Q&A: What to do when your bank gets picky about accepting a power of attorney

Dear Liz: My husband’s brother had a stroke and is now incapacitated. My husband needs to take over his finances. The bank will not accept the durable power of attorney that they set up 14 years ago because it is “too old.” Another bank asked me if it was set up less than six months ago, because that would avoid problems. How can you do the right thing if there are so many obstacles?

Answer: Banks and other financial institutions have gotten so persnickety about accepting powers of attorney that some states have passed laws forcing them to do so — and yet people still report having problems, even in those states!

Many institutions want you to use their own forms, which may not be possible once someone is incapacitated. Even if the person is willing to fill out the form before the fact, using a financial institution’s power of attorney can create problems if the language in those forms contradicts the person’s other estate planning documents. Then there’s the sheer hassle factor, especially if the person has accounts at multiple banks and brokerages.

You may be able to break through this logjam by hiring an attorney to contact the bank. You can get referrals to lawyers experienced in this issue from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Hackers steal close to five million hospital records. Also in the news: When to get your student a credit card, why a mini-retirement could restart your career, and the three powers of attorney everyone needs.

Hospitals Say Hackers Stole Records of 4.5 Million Patients
Community Health Systems operates 206 hospitals in 29 states.

Getting Your Student a Credit Card
Testing their personal responsibility.

Why a Mini-Retirement May Rejuvenate Your Career
And save you money at the same time.

Three Powers of Attorney Everyone Needs
The essentials for protecting yourself.

How Do You Stay Motivated With Your Financial Goals?
Keeping your eyes on the prize.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

images (2)Today’s top story: The importance of having your affairs in order. Also in the news: Why you should save more for retirement, when it’s time to take over your parents’ finances, and when to smash the piggy bank containing your emergency fund.

A Cautionary Tale: Get Your Affairs In Order Now
Don’t let the biggest decisions in your life be left to chance.

5 Steps To Retraining Your Brain To Save More For Retirement
It’s not just about when you retire; it’s also how you retire.

How to Swoop In and Manage Your Parents’ Finances
Before it’s too late.

When Should I Dip Into My Emergency Fund?
What constitutes an actual emergency?

5 Last Minute Apps to Help You Get Through Tax Season
Your phone or tablet isn’t just for Candy Crush.