Due to the power bestowed on agents acting under a Durable Power of Attorney, there is a significant risk of this power being abused. The agent has access to financial accounts and personal information. A few common ways the agent may misuse his or her power:
- Use the money for the agent’s personal needs/wants while claiming the money was used for the benefit of the principal.
- An underhanded power-of-attorney may commit welfare fraud or attempt to obtain other government benefits using the principal’s name and personal information.
- Make changes to beneficiary designations to benefit himself/herself against the principal’s wishes or without consent.
It is imperative that you choose trustworthy, financially sound agents to act on your behalf. Never grant power of attorney to a stranger or acquaintance, such as a paid caregiver. Ensure that you retain the right to revoke your power of attorney under any circumstance.
Power of attorney abuse is often financial exploitation, which is illegal and punishable by federal and Maryland state laws. Contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 for more information.