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My sister removed my brother and myself as beneficiaries on my mom's retirement accounts at the bank against my mom's knowledge.

Watertown, WI |

My mom had us 3 siblings listed as equal beneficiaries on her retirement accounts at the bank . My mom had been hospitalized in a trauma unit in a Wisconsin hospital . Before my mom passed away my sister who is Durable Power of attorney went without my mom's knowledge and removed my brother and I as beneficiaries . Wouldn't my mom have to of signed something and it be certified or notarized . My sister also had my mom sign a form to cash in one of the accounts while she was still alive and told my mom it was to pay medical bills for my mom when indeed my sister took the money and put into her bank under her name only .

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Attorney answers 3


In each case, this would appear to be a clear example of self-dealing and a breach of fiduciary duties, on the part of your sister. Sadly, you are not going to be able to do anything about this on your own, unless your sister agrees to put the money back. You are going to need to hire a skilled probate litigation attorney to bring these actions to the attention of the probate court.

Best of luck to you with this!

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


A POA can not make changes that benefit themselves.
You should see an attorney ASAP to protect your interests.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


The bank may have liability here. I don't know any bank that would allow an agent to change beneficiaries with a general power of attorney. Some states have stronger "agent responsibility" laws than others. If she removed you and left herself as beneficiary, that is clearly self-dealing. It would violate the law in our state. You may be able to challenge this by confronting the branch manager at the bank where this was done, and insist that they refer this to their legal department.

However, an attorney can do this much more effectively, and I would advise you to consult with an expert probate attorney immediately.

Mr. Huddleston is an Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Columbus and Dayton, serving client families and private business owners throughout Ohio. He may be contacted directly by phone toll-free at 888.488.7878 or by email CLH@HUDDLAW.COM. Mr. Huddleston responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but his responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship.