Warren Davis lived with Renee Brandt in a house that Davis owned in Virginia Beach, Virginia. At Davis?s request, attorney Leigh Ansell prepared, and Davis acknowledged, a durable power of attorney appointing Ansell to act as Davis?s attorney-infact. Ansell was authorized to sign ?any . . . instrument of . . .deposit? and ?any contract . . . relating to . . . personal property.? Ansell could act ?in any circumstances as fully and effectively as I could do as part of my normal, everyday business affairs if acting personally.? A few days later, at Davis?s direction, Ansell prepared, and Davis signed, a will that gave Brandt the right to occupy, rent-free, the house in which she and Davis lived ?so long as she lives in the premises.? The will?s other chief beneficiaries were Davis?s daughters, Sharon Jones and Jody Clark. According to Ansell, Davis intended to ?take care of [Brandt] outside of this will? and asked Ansell to designate Brandt the beneficiary ?payable on death? (POD) of Davis?s $250,000 certificate of deposit (CD).The CD had no other named beneficiary. Less than two months later, Davis died. A suit between Brandt and Davis?s daughters ensued in a Virginia state court.
(a) Should the language in a power of attorney be interpreted broadly or strictly? Why?
(b) In this case, did Ansell have the authority under the power of attorney to change the beneficiary of Davis?s CD? Explain.
(c) Ansell advised Davis by letter that he had complied with the instruction to designate Brandt the beneficiary of the CD. Davis made no objection. On these facts, what theory might apply to validate the designation?
This question was answered on: Jul 11, 2017
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