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What Should I Do If the Bank Won't Honor My Power of Attorney?
My father and mother executed a co-durable power of attorney naming my brother and me as joint attorneys-in-fact. My father is now deceased. My mother is owner of an investment portfolio with monthly dividends being automatically reinvested. My brother and I wish to have the dividends placed into my mother's checking account so that I may utilize the funds for monthly fees at a 'memory-care center.' A large investment firm/bank doing business in our state of Washington will not honor the 'power of attorney' because it is a 'joint' power of attorney. Apparently the bank would honor the power of attorney if the document specified that my brother or I were able to act alone. My mother can no longer sign her name in order to modify the existing power of attorney. What legal grounds does a bank have to deny us using a power of attorney?
While banks and other financial institutions are known to refuse to accept powers of attorney for no good reason, in your case it sounds like the bank may have a point -- but only so far. If the power of attorney does not specify that you and your brother can each act on your own, then the bank should still honor any check signed by both of you. If it won't, you may want to contact your state agency that regulates banks to see if it will apply some pressure on your behalf.
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