Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

my cousin left me as beneficiary on her retirement plan while she was in hospice her brother some how managed to have the beneficiary change to himself,how can I prove he did this while she was in hospice care with lung and brain cancer, her brother was her power of attorney, but I thought a POA could not make those kind of changes. I am almost posiitive he did this while she was not of sound mind.

Thank you in advance for your advice

Asked on 9/17/13, 12:49 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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It depends on the language of the power of attorney. When I draft them for clients, I have language in the power about the agent being able to make a gift to him or herself. So you need to read the power of attorney to see exactly what it says and whether an agent is or is not allowed to make gifts to himself and if he is by how much.

Second, since you are not the owner of the policy the only way to be able to get information is for you to bring a lawsuit against your cousin. If the funds have not been paid out yet, you may be able to use something called interpleader to get the insurance company to pay the money into court so that you and your cousin can then determine who has a right to the funds.

If I were you, I would get to an elder law or probate litigation attorney. Pay him/her to review the power of attorney and circumstances. Further, how much money was in the retirement plan? Litigation is very costly. If there is not much money in there, then you are going to have to determine whether the costs of litigation will justify a legal battle here.

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9/17/13, 5:38 pm

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