Will the Power of Attorney work when you need it to?

I beat the drum on the issue of a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). I had one for my parents, but one financial services firm rejected it because it was more than 2 years old, a second who said they won’t accept one more than 5 years old and their insurance firm said they would only accept the version they created. This statement shocks many who believe they are covered.

POAIf you have any concerns about your DPOA, I recommend you speak to a lawyer who is dedicated to the practice of Estate Planning. They should counsel you that there are some instances where you may need them to follow-up to ensure the DPOA is accepted. It’s one of many reasons to not use an online legal service for your estate planning needs.

When you are getting your wills, and power of attorney done, I strongly urge you to find a lawyer who ONLY focuses on Estate Planning. The state and federal laws and rulings are constantly changing and those issues are things the estate lawyer can help you with. We found one to get a DPOA for my parents that would be accepted by their banks and insurance company. If you had a heart condition, you would not go to a general practice doctor, you would see a cardiologist. Look at finding a lawyer who specialized in estate planning when you are updating these documents.

In reality, there is more to organizing your estate than just having the legal papers in place — you need to get it organized and setting up online access is a huge benefit to a loved one if they ever need to step in and assist you.

To learn more about the DPOA issues check out a story in The Wall Street Journal –  Power Grab! Signing Over Power of Attorney to a Loved One Has Never Been Trickier. Here’s What You Need to Know. 

To get your personal, financial, online, medical and household records organized so they are easier for you to access as well as share with or pass onto a loved one, visit www.MemoryBanc.com/Register 


4 thoughts on “Will the Power of Attorney work when you need it to?

  1. The other “dirty little secret” about POA’s is that when the person dies, the POA dies right along with it. Talk about a rude awakening! The trick is make sure a caregiver/relative is listed as a co-signer on every checking, savings, mutual fund, etc. account that the person has. Otherwise, all funds and assets get frozen until the estate is settled and that can take years in some states. It is also helpful to be listed on electric bills and other household related services because if not, you have to produce a death certificate to get them turned off.

  2. It can be very hard to deal with all the companies involved. I suggest seeing the banks and credit union before help is needed to fill out their papers. Otherwise the POA is the document you need, but it may take a lawyer to enforce it. I had to pay a lawyer to work with the bank’s lawyer to accept the POA mom signed for me. On the other hand, several other banks just accepted it with an acknowledgement letter. You never know. Same with utilities. I just called them to change the billing to my name and address and they did. Others may not. The POA is the ultimate document but it may cost you in lawyer fees to get them to acknowledge it.

    1. Agreed – Everyone should get one done. We were surprised at how difficult many institutions made it to use. Our state even passed a law to encourage banks to accept them, but that hasn’t really made it down to all the front line employees and often you had to run the gauntlet to get it accepted. There is no one type fits all version so I just hope everyone realizes how important it is to get good counsel and skip trying to use a downloadable form or using a lawyer who is not experience in the nuances of the issues and acceptance hurdles.

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