Recently power of attorney was changed. Can they change beneficiary names on CDS?

Asked 7 months ago - Traverse City, MI

Hubbys aunt is in nursing home in Tennessee now and recently they changed POA. She has cancer and is going to pass away. She told us specifically she has CD's that we and our 3 children are listed as beneficiaries. Can the power of attorney now change the beneficiaries on these CDs. We have reason to believe this new POA might be thinking of cashing these. Is this legal. She is still living and this is her wish that we have these. We are talking a very generous amount of money. We are worried our children will not receive these.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There is no easy way to answer your question. There are times when this would be permissible and other times when it would be construed as self-dealing and a breach of fiduciary duty. A great deal depends on the facts of your case. Your aunt may be able to control the disposition of these accounts if she still has capacity. If she does not have capacity, then you will need to try to monitor the situation as closely as you can.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******... more
  2. David B. Carter Jr.


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . It depends on what the POA says. If the CD is cashed and used for her benefit then that may be perfectly legal and acceptable even though there are beneficiaries listed.

  3. Nancy Loukus Ballast

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with prior advice, and, his question is hard to answer precisely without knowing how the power of attorney was written. What your aunt told you is one thing, and how the POA can carry out its duties are another.

    Is this “helpful” or a “best” answer? Please mark it if it was, and I hope it was! Thank you! Nancy L. Ballast... more
  4. Charles Adam Shultz

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Depending on what the power of attorney states, yes it is possible for the POA to do that. While your aunt is living, the funds are hers and can be cashed for her benefit. Also, the agent could change the beneficiary if the power is broad enough - not saying it would hold up, but they could still change it. If you are really concerned and aunt has capacity you should take it up with her, and she should provide written instructions on the use and management of her assets, and possibly change the agent, or limit the authority.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or... more
  5. Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Attorneys Carter and Shultz. While the attorney-in-fact may be acting properly, it is advisable to retain an attorney to confirm that everything is on the up-and-up. Because, if it's not, it may be too late to correct the problem if you wait until your husband's aunt passes away. Good luck to you.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor... more

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