give someone power of attorney, the giver must be of sound mind and able to understand the estate plan. If the giver is not of sound mind when the documents are signed, it can make the power of attorney null and void.
This seems to be the case for an elderly woman who gave power of attorney to her son in January 2009. Upon her death a year later at the age of 73, he was selected to be the personal representative of her estate. The woman had been diagnosed with cancer and due to her physical and mental health, it seems that she was not of sound mind when she gave her son power of attorney.
After their mother’s death, the man’s siblings became worried about what was happening with their mother’s finances. When their brother did not give them satisfactory answers to their questions regarding the finances, they filed petitions to remove him as the estate’s personal representative. The probate court ruled that the man had improperly handled the finances prior to and after his mother’s death and misspent $271,000 of her money. He was ordered to repay that amount to the estate.
Power of attorney can be a wonderful tool for families who have a loved one that can no longer make decisions for him or herself, but in the wrong hands it can also create a lot of problems. This is why it is so important to decide who will have power of attorney while you are of sound mind and select someone you trust.
Source: Bangor Daily News, “State high court upholds ruling against man who drained Rockport mother’s finances,” Stephen Betts, Jan. 10, 2014