Growing Problem of Banks refusing to Honor a Financial Power of Attorney

Growing Problem of Banks refusing to Honor a Financial Power of Attorney

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Please be advised that more and more banks are refusing to accept any financial power of attorney other than their own form.  This may not be a huge problem if you are still competent, but if you become incapacitated later and have not sign the “Bank approved form”, it could make life very difficult for your agent to act on your behalf.

I recently ran in to this problem with a client and it took a long time to straighten out.  Also, I just came across this excellent article in the New York Times written by Paula Span on the topic. I strongly suggest reading it as it details how widespread the problem is and offers some helpful solutions.

I do note that, to date, the banks have tended to back down if you approach the managers and legal department.   Unfortunately, hiring an attorney to fight that fight may cost the client a fair amount in legal fees.  Another approach, if you are politically connected, is to get your ombudsman involved.

As a result of these news, I tend to be advocating Revocable Living Trusts even more.  Unfortunately, that won’t help if the client has an IRA or other retirement account.  I’m interested in hearing how others are dealing with this problem.

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