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When a power of attorney can be challenged

Some people set up a power of attorney so that someone can take over their important financial or health care decisions in the event they become incapacitated and cannot make crucial life decisions any longer. Unfortunately, there are some POAs who abuse their powers. In such a case, another party, such as a relative of the person who set up the POA originally, may seek to have a New Jersey court remove the POA.

Per FindLaw, there are a number of ways a POA can act maliciously. The person who set up the POA is known as the principal, and the POA, as the principal’s agent, is supposed to handle the needs of the principal. However, a hostile POA might instead neglect the principal and use the principal’s assets for self enrichment. Other offenses include not managing the principal’s assets properly, perhaps losing or destroying some assets.

Proving mismanagement and neglect may not be easy, and will often depend on the expertise of an attorney who understands such battles. Sometimes a relative shall try to get a POA removed by showing that the principal is not mentally competent enough to terminate the abusive agent’s position. This can entail a contentious court battle where the challenger tries to demonstrate the principal’s incompetency, perhaps due to dementia or psychological problems, whereas the agent will contend otherwise.

Sometimes a POA can be invalidated due to failure to observe certain laws. In the state of New Jersey, a durable power of attorney agreement must be composed by a person who is of sound mind. The document must also be signed and dated, and done so in the presence of two witnesses who confirm the lucidity of the person composing the document. A POA agreement will not be effective if it does not comply with the state’s laws and requirements. Finding such an omission may be enough to have an agent legally stripped of POA authority.

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