Power of
attorney disputes

Powers of Attorney allow you to give someone else the legal authority to look after your affairs on your behalf. If the person to whom you have given Power of Attorney does not meet their obligations and you incur losses, you may have grounds for legal action against them. If you have concerns about actions taken by a person who has been appointed Power of Attorney or have concerns about a family member’s will or if you have been appointed as the executor of a will, Maurice Blackburn can help.

The financial exploitation of older and vulnerable Australians by enduring attorneys is a serious problem and one which Maurice Blackburn feels strongly about.  We have a long and proud history of fighting for the rights of everyday Australians and we are able to provide our clients with expert legal assistance and all the resources of a national firm. 

Dealing with misappropriation of funds

If the person appointed as an attorney pursuant to a Power of Attorney (“the Attorney”) has acted without the knowledge or consent of the person they were appointed by (“known as the Principal”) and taken or used money for their own ends, you have a number of options including to:

  • revoke the Enduring Power of Attorney;
  • ask the attorney to account for all dealings undertaken as attorney;
  • apply to suspend the Enduring Power of Attorney and to request an audit of the accounts;
  • apply to a court or tribunal for an investigation if required;
  • seek to recover misappropriated funds and assets through the courts; and
  • make a complaint to the police regarding any fraud that may have occurred.

Misappropriation of funds by attorneys is a growing trend, however protective laws exist in each state to ensure attorneys can be held accountable.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers can assist you in revoking a Power of Attorney, as well as to recover any misappropriated funds and assets.  If you would like to discuss your concerns please contact one of our offices.

What is a power of attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which the Principal appoints a person or a trustee organisation (the Attorney) to manage their assets and financial affairs while they are alive.  This may happen because the Principal is, for instance, travelling overseas and wants to give their attorney access to bank accounts to pay bills or manage finances.   In other circumstances, the Principal may choose to have a Power of Attorney in place if they become unwell and are no longer able to manage their own affairs – this is known as an Enduring Power of Attorney (as the authority endures even where the Principal has lost capacity). 

Making a Power of Attorney does not mean that you lose control over your affairs.  It simply gives your attorney formal authority to manage your affairs according to your instructions.  Your Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time provided you have the capacity to do so.

A Power of Attorney ceases when you die, at which time the executor named in your Will takes over the responsibility of administering your estate.

If you have any concerns about an existing Power of Attorney, or wish to discuss creating either an Enduring Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardianship, Maurice Blackburn can help you.  We are able to offer a No Win No Fee cost agreement in most matters relating to Will Disputes.  Contact our office today to talk to one of our expert lawyers.

All you need to know about Will disputes

Whether you are thinking of challenging or contesting a Will, or if you are the executor or beneficiary of a Will that is being challenged, our Will disputes lawyers can assist you.

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