My father-in-law is 88. About 3 years ago, because of his health situation (in & out of hospital), we had a POA drawn up. My husband is an only child & we live far away. We needed the security that people would speak directly to my husband for answers on various matters. My father-in-law fought us the whole way, saying that he's heard too many stories of kids that get "that power", then rob the parent. I was furious & hurt; my husband has never said or done anything that would give him that idea. After a few awkward moments, he finally agreed to sign the POA but would not let us take a copy home with us. So, now if anything happens, my husband has to first travel back home, go to his dad's house (assuming he can get in), hope the POA is where his dad put it & then proceed with whatever has to be done.
If your husband ever needs to place that POA authority, believe me, in most all cases, he will have to do so in person -- most assuredly ALWAYS with banks. "Let me FAX you a copy of my POA for my dad" would, in all likelihood, get a laugh.
I'd suggest you press him on having a copy of your FILs Healthcare Power of Attorney. He shouldn't have a problem with that. Ultimately, to care for his dad, a HCPOA is far more valuable for instant access.
As to the powerful POA (the piece of paper that turns your husband into his dad), perhaps he would agree to leave an original with his attorney for safe keeping.
Try not to take it personally. It's a normal fear for anyone. "What if's" are scary.
Maybe many people don't realize what a powerful document this is.
If the attorney doesn't want to provide you with a conformed copy, he/she should at least provide you with a copy of one of the executed originals.
It's unfortunate that your FIL has taken this position. There may be a time when your authority needs to be established for emergency action which would be delayed because he won't cooperate.
Good luck in getting a copy; it's only common sense that you should have one.
And I doubt if releasing a copy of a document in which someone is granted authority w/o the holder's permission would even rate a finger shake by the discipline board, let alone disbarment.
If someone wants/expects/allows someone else to act as an attorney-in-fact, he/she needs to trust that person to have a copy of the document. Otherwise, that authority can just become a burden.
Okay, so let's just execute another one. "Didn't you tell me your mom has dementia?" "Yes, mild dementia." "I can't do it, Maggie, I'd lose my license."
Lesson learned? Make sure one's attorney has several originals executed and keeps one in file. Other lesson learned from having schlepped around to all the banks at a time when I had much better things to do? Place POAs with financial institutions as soon a you execute them.
I've given my cousin an original of the POA naming her. And plan to place one myself with my financial institutions at first opportunity. To solve the "original" dilemma, I was fortunate. I was able to TAKE mom to all of her banks and have her THERE to place a copy. But one bank, PNC, would not accept it because it wasn't original and wasn't less than six months old. (What??)
POAs may be powerful documents, but getting them honored? That's something else again.
It's unfortunate that people often don't have a way to determine how good an elder law or estate planning attorney is. And it sounds like the attorney whose policy was to have clients execute only one original wasn't too good of an attorney. As in, duh???
As I wrote, executing "conformed copies" was standard at the law firms for which I worked. But they were the top (silk stocking or white shoe) law firms.
It applied to Living Trusts, DPOAs, Health Care Proxies, and Certificates of Trust Existence and Authority (a summary of the authority and powers under the Trust).
I think executing only one copy is a reflection of someone who isn't "in the big leagues". Those who are know that multiple copies are often required, and use the method of "conforming" to accomplish this.
Was this attorney a single practitioner?
I did work for one attorney who was so bad I turned down temp assignments with him even when I was desperate for the money. He was very controlling over his clients, created enough trust and ancillary documents to fill a 3" ring binder, but became incensed when his clients wanted to review them before signing. He should never have been in the business.
I'm wondering if that's why you've had trouble with the banks.
But in thinking back, the only time I set up accounts was after my sister's death, and I was Co-Trustee so the issue of a DPOA never arose.
I will say that I've had some dealings with PNC and wouldn't deal with them again. I did some research on them that made me uncomfortable.
Again, I wish your experience had been more positive.
Various kinds of estate planning documents are standardized in data banks. Various clauses for probably every conceivable situation are also standardized in data banks.
When an estate plan is created, the attorney may give his/her secretary a checklist which includes which version of a (Living, Irrevocable, Charitable, etc.) Trust, which standardized clauses to include, various options for heirs, trustees and successor trustees, etc. The clauses are identified by category and description, so the secretary just pulls them from data banks and plugs them into the documents as appropriate.
Every document is still customized to the client's individual wishes, but those wishes generally fall within established parameters so that a plan can be put together by a competent and knowledgeable secretary quickly (say a few hours or more, again depending on the complexity).
After the documents are completed and reviewed with the client, they're bound, ready for execution and delivery to the client. We went home with originals and conformed copies of everything, as well as a receipt for the original Pour Over Will which was left with our attorney for safekeeping in our vault.
It's really quite a bit different from a single practitioner operation.
And incidentally, these law firms often have newletters updating interested parties on changes in estate planning, tax, gifting, etc.
If you're interested, PM me and I'll give you links to some of these types of firms, just to see the difference how a major practice operates vs. a one person practice.
If he decides he doesn't want this responsibility, he should explain to his father what an impossible situation he'd be in if he did accept it, and tell his father to hire someone.
I live in NJ, and was POA for my mom while she was alive. I had plenty of copies, signed, and every agency, care center or bank I went to accepted photocopies. So that must vary, a lot.
Despite having enough DIY experience to handle some repair tasks, as well as contracting out other jobs, my father feels that only men, from his church, can and should handle those tasks. As a result, some of them get done, some don't. He won't agree to hiring the tasks either. These aren't cosmetic issues; they're ones of safety.
I've become so frustrated over this position that it's sometimes lead to complete exhaustion as well as higher levels of anxiety, not to mention conflict. I finally decided that I can't fight this intransigent attitude and won't let my own health deteriorate any more because of obstinacy and/or stubbornness. So I back away and when an issues arises, I just say "well, call someone in the church."
I'm wondering if this same kind of "dig in the heels", stubborn resistance isn't an underlying factor with K4Rose's FIL. He's obviously a strong willed man and doesn't compromise. Yet he's creating anxiety in his son and DIL who are trying to think ahead and provide for him. Is this deliberate or subconsious, and is it representative of manipulation and/or controlling behavior?
This could be simple manipulation, or it could also be reflective of a refusal to release any kind of control at all, albeit something that could help him.
Without criticizing anyone's suggestions, I would strongly recommend against substituting any unsigned or conformed copy for the original. Getting into the house without having current keys would also fall into that category, even if K4Rose and her DH feel it's an emergency.
I think surreptitious substitution that would only increase and entrench FIL's attitude. And if there is an emergency, it's better to call the police and/or fire department and let them break down the door. There's nothing he can do to them except complain. It might even do some good because he'd likely be advised by the responding emergency personnel that he should have keys, and other emergency arrangements, provided to and made with his own family.
Maggie, as to whether or not an attorney can hold and act under a DPOA, I believe this is possible and do have a vague recollection of seeing this in some documents, but it wasn't common, and I wouldn't want to say for sure w/o doing some research. It may also vary by state. Sorry, I just don't have enough knowledge to firmly say an attorney can or can't.
Attorneys do act as Trustees though, which gives them a lot of authority, so common sense would suggest that they could hold DPOA power. However, common sense doesn't always prevail in life.
Honestly, I think K4Rose's situation is an intractable one. FIL isn't going to budge; DH and K4Rose will probably always be in a position of trying to help him when he won't cooperate.
Sometimes the best thing to do is play his game, call his bluff and tell him that unless he agrees to cooperate (provide current keys, conformed copy), DH doesn't feel that he can perform the duties expected to his own level of satisfaction. Situations could occur when he couldn't act under the DPOA and blame could be assessed against him - i.e., if he's willing to act, he needs to have the documented authority to do so, IN HIS POSSESSION.
Bluntly, throw FIL's actions right back in his face. Know though that I don't make this suggestion lightly.