Power of Attorney

Banks Required to Accept a Power of Attorney Under NJ Statutory Law

Power of Attorney Under NJ Statutory Law

Yesterday I wrote a post about how banks are routinely refusing to accept powers of attorney.  I thought this statute may be helpful to people who may need to argue with the banks (at least in NJ anyway):

N.J.S.A 46:2B-13.    Banking institutions to accept power of attorney      4.   With respect to banking transactions, banking institutions shall accept and rely on a power of attorney which conforms to this act and shall permit the agent to act and exercise the authority set forth in this act, provided that: 

a.   The banking institution shall refuse to rely on or act pursuant to a power of attorney if (1) the signature of the principal is not genuine, or (2) the employee of the banking institution who receives, or is required to act on, the power of attorney has received actual notice of the death of the principal, of the revocation of the power of attorney or of the disability of the principal at the time of the execution of the power of attorney;

b.   The banking institution is not obligated to rely on or act pursuant to the power of attorney if it believes in good faith that the power of attorney does not appear to be genuine, that the principal is dead, that the power of attorney has been revoked or that the principal was under a disability at the time of the execution of the power of attorney.  The banking institution shall have a reasonable time under the circumstances within which to decide whether it will rely on or act pursuant to a power of attorney presented to it, but it may refuse to act or rely upon a power of attorney first presented to it more than 10 years after its date or on which it has not acted for a 10-year period unless the agent is either the spouse, parent or a descendant of a parent of the principal;

c.   If the power of attorney provides that it "shall become effective upon the disability of the principal" or similar words, the banking institution is not obligated to rely on or act pursuant to the power of attorney unless the banking institution is provided by the agent with proof to its satisfaction that the principal is then under a disability as provided in the power of attorney;

d.   If the agent seeks to withdraw or pay funds from an account of the principal, the agent shall provide evidence satisfactory to the banking institution of his identity and shall execute a signature card in a form as required by the banking institution;

e.   If the banking institution refuses to rely on or act pursuant to a power of attorney and the agent or principal has, in writing, provided the banking institution with an address of the agent, the institution shall notify the agent by a writing addressed to the address provided to it that the power of attorney has been rejected and the reason for the rejection;

f.   The banking institution has viewed a form of power of attorney which contains an actual original signature of the principal. Alternatively, if the banking institution receives an affidavit of the agent that such an original is not available to be presented, the banking institution may accept a photocopy of the power of attorney certified to be a true copy of the original by either (1) another banking institution or (2) the county recording office of the county in which the original was recorded.

L.1991,c.95,s.4; amended 1994,c.142,s.2.   46:2B-14.    Banking institutions not liable for action in reliance on power of attorney       No banking institution acting in reliance on a power of attorney as set forth in this act, nor any person acting on behalf of such an institution, shall be held liable for injury for any act or omission if it is performed in good faith and within the scope of the institution's or person's duties, unless the act or omission constitutes a crime, actual fraud, actual malice or willful misconduct.