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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
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My mother recently passed away. In August 2005, she had appointed

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My mother recently passed away. In August 2005, she had appointed a man that took advantage of her finances as Executor/Personal Representative of he estate. She gave him Power of Attorney at the same time with which he promptly started draining her savings and ran up over $100,000 (current) credit card debt. In her will she left my sister and niece a savings CD and IRA - he closed them in October & November 2005. In January 2006, he obtained a reverse mortgage on her home (she did not sign the papers as I can see from the papers filed on MD Land Rec that it is him as POA). The reverse mortgage current balance is about $107,000 and the home has appraised for $66,000. She did not include me in her will and besides the now defunct accounts, she left everything to this criminal who abused his POA. He also changed himself to beneficiary of her life insurance policy. We have settlements coming from my deceased father's asbestos claim. The lawyer that is handling that said 10% goes to my father's estate and the remainder goes to my mother's. What steps do I need to take to stop this money from getting into the hands of this criminal (we are trying to pursue charges on him for neglect and abuse of his POA - just not quite sure how to go about all of it.) Although he was named Executor and Personal Rep, my sister and I petitioned the court for that role. Since he did not show for the hearing, we were granted it. (He was busy moving out of my mother's house the day before & day of the hearing - running I guess because he knew when we were granted that we could bring a police officer through the house). I have also found some evidence in her home that he used her name to run an ebay business - so I am thinking identity theft is another route to take for charging him. Please advise. I do not have the funds to hire a lawyer, but may if I can use the funds coming from the asbestos claim if that is allowable.

TMcJD :

Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.

TMcJD :

Yes, funds that come from the settlement and that are a part of your mother's estate can be used to retain an attorney to pursue claims against this person. You and your sister can use those funds as the executors of your mother's estate.

TMcJD :

Unfortunately, you do need an attorney to pursue claims against this person because these claims are very difficult and you need someone very familiar with the law and the legal process of pursuing the claims against him

TMcJD :

What he did is known as a breach of fiduciary duties. When a person is an agent for someone else, that person owes fiduciary duties for the person he is acting for -- in this case your mother.

TMcJD :

Those duties include the duty of good faith and loyalty. In other words, an agent cannot take an action that is in the agent's own best interest. The agent must take only those actions in the best interest of the principal -- your mother.

TMcJD :

His changing the beneficiary on the life insurance policy can be undone as a breach of fiduciary duty (the duty of loyalty).

TMcJD :

To the extent you can prove he used your mother's money for his own benefit, you will have established a separate breach of duty for which you can get a judgment against him for repayment of those monies that benefited him and not your mother.

TMcJD :

Of course, you can also turn this over to the district attorney so they can review it for criminal acts. If they prosecute him, it will be for his crimes, but that doesn't help you and your sister get anything back from him and into your mother's estate. Those are civil claims and a separate lawsuit will be necessary.

TMcJD :

I'm sorry you're dealing with this. It is a mess and something that's a terrible shame. It's ridiculous when someone takes advantage of someone else in their fragile state. Again, I'm sorry.

TMcJD :

Unfortunately, though, you really will need an attorney to assist you, but as noted you can use the settlement funds in your mother's estate to pursue claims against this person.

TMcJD :

Please let me know if I can provide additional assistance. Thanks.

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