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Power of attorney agents can breach fiduciary duties

There comes a time in many Texas residents' lives in which they can no longer handle all the important aspects of their lives themselves. You may have a loved one who began to experience mental decline due to dementia or another cognitive disease, but fortunately, your loved one took the time to create an estate plan that accounted for such a scenario.

In particular, your family member appointed a person to act on his or her behalf by naming that person as a power of attorney agent. At first, knowing that your loved one had made this appointment may have given you some peace of mind. However, you now worry that the agent is not acting in your loved one's best interests.

Fiduciary duty

When a relationship between two people is created in which one person has the obligation to act in the interests of the other, a fiduciary duty has formed. Many relationships could create this duty, and the relationship between a power of attorney agent and the principal, or person who appointed the agent, is one of them. In the case of your loved one, he or she may have named a person to make financial-related decisions when the mental decline became too significant.

Breach of fiduciary duty

Unfortunately, not all agents act in the best interests of their principals, and if you believe that your loved one's agent is misusing funds, abusing his or her power as the agent, or otherwise not acting in the appropriate manner for the role, a breach of fiduciary duty may have occurred. Unfortunately, because of the vulnerable nature of individuals who can no longer make sound decisions for themselves, it is all too easy for others to take advantage of them.

Luckily, the law has protections for people in this scenario, and if you believe that your loved one's power of attorney agent has not acted in the best interests of the principal, you may wonder what you can do.

Taking action

Whenever you suspect that someone is taking advantage of your loved one, you may want to explore possible legal options. A breach of fiduciary duty is a serious matter, and the agent could face serious consequences if it is determined that he or she has acted inappropriately. In order to gain more information on this type of situation, you may want to discuss your concerns with an elder law attorney.

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