You think you've done everything right, you went to an attorney and had a Power of Attorney [POA] document drafted so you can help your parents when the time comes and what happens when you get to the bank or call the life insurance company? More and more we see that financial institutions won't accept a POA document that's more than 1 year old. [Met Life just told us today that they won't accept a POA that's older than 60 days].
Some banks will allow you to sign their own POA form [valid at their bank only], but that may not help because the individual you are assisting may not be competent to sign legal documents.
Why do financial institutions do this? Mostly due to liability. They are leery of older documents because they assume that it's possible that the individual granting the authority [Grantor] of the document may have changed their mind and possibly had a new document drafted changing the Agent [individual having the Power] and also due to the growing concern and awareness of Elder Financial Abuse.
See a recent article in the NY Times
What should a frustrated family do if this happens to them? Call us immediately, we can discuss the option of having us contact the institution that you are having issues with. We can usually resolve the issue.
How can we protect ourselves and be sure this won't happen to us? Have your POA documents renewed annually. I know this sounds like a hassle but it will save you even more aggravation and stress when it comes time to need them. Some attorneys will offer this as a FREE service. It may be included in the cost of your initial drafting of the documents. Annual review and signing of new documents is commonly included for the lifetime of the individual.
Our office does offer this FREE service to our clients. Each year the individual that we drafted the documents for can come in and will review their circumstances and if anything has changed we will make the necessary updates. All documents are updated with a current date and they receive a new copy.
Having your documents updated annually is the best way to avoid this issue. That's why it's so important to have a local elder law attorney draft your documents as opposed to the internet. The internet cannot help you if you have issues or need that extra service that a local person can give you.
Questions? contact us today... 855.471.6771