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Durable Power of Attorney May Hit A Snag

AARP reports that having a general durable power of attorney (POA) in place — such as a senior might designate an adult child to have — is not always as ironclad an arrangement as one expects it to be. The reason is that some companies that would be expected to honor such a POA may have their own additional documents that must have been executed before the POA stipulations are honored. In a specific case the AARP cited, an 85-year-old mother with dementia had named her daughter to step in via a POA, but a couple of firms required their own special forms to be in place before allowing the daughter to access her mother’s accounts. The president of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils was quoted by AARP as saying these sorts of roadblocks are common, and POAs are often not given the deference they deserve. Suggestions offered to help avoid snags include: a) check ahead whether the companies or institutions that might one day get involved will honor the POA (or will additional documents be needed); b) make sure the relevant people know about your POA; and c) consider consolidating your finances so there are fewer companies to be concerned about as to how they will treat your POA.

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