As I began to use the Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) several years ago, I found out that many banks don’t like them. They would prefer you use the one they supply that doesn’t give you control over when it goes into effect or a way to dictate specific wishes. If and when you need to use one, you will find that getting them to accept it, can take hours in the bank and then possibly weeks to months to resolve issues.
Last month, I went in to clear up two checking accounts and remove my Dad’s name from the accounts. It took over two hours to have it processed and the two accounts cleaned up. I was already listed on my parents major account, so I think they weren’t so worried about giving my access and POA rights over the second smaller checking account.
However, I have hit a major roadblock on an account that was named to my parent’s trust. The DPOA specifically names the trust and gives me the rights to access it, but the Wells Fargo legal team said “No, we won’t accept it” stating that the sentence giving me the rights doesn’t specifically begin with my mom’s name. The sentence giving me access to her checking account is written exactly the same way. Inconsistent, inconvenient and ridiculous.
If you have done estate planning or are considering it, and your estate lawyer tells you that this won’t happen to you. Please find another estate lawyer. This happens to even the best estate lawyers, most up-to-date DPOA documents, and well-drawn trusts. I live in a state with a statute that was written to ensure financial institutions accepted DPOAs and comes with financial penalties for refusing it. However, doing that is a lengthly law suit and another time vampire I’m not interested in pursuing. Please just accept the papers my parents drew up so that I could use their accounts to help pay for their health and welfare, OK?
When a bank says “no” you need to be able to return to your estate lawyer and they can write a letter to try and clear up the issue. I’m not sure if that will resolve this issue or if I will have to wait until my mom passes away to get access to her account.
The best end-around is to go online. The first time I got a “no” my dad was alive and we went online and created online access to those accounts that were problematic so I could more easily act on my parent’s behalf. That was what they intended. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about this account until a few months ago when a tax paper got forwarded to me from an old address.
Because of all the places I have found problems, I recommend you get a copy of MemoryBanc: Your Workbook for Organizing Life. This isn’t just an issue for adult children caring for parents, but for every couple that divides and conquers and every individual that wants to make sure a loved one can help you, should you ever need it. Advised.
To find out what happens to the money that is lost in the shuffle of a move, crisis, or death you can read about the $58 billion sitting with state and federal treasurers. This includes tips on how to learn if you might be entitled to some of it.