When you are looking at your estate planning, a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is an important document to have. It lets you designate another individual to handle your financial affairs if you can’t do so.
According to The (Wichita Falls TX) Times Record News article, “Tips to make a Durable Power of Attorney work,” sometimes the person to whom you give authority—known as an “agent”—will visit your financial institutions and unsuccessfully attempt to get something done on your behalf. The bank might say “no”, even when they see your perfectly legal DPOA.
Sometimes banks don’t want to recognize a valid POA.
In the eyes of the bank, the DPOA could have been rescinded or even forged. Financial institutions want to do everything they can to protect themselves from lawsuits and damages. Using their own DPOA form is one of those protections. They may want you to use their own forms.
Another good idea is to introduce your agent to your local bank or financial institution, allowing them to meet and get to know each other.
In the event the agent is unable to get the bank’s approval, they should ask why. It may be as simple as changing the wording in the document. You can also ask your estate planning lawyer to speak with the bank’s legal department. This may cut through some of the red tape that can be created by front-line staff misinterpreting the bank’s requirements or rationales.
If all else fails, particularly if you’re the agent and the principal isn’t competent, you may need to file suit to have the DPOA honored. In some rare occasions, a guardianship is requested.
What if you are hospitalized in a coma after a car accident? Were that to happen, who would complete and file your taxes, pay your bills and handle all of the minor and major issues you normally do for yourself?
Work with a qualified estate planning attorney to help you ensure that all of your bases are covered in advance.
Reference: The (Wichita Falls TX) Times Record News (March 11, 2017) “Tips to make a Durable Power of Attorney work”