Bank of America refuses to accept a stale DPOA. What can I do?

Asked by

My mom completed a DPoA naming me back in 1997. She kept it in a safe deposit box until it was needed. Now in 2017 Bank of America refused to honor it as it did not have the wording they use specifically in relation to bank accounts. Obviously we cannot update it to a newer form as she is now incapacitated. I need to be able to pay her bills and this is very frustrating.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Expert Answer
415 helpful answers
Unfortunately, with a twenty-year-old POA, the bank is nervous, thinking it may have been revoked in the intervening years. At this point, you will most likely have to hire an attorney and go to court to seek appointment as the conservator of your mom.
Well, at least temporarily, you can possibly set up online banking and use it on Mom's behalf. You might need an eldercare attorney to help at this point though. There may be a way for you to make the changes needed, as POA, but you have to be careful. If you have representative payee (which is always separate from POA) for her social security check you could try changing banks.
This question comes up from time to time with various large banks as being the problem. It deals with the fact that all the solutions the bank offers seem impossible because the principal is usually already incompetent when the issue comes up.
I did a search on this site and found this article which basically leads one back to the attorney. There were many other threads. Just search for Bank POA. I'm glad you asked the question as this article stated the POA needs to be renewed every five years. Who knew?
I think you could try having a letter written to the bank by the lawyer who wrote up the POA explaining that this is a legal document and unless they want to go to court over it to honor it.
BoA would not accept my mother's newly notarized POA and instead insisted on having their own version executed. Luckily, we learned this while Mom was still of sound mind and able to sign. My version had been prepared by an attorney who specializes in wills, POA and such so it was correct but BoA wants their own signed.
B of A demanded an Amendment to Mom's will, circa 1990s. Her attorney sent 3 documents that, submitted together, met legal requirements. B of A still drug it's feet. I directed the Bank to deposit the remaining two thousand dollars into the Estate checking account. Another account somehow did not get closed before Mom's death. It has $150.00 remaining! Though I asked for both accounts to be closed at the same time, the smaller is still outstanding. I have to resubmit everything for that account! Try to find an employee who will accept your phone calls and take charge of the case. Some things I had to notarize, copy, and mail 2 or 3 times. I faxed several documents as I was afraid they would get lost. A B of A employee finally said she would help throughout the process. It's still slow, but at least some progress has been made.
From my limited experience, they use any excuse they can not to have to accept a POA.
A POA should last the lifetime of the person who requested you to be the POA unless they specifically had requested an end date to the POA. POA is no longer valid when the person who requested you as their POA dies. Being incapacitated does not dissolve a POA and I am not sure what a stale DPOA is. I too had to deal with BOA and when all was said and done am glad they are out of the picture. I was listed as an owner of the accounts along with my Mother who is still alive. I wanted to close the accounts for simplification and it was an all day affair to get it done. They finally made me drag my invalid Mother from the home to "verify" that she really wanted the accounts closed. As an owner I should have been able to close any account I wanted to, but they kept requesting new and different things. As I said all day affair. I have closed other accounts to simplify things and had no problems. Worse bank ever!
Sounds like we need to avoid Bank of America. The validity of a POA document depends on the requirements of your state law. Just because a bank demands their own policy be followed does NOT mean they can circumvent the state law. Once a POA is signed and vallid, it should not have to be "updated" or "renewed". Depending on the state law, the POA is effective until the principal revokes it. It is "durable" because it continues to be effective even if the principal becomes mentally incompetent. Once the principal is mentally incompetent, the only way to set aside a POA is for a court to make an order setting it aside. That would happen only after a hearing on the matter.If the bank still won't comply with the law, a trip to court may be in order. Then, change banks or move the funds to a credit union. Be sure to research the financial institution's policies before depositing money there. Refuse to do business with any that demand a different POA from the
one required by law.
Wells Fargo has recently become a nightmare according to a poster in another forum. She had a current/recent POA, letter from the doctor indicating her mom was incompetent. They went into the bank to close the accounts and Wells Fargo demanded that the Bank Manager be allowed to take mom off into an office alone to talk to her privately - as if to "assess" her mental capacity. The bank called the police when the daughter with POA refused. Research revealed that this isn't new. WF legal department isn't cooperating. She can't access the accounts. When I'm hearing all this, I am SOOO glad mom's accounts are with the same credit union I belong to. They have the POA on file & give me absolutely NO grief. Yet another needless hurdle for those who already have far too much on their plate to deal with. Shame on these banks!

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support