My POA is being ignored. What can I do about that?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 21, 2016
Tomandwendy asked...

I have Durable Power Of Attorney for my mom (she has Alzheimer's), but I cannot get any of the banks' billing accounts customer service people to speak to me. My father had several savings accounts with a fair amount of money in them and they will not acknowledge my POA and speak to me. Does POA do any good or should I get an attorney involved?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

Unfortunately, there are many institutions that for various reasons will refuse to honor legitimate Durable Powers of Attorney that have been written in compliance with state law. You are not likely to have much success arguing with them on your own. I suggest that you have the attorney who prepared the Durable Power of Attorney contact the bank's legal department. This should be sufficient to straighten this matter out.

Community Answers

Handiann answered...

Hi Tom & Wendy, Do you have the POA for Property or Finances? I think that's the one you'd need. You probably need an attorney. I had POA for both my mom and dad (both Health Care & Property) but unless my name was on the account as a co-owner or I got my mom on the phone and she'd tell them it was OK to talk to me, they usually wouldn't talk to me either. It is frustrating.

Since your mom probably can't give her OK, you probably need to have her declared incompetent in order to have the POA take effect. It probably also depends on how the POA was written, i.e. when it takes effect. There are probably also state laws involved. Here's a good basic article about POAs for Finance:

Good luck!