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Can an agent with POA remove funds in an IRA account willed to a relative?

Additional Information:

My great grandmother had Alzheimer’s for several years, but was of sound mind when she made her will. She gave POA to a family member.

Her physical health began failing two months ago and she passed away last month.

Today I received a letter informing me that, in her will, she had left me a considerable sum in an IRA account. It also informed me that the relative with the POA had cleaned out the account just weeks before my great grandmother’s death.

Can he legally do this?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

The short answer is yes, a power of attorney would have the power to access financial accounts for your great grandmother.  The important question is why the power of attorney tapped the IRA account.

The Power of Attorney had a fiduciary duty to your great grandmother and could not have emptied the accounts for himself.  What happened to the money?  It is very easy to image that due to the Alzheimer’s and her advanced age she ran up debt for her medical care.  Did she have other accounts which could have been used to pay debts?  Did the power of attorney make a gift of the account?  Were there other assets left in the trust?   Could he have obtained a reverse mortgage on the home if there was one?   Would obtaining a reverse mortgage have impacted another’s inheritance? I am assuming yes.

You need to investigate to obtain more facts and if necessary, seek counsel.

Margaret L. Cross-Beliveau, Esq., LL.M.

The Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The attorneys at The Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate planning (wills and trusts), Medicaid (planning and applications), probate (estate and trust administration), business law (formation and operation), real estate (residential and commercial), taxation (federal and state), and civil litigation (in connection with these practice areas). The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts; Quincy, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire and Salem, New Hampshire.

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