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The Moneyist: I had power of attorney for my late mother and lost $40,000 of her money on the stock market — do I need to repay it?

Dear Moneyist,

I was granted power of attorney while my mother was alive. During that time, I put some of my mother’s money into stocks. I put her money into a stock account in my name and took a $40,000 loss. Do I have to replace that money to give to siblings now that our mom passed away? My mom left a will.

Sister in California

Dear Sister,

Yes, you need to replace it, and you need to speak up sooner rather than later. Power of attorney is a role for a friend or family member to manage the finances of a person who has become incapacitated.

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