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I'm sorry to hear of this situation. A power of attorney (POA) has a fiduciary duty to the principal (the party granting the POA). This means that the agent (the party who is to act on behalf of the principal) must act in good faith, with utmost care, and cannot engage in self-dealing. The agent is precluded from transferring assets to one's own name, as that is a conflict with the inherent duties; the agent is to use the principal's property for the benefit of the principal - there is no need to transfer the property to the agent's name, as the agent has access to that property (for the principal's needs) by very virtue of the POA. As such, it is considered a breach of the fiduciary duty, requiring the agent to reimburse the estate for any monies wrongfully used. The court will typically award attorney fees and costs in order to make the estate whole.
Violating the fiduciary duty is grounds for requesting the court to remove that individual as the executor, as that individual has already shown a propensity for not adhering to the law.
The court can order the agent to transfer the property to the proper owner, thus voiding any illegal transfers. Often times, family members will choose to hire an attorney, who will draft a letter requesting that the action be taken, and asking them to resign their position. If they fail to do so, the attorney can file a breach of fiduciary action, along with a request to strip the agent of all powers and to void the transfers.
The individual can also be criminally prosecuted. Financial exploitation is defined in Social Services Law 473.6 as: the improper use of an adult’s funds, property or resources by another individual including, but not limited to, fraud, false pretenses, embezzlement, conspiracy, forgery, falsifying records, coerced property transfers or denial of access to assets.
Yes, as a breach of the fiduciary duty is an actionable offense.
Discussion of elder financial exploitation here: https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/housing/pdfs/gal%20pdfs/ELDER_ABUSE_WORKSHOP_INFORMATION.pdf
Did you have any questions on the above?