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

UPDATED: Sep 4, 2019

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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