Rochester residents are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when choosing whom to involve in their estate planning. While most may want to assume that their friends and family will always act in their best interests, handing over authority such as power of attorney to the wrong person could have disastrous consequences to both a settlor and his or her estate. Even associating with the wrong types could open the door for cases of abuse and/or fraud. The hope is that those involved in them recognize a perpetrator’s actions and are able to hold him or her solely responsible.
Such was the outcome in a case involving a dispute with the financial services firm Edward Jones. The firm had paid damages to the estate of a woman totaling $290,000. It was later discovered that the man who claimed to have been given power of attorney for the woman had actually embezzled the settlement funds from her account. He also apparently forged the documentation granting him power of attorney, as well as an indemnification agreement which absolved him of any liability for actions that were supposedly taken on her behalf.
The arbitration board for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s office hearing the dispute recognized the man’s actions and ruled that he must repay Edward Jones the same amount as the settlement as well as additional legal fees.
The hope is that seeing to one’s estate planning will eliminate the potential of any issues arising once he or she is gone. Yet as this case demonstrates, any number of things can occur in this often complex process. Those needing assistance in dealing with estate matters may find it in the form of an experienced attorney.
Source: Investment News “Finra panel awards Edward Jones $340,000 in estate dispute” Sept. 01, 2017