A Belleville woman has been charged with theft, fraud, and breach of trust arising from her misuse of a power of attorney for property of her parents’ property.
Reported criminal decisions arising from the misuse of power of attorney documents suggest that individuals who are found guilty of these charges receive stern sentences.
However, there are challenges to prosecuting crimes, especially when the victims are unable to provide evidence. Gathering evidence of the crime can be costly.
In civil proceedings, much of the evidence of misuse of Powers of Attorney would be gathered through passing of accounts proceedings. Attorneys who refuse or are unable to account for the property they are managing can find themselves facing the same sentences that are available to the Court in criminal proceedings.
People who are acting under a Power of Attorney for property should therefore familiarize themselves with their statutory and common law duties and obligations. They should be aware of the fact that anyone with an interest in the property in question can apply for an order that an Attorney pass his or her accounts. Attorneys are not just accountable to the people whose property they are managing; they are also accountable to the Court.
Originally published at Whaley Estate Litigation Partners