The Case Study of Gagnon V. Coombs; a Family in Turmoil
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The Case Study of Gagnon v. Coombs; A Family in Turmoil
AC502 – Regulations
Professor Christopher Zapalski
June 6, 2015
A principal-agent arrangement is defined as; “A relationship wherein an individual acts in place of another individual. The agent will work in place of the individual known as the principal” (What is Principal-Agent Relationship?, 2015). To have such an agreement the principal and agent must have consent, in which they both agree to the arrangement, the principal must have control of the agent, and a fiduciary relationship must be in place, where the agent must put the principal’s needs before their own (Beatty, Samuelson, & Bredeson, 2013, pp. 301-302). Yet these arrangements can be so much more; as in the case of Gagnon v. Coombs, a family in turmoil.
The case of Gagnon v. Coombs, is the story of many families, where initial intentions change as circumstances change, and sibling rivalry divides a family. In response to their advanced age, Francis Gagnon, and his wife signed a power of attorney, appointing Joan, their eldest daughter their agent on November 27, 1990. This gave Joan power over their care, and a 184 acre farm in Shelburne, Massachusetts and land in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. (Franicis W. Gagnon vs. Joan G. Coombs, 1995, p. 145).
In February 1991, Mrs. Gagnon was placed into a nursing home, wherein Frank, their son, and Joan’s brother, came to live with his father in Shelburne. At that time Frank learned of Joan’s arrangement, and convinced his father to revoke the power of attorney, which was executed on February 28, 1991 which Joan was never informed of (Franicis W. Gagnon vs. Joan G. Coombs, p. 146).
In April, 1991, Gagnon was hospitalized, and Joan’s mother died, unaware that the power of attorney had been revoked, Joan, created a "Medicaid Qualifying Trust" that provided Gagnon, as beneficiary, with income for