A Power of Attorney Is Not Always Enough, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

Everyone should get a general durable power of attorney. Everyone should also realize that they may need to do more than just that to protect their financial interests in the event of incapacitation.

A general durable power of attorney is a necessary part of any estate plan. In the event you become incapacitated due to age or illness the power of attorney gives someone else the ability to handle your affairs and make sure that your expenses are met.

However, increasingly banks and other financial institutions are refusing to honor general durable powers of attorney as the New York Times discusses in “Finding Out Your Power of Attorney Is Powerless.”

The issue for the banks is that they fear being held liable if they accept the power of attorney document and it turns out that the person given access to a financial account is acting improperly. When someone shows up with a power of attorney and requests access to an account, the bank does not necessarily have a way to determine that the account holder is actually incapacitated.

Because of this concern, many financial institutions will not accept a standard power of attorney form and instead insist that their own house forms be used.

There are a couple of things you can do about this.

Before you become incapacitated, ask financial institutions that you do business with what their requirements are. If they require their own forms, then fill them out.

If you are the person who is seeking to use the power of attorney for an incapacitated relative and a bank refuses to honor it, then talk to an elder law attorney. An attorney can normally get any issues cleared up without having to go to court.

Reference: New York Times (May 6, 2016) “Finding Out Your Power of Attorney Is Powerless.”

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“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

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- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

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I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce