Can I sue a bank for paying the wrong person the amount left in a CD?

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Can I sue a bank for paying the wrong person the amount left in a CD?

Mother had CD, I was beneficiary. Sister was guardian of Estate. She changed the beneficiary of the CD illegally. I held POA over my mother. In Arkansas only someone who holds a POA can change a beneficiary. Mother was incapacitated at the time of change.

Asked on September 4, 2019 under Estate Planning, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Why are you not suing your sister: she is the one who you indicate illegally changed the beneficiary and who would be clearly liable.
Once your mother passed, your POA became irrelevant and void: only living people have POAs,and POAs terminate when the person dies. After death, the personal representative or executor of the estate has legal authority. So from the bank's point of view, if your sister was the personal representative or executor, she would have appeared to have the necessary power and therefore the bank did nothing wrong. But if your sister engaged in self dealing or taking money from a beneficiary for her own benefit, that would be a violation of her fiduciary duty as personal represenative or executor and so could make her liable to you.


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