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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Despicable son gets 10 years for ripping off Mom using Power of Attorney

Having just posted a story about how kids pay for the parents' lack of planning, I'm now going to share with you a story about how a parent paid for trusting her own son. Click here to read the story.

You wouldn't think trusting your own kids would be such a devastating mistake, would you?

In my seminars I always talk about true situations in which parents have appointed kids who never should have been allowed anywhere near Mom or Dad's finances. How do these kids get appointed in legal documents anyway? The parents sometimes don't want to hear or believe anything negative about their own children so they go ahead and appoint them anyway. Sometimes it's pressure from the kids. Sometimes parents think it's the law that they must appoint their children. And then there are those - and there are lots of them - who don't really want the kids in charge but are afraid of offending them if they choose someone else under their Power of Attorney.

I certainly don't mean that the poor mother in this story deserved what she got for appointing her son. It's never the parent's fault if a child steals them blind. That responsibility lies squarely on the child, and in this case I'm glad this horrendous man was sentenced to ten years in jail for what he did to his mom.

But do what you can to protect yourself! Any parent who is thinking of making a Power of Attorney and appointing one or more of the kids should think carefully before doing so. Try to assess your child as realistically as possible (I'm a parent too; I know that's hard to do). Try to put the "he'd never take my money; he's my son" thinking aside and assess the situation more like hiring a person for a job. For example, ask yourself some questions about the child you're thinking of appointing. How has the child dealt with money during his or her life? What is his or her current financial status, and how secure is that status? Is the child always asking you for money? Does he or she have a steady income? Has he or she ever been involved in fraud or shady deals? Is he or she a spendthrift?

Asking these questions won't protect every trusting parent, but I certainly hope reading this post will prevent even one person from finding himself or herself penniless at the hands of a greedy child.

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