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Can an ex spouse still act as my agent by durable power of attorney after we have divorced?

San Diego, CA |

In a previous marriage, my fiancé had a power of attorney naming his ex-wife as the agent. They've been divorced for over two years yet she has used the document to remove money out of one of his bank accounts. Is she allowed to do this if the power of attorney is not revoked at divorce?

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Attorney answers 3


Of course she should not do this - but the question is whether she can "get away" doing this.

Did he demand the return of the Power of Attorney that she is operating under?

Is this simply a Power of Attorney at a specific bank that he kept going? If so, presumably he now has closed this account?? or notified the bank / revoked???

This is a critical document - if you give out the Power of Appointment - physically you need to file the statutory procedure to cancel and notify all in county that you have done so.

Immediately consult with an attorney IF it is relevant any longer (e.g. - was it general, or just for that account, and now cancelled?) -- clearly he can go afer her if monies were not hers and not authorized, but is there anything that is recoverable?

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The power of attorney was essentially revoked by the divorce, but thats a little irrelevant as to the bank because they were not on notice.

There is a different issue with the ex-wife's action. First, usually GPOA's or made springing meaning they are not effective until incapacity. If that is the case, then the bank could be liable.

With regard to the ex-wife, revoked or not, effective or not, the ex-wife had no authority to use the POA to "steal". The document still has to be used as a fiduciary. The ex-wife can be held to civil and criminal liability.

Your husband should file a police report and contact a lawyer.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice


Even though the Power of Attorney has been revoked by divorce, under these circumstances your fiancé should also sign a document confirming that revocation and give a copy of that document (preferably along with a copy the divorce judgment) to each financial institution with which he does business.