Can I find out if my aunt abused her POA on grandparent’s estate?

Q: My grandparents were both part of a lawsuit. They both died from Mesothelioma and aunt was the power of attorney. My mother and her siblings have only received two small payments totaling less than $8000 each. There are 8 heirs including my mother. We’ve seen that these lawsuits have large amounts of money and we want to find out if our aunt has been stealing from them. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: You could call the law firm who handled the settlement and see if they will tell you. If they will not, you will have to do a little investigating yourself. The POA has no effect after the death of the grandparents. There is a good chance an estate was opened. You could look in the Register of Wills in the county your grandparents died to see if an estate was opened. If there was, it might list the beneficiaries or heirs. You could also check the inheritance tax office to see if there is an inheritance tax return on file. It may also list the beneficiaries. If you get nowhere, you can hire an attorney to see if he can get the information from the law firm or the company that paid. It may involve a subpoena or records request.

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