California Estate Planning Attorney Kavesh Minor & Otis

It’s a standard part of estate planning. It’s also, according to experts on elder fraud, a license to steal. It’s the power of attorney, a legal instrument designed to give a trusted individual the authority to handle financial or health matters for the person creating it.

One of the tricky things about old age is the point at which you need to legally delegate another to handle your financial matters. This legal “appointment” is one of the most important decisions you will make. Why? Because it can be a license to steal in the wrong hands.

A “power of attorney” is one of the most fundamental legal instruments you will ever create. In fact, everyone upon becoming a “legal adult” (varies by state law) ought to appoint one or more “attorneys-in-fact” to handle financial matters in the event of incapacity. The alternative is an unpleasant (and expensive) adventure in the probate court.

But a power of attorney has an unfortunate downside, especially in the form of financial “elder abuse.” It can become a license to steal.

The problem of abuse by way of a power of attorney is nothing new. In fact, a recent article in MarketWatch took up the matter. The article, titled “Power of attorney: It’s easily abused,” noted that 34% of all elder abuse doesn’t originate with credit card fraud, bogus lotteries, or emails from captive African princes. No, it is due to family members who have access and maybe even the power of attorney to dispose of accounts as they see fit.

The importance of your selection of attorneys-in-fact cannot be stressed enough. This is one of those decisions when the entire family ought to be apprised and alerted to who is going to do what and why.

Do not go it alone. Engage competent legal counsel to help you navigate these potentially treacherous waters.

For more information, please visit my estate planning webiste.

Do You Need To Speak With An Attorney About Estate Planning?

If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call us directly at 800.756.5596 to first register for one of our free, informative seminars. Your attendance will qualify you for a special discount for our estate planning services should you decide to make a free appointment at the conclusion of the seminar and choose to proceed with us. We proudly serve clients throughout California with offices in Torrance, Newport Beach, Orange, Woodland Hills and Pasadena.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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