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

Sheila (Guest) on Friday, September 07 2012, 03:46 PM
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?
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    Replied by Attorney Margaret Cross-Beliveau on Friday, September 07 2012, 04:00 PM · Hide · #1
    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.
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