I agree that you must look to any protective state laws in order to get an answer. I also agree, however, that in the absence of a restrictive state law, the AIF can change the POD if:
(1) the POA is broad enough to permit this ("my AIF can do anything I can do"), but
(2) most states have passed the Uniform Fiduciary Act. Although it doesnt specifically address a change in a POD benef, it does provide as follows:
"A person who in good faith pays or transfers to a fiduciary any money or other property which the fiduciary as such is authorized to receive is not responsible for the proper application thereof by the fiduciary.";
"If a check is drawn upon his principal's account by a fiduciary who is empowered to do so, the bank may pay the check without being liable to the principal, unless the bank pays the check with actual knoiwledge that the fiduciary is committing a breach of his obligation as fiduciary in drawing such check or with knowledge of such facts that its action in paying the check amounts to bad faith.".
In other words, a bank must act in good faith when it permits a change in the POD AND when it ultimately, pays the $ out to the new POD. If the language in the POA is broad enough, at least you can argue that the AIF was given tha authority to do anything the principal could and the principal must have understood the risk s/he was taking in granting such broad authority.
If, however, the POA states the AIF cant change the POD designation ("my AIF shall not be entitled to any incidence of ownership in any of my property"), then I dont think changing the POD designation is permissible.
I AM NOT ENGAGED IN PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE AND THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE NOT THOSE OF MY EMPLOYER