Many family members are blindsided by this situation. They think they have everything in order so that they can pay the bills and access the accounts on behalf of their incapacitated loved one. So, they are shocked when a bank employee refuses to accept their loved one’s POA. They are effectively blocked from accessing their loved one’s account even though they have done everything right. We hear about this situation daily. Yes, a POA is intended to give the agent authority to act on behalf of the principal. Banks, however, often push back against the agent and the document. Banks are not required to accept a power of attorney if they believe that the agent does not have the authority specified in the document or that the document has not been properly executed. We have even heard bank employees refuse to accept a POA because it’s “too old.”
So, how can you avoid this situation? Banks do offer their own power of attorney forms for their customers. If the account holder completes these, the agent will have no problem accessing the accounts and acting on the principal’s behalf. More importantly, it is crucial to have a power of attorney that is comprehensive, up-to-date, properly executed, and written in accordance with current state laws. Laws change constantly (in fact, Georgia just updated its POA law on July 1, 2017), and the best way to protect yourself is to have your documents comply with the most current laws. If you have any questions or concerns about your POA, please reach our office for a complimentary phone consultation at (404)843-0121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.