One is the Loneliest Number for a Power of Attorney

So, you’ve got your Power of Attorney in place.  Lots of financial powers in place, just ready to be used by your Agent when an accident or serious illness strikes.

But, did you bother to check with your Bank?  Or your investment company?   Or your IRA custodian?   Check for what?  Check to see if (a) they will accept your Power of Attorney  “as is” or (b)  Whether or not, they have a special In-house Power of Attorney that they want their customers/clients to use.

Just because you have a comprehensive Power of Attorney as part of your legal planning, this ONE document may not be the best practical solution.

In my experience, it is always best to check BEFORE CRISIS whether or not your Power of Attorney will be be accepted by the financial organizations who control your money.

If there are hoops to jump through, jump now.  Basically, this means that you will need to give a copy of your Power of Attorney to the financial company, and this document will be sent to their back office legal team for review and approval.

On the other hand, many financial companies will not bother to review your Power of Attorney, but instead will have an In-house Power of Attorney that they will want you to sign.  If that’s the case, have your personal estate planning attorney look over the in-house version, and assuming it doesn’t conflict with your overall plan, then sign it and make sure it’s part of your client/customer file.

Yes, there are laws in Virginia that address a refusal to accept your Power of Attorney:

§ 64.2-1617. Acceptance of and reliance upon acknowledged power of attorney.

AND

§ 64.2-1618. Liability for refusal to accept acknowledged power of attorney.

However, if you have an Agent who is properly acting as your Fiduciary, but is dealing with an uncooperative financial institution, these legal remedies could be time-consuming, costly, and in hindsight, completely avoidable.

One can be the loneliest number for a Power of Attorney.  But by checking in advance (before SHTF) with the financial companies you do business with, you can put in place any additional Powers of Attorney that are needed to make things efficient and effective for your Agent.  And by working well for your Agent, that means things work well for you!

And if things check out, and you don’t need any other Powers of Attorney, then having a Lone Wolf Power of Attorney should work just they way you intended. Fide et Fiducia.

 

–Credit to AM radio and Three Dog Night for inspiration

 

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