My aunt has stollen tons of money from my grandma and treats her horribly. What can I do?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 16, 2016
Elizabeth lb asked...

What can I do???!!! My Aunt has been watching my grandmother for years now. Then my grandmother inherited a ton of money when her sister passed away. My Aunt is her power of attorney and has spent it all! She treats my grandmother horribly. My dad and uncle don't want to make waves, but I can't stand by and watch this train wreck any longer. Please help I don't know what steps to take. :(

Expert Answers

Ah, another troublesome POA situation. You state that your aunt, who has a POA from your grandmother, has stolen money from your grandmother. What can you do?

I gather that your grandmother is no longer mentally competent If she were, she could simply revoke the POA. However, assuming that your grandmother is not now competent, the legal situation becomes, in my opinion, murky.

Your possible legal remedies are limited, and expensive. You would have to file a lawsuit against your aunt, alleging that she was abusing her authority under the POA. Proving that would be a difficult matter.

POAs, specifically what are called "durable" powers of attorney, which last even if the principal becomes incompetent, are a relatively new legal device. From the many questions on possible POA abuse I have received from folks, there seem to be serious problems in many cases with how POAs are currently used. But there is no body of law or legal decisions that I know that give rights to other family members when one of them is suspected of POA abuse, aside from filing a lawsuit. Perhaps the threat of filing a lawsuit would encourage your aunt to be reasonable. Or perhaps you could receive help from a lawyer or center which specializes in "elder abuse." [Aside from knowing that there are people who specialize in "elder abuse," I know nothing about that.] I wish I could provide you with a more helpful response.