Is Your Power of Attorney Powerless?

Power of AttorneySome people who have given power of attorney to a loved one to help them managed their business in the case of incapacity are finding that their banks are not honoring the documents.

These banks are insisting that the owners of the bank accounts at their institutions sign the institutionsā€™ own power of attorney forms, even if the account owners are incompetent, says a story in the New York Times.

It is not clear how often this is happening, but elder law attorneys across the country are finding some financial institutions unwilling to honor valid powers of attorney.

The banks say they are doing it to protect their customersā€™ assets. It is a fact that older people can easily be exploited.

But others say the banks are more concerned about their own liability, the story says.

If someone with power of attorney takes all the money from a personā€™s account and blows it, the bank may be liable.

What can families do? The story says lawyers can sometimes badger or cajole the banks to honor valid powers of attorney. Or the banks can be asked well in advance if they need their own forms. But the story says those forms should be read carefully.

If you have questions about estate planning or elder law, feel free to contact us for a consultation at (626) 696-3145.

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