Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Exculpatory clause in power of attorney deemed invalid

New_yorkThe principal executed a power of attorney which granted the agent broad powers to make gifts to himself, exonerated the agent from any liability to the principal or anyone else, and purported to relieve the agent from any duty to account.

The agent used his authority to transfer the principal’s property to himself and members of his family.

In a proceeding brought by the administrator of the principal’s intestate estate, the court held that the agent had violated his fiduciary duties to the principal, that the exoneration clause was void as contrary to public policy and the duties of an agent, and that the attempt to relieve the agent from the duty to account was void as against public policy.  In re Mueller, 853 N.Y.S.2d 245 (N.Y. Sur. Ct. 2008).


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