Judge signing documentThis is the final post in a series of articles addressing how to challenge a power of attorney in Hartford, Connecticut. Our last article discussed what to expect after challenging a Power of Attorney in Probate Court. Turning to the Court system to seek relief if you or someone you know has been subject to the abuse of an agent can be a confusing and time-consuming endeavor. It is important to understand what possible outcomes are available to the injured party if successful. This article will address the remedies one could request in a Petition to challenge a power of attorney and be awarded by a Probate Judge. If you or someone you love needs assistance, then contact our office today to speak with an estate dispute lawyer.

If an agent has failed in their duties under a power of attorney, it is likely that the principal under the power of attorney has suffered some damage. Examples of how an agent can abuse their legal duties under a power of attorney include self-dealing, theft, misappropriation, or breach of their fiduciary duty. Many of these violations involve the fiduciary acting in their own best interest and not acting in the best interest of the principal. The result of the agent’s actions can mean that the principal is neglected, has lost a substantial amount of money or not received the medical care they need. To challenge a power of attorney, the Petitioner will need to initiate a formal proceeding in Probate Court. The final step of the proceeding is a bench trial before the Probate Judge. The Judge will decide whether or not the agent breached their legal duty and, as a result, caused damage to the principal. The Judge’s decision will state the relief to be awarded to the Petitioner. The remedies which the Court will award will always depend on the specifics of the case.

If the Judge does find the agent acted unlawfully, the Court will likely terminate the Power of Attorney. If the principal is a vulnerable adult and unable to make decisions for themselves, the Court may require that a conservatorship or guardianship be established. A conservatorship will require continual oversight by the Court through the life of the principal. If the agent misappropriated funds of the principal for their own use, the Court may order that the agent is required to pay monetary damages or reimburse the estate. If the Court finds that there was no wrongdoing, the Petitioner’s claim could be dismissed, and the Judge could keep the power of attorney in place. If you or someone you know is the victim of an agent’s wrongdoing, it is important to act immediately to protect the principal from continued abuse. The longer you wait to assert your rights, the more difficult it will be to unwind the actions of the agent and protect the principal’s assets or wellbeing. If you know of an agent acting poorly and the principal is a vulnerable or disabled adult, waiting to act may trigger the Court to ask why you did not act sooner once you make your claim.

Consulting with an attorney is the best way to protect the victim and ensure the matter is addressed promptly. Our law firm has served clients in the area for decades. We understand probate disputes are serious and complicated matters and are ready to assist you. Contact us online or by telephone today to schedule an initial consultation with a Hartford estate dispute lawyer. We also service the Connecticut areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.