My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last year. She went through chemo and was sent home in July of this year on hospice for end of life care. In January of this year she changed her life insurance policy removing her husband due to infidelity and other reasons then added me and my sister. Her husband got her to sign a power of attorney the day she was sent home, medicated on morphine and other strong medications then had one of his friends notarize it while using my disabled cousin to sign as a witness. Without my mother's knowledge he then electronically changed her life insurance policy three days later removing my sister and I and adding just himself. A month later my mother passed and he only covered the funeral cost so me and my sister had to pay almost $9,000 for burial costs. The following month he then collected my mother's life insurance policy. I have already sent him a demand letter asking for the full amount of the policy proceeds. He says he had a right to change her policy to whomever he chose because of the power of attorney. I want to know if I have a case for legal action against him for doing this and how much will this cost me.
I am very sorry to hear of your mother's passing.
You probably do have a case. Your mother's husband is mistaken about his powers as her attorney-in-fact. He was very likely NOT empowered to direct money to himself.
Litigating a case of this nature from start to finish, in my experience, costs in the $15,000 - 25,000 range. That's a guess, knowing nothing more about the matter. It could well be settled with a phone call for only $200 or - on the other end of the cost spectrum - get appealed up to the supreme court and cost near $100,000. Litigation is uncertain.
No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by this communication. This answer is to be considered as a general discussion of legal principals and is NOT LEGAL ADVICE. If the asker seeks specific legal advice, he should retain an attorney, who will naturally take the time to consider all aspects of the case and perform any necessary legal research.
The beneficiary could not be changed lawfully using a power of attorney. You have a case. It is typically the kind of case a lawyer would take on a contingency. The problem you have right now is that the insurance company has apparently paid the money out and getting the money from him could be very difficult. Someone should have placed the insurance company on notice of the issues very quickly so that they would not pay the money out.
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