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What recourse do we have against holder of power of attorney that defrauded mentally ill person's estate under MO state law

Saint Louis, MO |

I too have a similar situation where my father recently passed away. My sister who lived near him asked us to consider her daughter for POA 2 months after my mother passsed. At this time his will was also changed. She was to assist with paying his bills. She kept no records and left him penniless. Within a month after he had a stroke and had to go live with my sister and her adult children, one of which had POA. Within that same month, she had him deed over the farm to her (POA). Shortly after that he was placed in a psych ward for evaluation and then in a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients. He went back to the hospital and died in my sister's home 4 months later. My question is do my siblings and I have recourse to attempt to get back the farm and what little belongings he had left...tractor boat. All other belongings were disposed of before his death.

Attorney Answers 1


A Power of Attorney (agent) has a fiduciary or financial responsibility to the principal (in this case your dad). To what extent and how that is determined will be guided somewhat or mostly by your state's laws; however, generally speaking an agent in this scenario has a duty to keep records or monies spent, as well as incoming money, and records kept for items that were sold or otherwise disposed of. An agent must not self-deal or in other words, use the pwoer of attorney to give herself property or assets, or make sweatheart deals to buy assets. It would seem that deeding over the farm to herself, the POA violated the prohibition against self-dealing. I would also question whether he even had the capacity to execute the POA and/or the Will if he had Alzheimer's at that time. Your action would be through his estate now most likely, going back against the person with the POA to make her account for expenditures and monies and if it were done improperly or fraudulently, you could possibly bring the civil action for damages, and/or you could contact your local Sate Attorney's office (could be District Attorney in some states) to discuss possible criminal prosecution for stealing for him. You should contact an attorney licensed in your state (or where your father lived to be more precise) to discuss in more detail the circumstances surrounding this matter to see if there is a case.

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