Over the last year or so, I’ve seen a growing number of instances in which a bank or other financial institution won’t accept a Power of Attorney (a “POA”). A POA is one of the most effective and important estate planning documents I prepare for clients. It allows someone to appoint another person, someone they trust, to handle financial and legal matters on their behalf.
Inevitably, the agent contacts me, frustrated, and says: “What’s going on? What do I do?” Maybe bank personnel don’t have adequate training… maybe they fear liability if they accept a fraudulent POA. Whatever the case may be, if you run into this problem, here’s how you handle it.
Step #1… ask to speak with a manager and make your case. If that doesn’t work, step #2… ask the bank to send the POA to their legal department for review. Make sure you tell them they only have four days to either accept or reject the POA. If they ultimately refuse to honor the POA, tell them you need a written response providing the reason for their refusal.
Here’s why… Florida law requires a bank/financial institution to accept or reject a POA within four days. If they refuse to accept the POA, you can bring a legal action and obtain a court order directing the bank/financial institution to comply with the POA. And the best part? If you prevail, the bank/financial institution must pay for your legal fees. In my experience, the mere threat of legal action and the probability of having to pay legal fees will usually cause the bank/financial institution to “come around” and accept the POA.
At Ross Spano Law, P.A., we give our clients peace of mind about the future of their families. If we can help you, your family, or someone you know with estate planning needs, please reach out to us at (813) 244-7758 or Ross@RossSpanoLaw.com.