Legal Question in Elder Law in Florida

I was accused of stealing money when I was POA (lie) of my elderly mom's accounts, and are being sued in civil court. My greedy sister is defintely behind this! The plainttiff is my mom. My question is if I had POA over bank accounts and never withdrew any money, but my mom over the years (even before I ever had POA) was always generous with me and gave me gifts (always with checks), from these accounts which I had POA over, did I do something wrong by accepting this money? Also, I had POA over one account, just to cash her ss checks (always gave her the cash ) also the other account was to have a debit card to go grocery shopping or whatever for her needs only! These are the only reasons I had POA over these accounts. My mother now suffers from in and out dementia, but was fine when I was in her life. Sister is banning me with her POA, from seeing my mom.

Asked on 2/20/11, 11:45 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Sanford M. Martin Sanford M. Martin, P.A.

Based on the facts in your question, you are not liable or vulnerable to criminal charges because of acceptance of funds from your mother despite being the attorney-in-fact on a POA. It is not clear why your mother, who has some degree of dementia, is the "plaintiff." Unless it can be shown that you misused your POA authority to gain funds contrary to the wishes of your mother, your liability would appear minimal. Discussing some settlement may be in your interest; however, if the mental capacity of your mother is an issue, you may want to introduce this issue because, if she is mentally incapacitated, she should not be a plaintiff, even if your sister is the co-plaintiff or real force behind the action.

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Answered on 2/20/11, 12:29 pm

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