Pinehurst, NC asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina

Q: My brother is POA over my family's finances..is it possible for my brother to change finances to suit him better?

My mother recently had a stroke and things have gotten strange between me and my brother...I asked my mother about the will and she said everything is set in stone and the inheritance will be divided between me and him...but for now things are being paid with our family's finances..which is pretty good..I have been left out of knowing anything about my family's finances for almost all of my life..My family has either downplayed things or flat out lied to me about it...I was just wondering if my brother might weasel me out of money that is coming to me one day..I hate to ask this..but I need to know so I can stop worrying about the future so much..thanks in advance.

1 Lawyer Answer
Amanda Bowden Houser
Amanda Bowden Houser
Answered
  • Jacksonville, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Whether or not you inherit anything is not your decision nor something you are owed or due or have 'coming to you' or even anything you have a right to at this point. It is your families finances and / or property and as such they are allowed to do with it pretty much anything they want. It is up to the members of your family who the estate belongs to (or to the laws of intestate succession if they die without a will) to decide who gets what and frankly that is as it ought to be. So if you are asking is it possible for your brother to do shady things behind your back to convince or even manipulate your family members to leave more or even everything to him and / or to misuse family money to his or others benefit, then - the answer is yes. However as POA agent, your brother does have a fiduciary duty to the principle (your family) meaning, he is typically only to use the money in the best interest of the principle. He should also be keeping receipts and managing a record of expenditures and make at least an annual accounting - very much like a trustee. You can potentially check on what your brother is doing but you should likely consult with a local attorney on how to best do that. If you poke around in your family's financial business too much or in the wrong way, it is you who could come out as the weasel and weasels typically do not fair well when it come to inheritance.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.