South Carolina Power Of Attorney
Q: Would we have a crime against the elderly here?? If so, who would one notify in law enforcement of the particulars?? THE SCENARIO: Joe and Jane Retire lived in Pennsylvania. Jane was a homemaker and never worked much. Joe was retired from the US Mint and the US Postal Service. Both are in very bad health and cannot fend for themselves any longer. Joe and Jane Retiree's siblings, from South Carolina, travel to Pennsylvania. and move Joe and Jane to SC and install them in a local nursing home. The siblings, when moving Joe and Jane's household possessions from their home, find a suitcase under a bed containing approximately $50,000. After moving Joe and Jane from their home , the siblings sell the home. The siblings then split the home proceeds evenly amongst themselves. The husband of one of the siblings puts the $50,000 in his bank account for safekeeping never to be seen again. Now, one of the female siblings, we shall call her Ester Grubby Hands, who at that time was financially, living from day-to-day and having to borrow money from her own children to stay financially afloat, enlists the aid of a local attorney to gain Power of Attorney for Joe and Jane, who are now in a South Carolina nursing home. Jane Retiree soon passes on and only old Joe is left. Now, old Ester Grubby Hands, based on interesting documents found in Joe Retiree's belongings and papers, begins to search around in Pennsylvania for any latent finances of Joe's and succeeds in finding numerous bank accounts containing large sums of money and numerous Certificate-of-Deposits. None of Joe and Jane Retiree's other siblings are ever informed of Ester Grubby Hands finds. Ester Grubby Hands, by hook and crook, proceeded to have the monies and Certificate-of-Deposits found in Joe Retiree's accounts transferred from the various locations in Pennsylvania and into her own personal bank accounts back in South Carolina. In the meantime old Joe passes on. Ester Grubby Hands begins to spend money like it was growing on trees. The money she is spending came from old Joe's savings. She has purchased housing for her children and grandchildren and taken out insurance policies for other family members, purchased a fine new car and now flies everywhere she goes when she used to be so broke she couldn't travel at all.
A: I presume there is dependent adult legislation there. First, who is Joe and Jane's trustee? If one has not been appointed, then the siblings could not sell, transfer, assign, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of Joe and Jane's estate. To do so without an appointment is a theft or fraud. Since the siblings managed to sell the house, I would presume that someone had to have at least a power of attorney. Second, the estate of Joe and Jane must be accounted for, and the court usually will or will not pass the accounts of the estate under the trustee's hands, so the siblings will have to prove the use of the funds was for Joe and Jane's benefit. Third, since the estate is now the estate of the deceaseds, the probate/surrogate court will have to review both the passing of accounts under the power of attorney, and the passing of accounts under the will/probate. The key here is to have a lawyer versed in the laws of the jurisdiction in which the property resided or the dependent adults resided under the POA, and the jurisdiction in which the deceaseds died.
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