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Finding Out Your Power of Attorney Is Powerless

You think you’ve done everything right: Your parents or other relatives have signed a durable power of attorney. Among other things, it allows you to handle their finances — taxes, bills, bank accounts, real estate sales — if they become incapacitated. Then the time comes when older family members can no longer manage transactions on their own. You take the witnessed and notarized document to a financial institution — a big brokerage firm like Wells Fargo or Ameriprise, or a national or regional bank or credit union. And officials say no, they won’t honor your power of attorney. They insist that the account owners sign the institution’s own power of attorney form — very unwelcome news, because by now the older account holders may not be competent to sign legal forms. That’s why you’re there in the first place. It’s not clear how often similar scenarios, with their Catch-22 absurdity, take place. But Elder Law attorneys across the country say they have encountered financial institutions unwilling to honor valid powers of attorney.

Source/more: New York Times


David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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