Legal Question in Elder Law in North Carolina

Elderly couple taken advantage of!

an elderly woman had a stroke and was put in the hospital. She could not speak for a while. A cousin of the elderly lady came over with her husband and got the elderly woman's husband who is in his 90's to sign a paper turning over his property to them. The man had no idea what he was signing and was not aware that his property would no longer be his. Somehow this cousin was able to without a signature of the elderly woman gain power of attorney over her estate and has wiped everything out of her bank account. She took her check book and would not give it back, had all of their monthly checks being sent to them. This couple lives in Virginia but the couple who took everything live in North Carolina. They told this elderly couple that they were going to take them back to a rental house beside them after she came out of the hospital for a few days. Well a few days ended up being weeks and they would not let them come home or have a phone to call anyone. People were told no visitors for 30 days from Virginia. They are home now but with no money in their account and all property signed over to this other couple. They have no money or anything now. Can they get this revoked or get their property and money back????

Asked on 8/12/04, 12:00 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Dennis Toman The Elderlaw Firm

Re: Elderly couple taken advantage of!

This is actually primarily an issue of Virginia law, since the couple that was apparently taken advantage of is in Virginia, and also the act that is disputed (giving authority to the cousin) also occurred in Virginia. However, as a general matter, the elderly couple can of course revoke their own power of attorney. There would also be an issue of whether the uncle was competent to act or intended to sign what he did. Also, this is something that seems to involve elder abuse in a financial sense and so the Virginia equivalent of North Carolina's adult protective services agency should be notified. It will likely be difficult to get any recovery of the bank account/property unless the bank knew of some reason to question the cousin's authority.

This is not legal advice, and the people involved should consult an attorney promptly.

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Answered on 8/12/04, 7:28 am

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