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Monday, October 7, 2013

Former school teacher jailed for stealing £200,000 from elderly widow using her Power of Attorney

Sometimes people ask me whether it's a good idea to have the same person act under your Enduring Power of Attorney and your will. Depending on the person, of course, that arrangement can work out well. However, I do let people know that having a different executor can mean a fresh set of eyes to spot fraudulent or negligent steps that might have been taken under the Enduring Power of Attorney.

Click here to read a story from the UK in which that very thing happened. A co-executor discovered that the other executor had stolen over £200,000 while acting under a power of attorney for the deceased. The fellow is in jail now, where he belongs after stealing from a trusting widow who had known him for 40 years.

In Canada, our Criminal Code has a specific offence of "theft by attorney" which specifically applies to someone who is named under a Power of Attorney - a position of trust - and then abuses that trust by stealing from the very person he is supposed to help. As in the UK, it can carry a jail sentence.

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