Recently, a Hightstown man was charged with stealing $500,000.00 from a 96-year-old relative by abusing the Power of Attorney he was granted.  Unfortunately for the victim, this individual utilized a Power of Attorney that he was granted to him by his 96-year-old relative in order to steal these funds.  While this is uncommon, it is an extremely unfortunate situation and this man will be criminally prosecuted and may face a State prison sentence should the allegations prove to be true.  
In order to prevent something like this from occurring, a party may seek to establish a guardianship or conservatorship which may allow the Court to oversee the management of an elderly person’s funds, in lieu of one party having the ability to manage the affairs without judicial oversight.  In order to ensure such arrangements are made, it makes sense for an individual to contact an attorney to make these appropriate arrangements.  While one would think it would be terrible to believe that they could not trust a loved one, once such an arrangement is properly made it removes the possibility of abuse.
Paul Norris is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Probate Litigation Group in our Lawrenceville, New Jersey office. For questions, or additional information, please contact Mr. Norris.