Legal Question in Elder Law in Pennsylvania

Power of Attorney Abuse

My grandfather had granted his daughter power of attorney for reasons of convenience. She took out money while he was alive to pay bills and other expenses. Although she never provided proof or copies of the bills to explain the withdrawrals. Her power of attorney ended once my grandfather died. However, six days after his death, she used her ''power of attorney'' to withdraw $5000 from a bank account. That account was a joint account that my grandfather had with his girlfriend. His girlfriend was never notified by the bank that this had taken place. This transaction was discovered a month after the fact when the account was closed. My grandfather's girlfriend is named as executor of the will, which has been probated. My grandfather's daughter has been so verbally abusive to her that an injunction of harrasement has been taken against her. I assume that my grandfather's daughter was only given the money because she failed to mention that my grandfather had passed away. What can be done about this? What type of punishment can she recieve, and is the bank responsible?

Asked on 6/01/04, 10:58 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Debra Palazzo Law Offices of Debra Palazzo, LLC

Re: Power of Attorney Abuse

In NY, the daughter can be charged with grand larceny which is a felony or sued civily for conversion by the girlfriend, as the joint account became the girlfriends at his death (assuming JT w/ right of surviviorship on account). If not, she can be sued by Estate for grandfather's portion of that $5000 or perhaps compelled/ordered by Surrogate's court to return it. It's up to the girlfriend to decide which way to go. Contact the police/DA's office or start court action.

As for the bank, they seem to be protected since they were familiar w/ the daughter using this account as an agent of your grandfather and thereby she had "apparent authority" to continue to do so. If she had been a stranger to them, the reasonable thing to do would have been to contact the grandfather to assure the POA was still valid(re: he was still alive) otherwise they may be sued for negligence.

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Answered on 6/02/04, 8:52 am

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