Enforcing a Power of Attorney

Often, individuals find that it may be difficult to act under their power of attorney. This is because some third parties are reluctant to honor power of attorney documents. Even of your document appears unquestionably valid, third parties may still choose not to honor it. A recent article discusses why this occurs, and how to avoid it.

Here are the more common reasons that a third party will decide not to honor your power of attorney:

  • The power of attorney contains unfamiliar language
  • The power of attorney was not signed recently (i.e. five or more years ago)
  • The power of attorney was not executed on one of the bank’s power of attorney forms

Although power of attorney forms with any of the above circumstances may still be valid, banks are uncomfortable with allowing their employees to determine whether a legal document is valid, and whether the person purporting to be an agent is acting within his or her prescribed powers.

In order to avoid these problems, consider executing an additional power of attorney on a bank-provided form. Re-execute these documents every five years so they appear to be recent. Finally, if possible, speak with a bank official before your power of attorney is activated to determine whether it is likely that you will experience problems enforcing it.

For assistance in executing and enforcing power of attorney documents, contact us at (626) 696-3145.

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