How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask RayAnswers Your Own Question
RayAnswers
RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37014
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
8534270
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
RayAnswers is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I was the POA for my grandmother for 6 years. In good faith

Customer Question

I was the POA for my grandmother for 6 years. In good faith I acted on her behalf to keep her in her home with 24 hour care As she specifically stated in her power of attorney . Her expenses were much higher than the money coming in & her retirement account was quickly shrinking. Do to her financial situation & her declining health a decision was made to not pay property taxes or file income taxes & that those fees would come out of the estate when she passed. All efforts were made to retain the house as part of the estate. She was cared for in the manner she requested.
( not to mention that her children with the exception of 1, visited her less than 2 times in the 6 years I was POA)
Now that she has passed the executor of the estate is requesting that I pay the penalties & interest incurred. Stating that it is a result of my negligence. they are requesting over $17,000.
There is an indemnity clause in the power of attorney, "The Attorney-in-fact shall not have any liability for any acts done by virtue of this Power of Attorney, so long as the acts are done in good faith. The Estate of the Principal shall defend, hold harmless and indemnify the Attorney-in-Fact from all liability for acts done in good faith and not fraud of the principal.
I welcome any advice on how to respond to the Executors request for payment. Note: I also have been given barely a week to respond.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 3 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 3 months ago.

Here you would tell them that it was the decision of the deceased that the taxes be deferred and paid out of her estate.It is my belief that this was her decision and that she had capacity to make it.I would also point out that under the terms of the POA the Attorney-in-fact shall not have any liability for any acts done by virtue of this Power of Attorney, so long as the acts are done in good faith. The Estate of the Principal shall defend, hold harmless and indemnify the Attorney-in-Fact from all liability for acts done in good faith and not fraud of the principal.

It is your belief that you acted in her best interests and desires and that the estate and the estate alone is liable for the taxes.The estate here is the legal owner of the property and the unpaid debt.I respectfully ***** ***** pay this amount and it is my belief that under the POA I have no liability for following the directions and intentions of the deceased as POA.

Something like that, do it in writing here that you feel you don't owe it and see what happens.I think you can defend what you did in complying with the deceased person's desires.They are trying to push this debt off on you , legally I do not think they can prevail with this language.

I appreciate the chance to help you tonight.Thanks again.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 3 months ago.

I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 3 months ago.

If you can rate 5 stars when we are done it is always much appreciated.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Is this the same in all states? I'm in Washington. Don't know why an attorney in Texas responded.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 3 months ago.

Yes it is in Washington.Again I don't think they can hold you liable here. You were trying to carryout the deceased's wishes.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 3 months ago.

Here under Washington state law as a Fiduciary you have a responsibility to act in her best interest. You can argue that you acted reasonably and prudently in their actions here, the need for her care outweighed the need to pay the taxes.I think a judge would agree here.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 3 months ago.

Again you may choose to respond to the executor and point this out here.I think the POA terms also support you as you cited above.