How to avoid power of attorney elder abuse

Often elderly individuals need assistance managing their affairs, specifically financial matters. This can be accomplished by a "power of attorney" document, which gives one person (the agent) the written legal authorization to act for another (the principal). Clearly this requires choosing an agent who will make all decisions and take all actions with loyalty and the utmost good faith.

Therefore, consider the following guidelines for selecting a suitable person to serve as your (power of attorney) agent:

1. First and foremost, choose someone that is well-known and has earned complete trust with the elder or family.

2. Only release the power of attorney when it is needed. This is all accomplished at your attorney's office, where a signed copy can remain intact for emergency use. Circumstances change, and if the elder person is able to resume handling their own responsibilities, they should take back the power of attorney immediately.

3. If there are questionable transfers of any kind by the agent, contact our office immediately for assistance. The victim will need a letter demanding the return of assets along with an accounting. It can be difficult to pursue 'the money trail,' so it is best to begin proceedings quickly to stop further abuses.

If a lawsuit is indicated, our attorneys can assist with the entire process. This could result in the return of stolen assets and possibly other compensation. Contact our office today to discuss your concerns.

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