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Mom is in South Carolina. Children are in Michigan and the bank, Comerica, is only in SE Michigan. She was so independent that she didn't want anyone near her finances, but now we have to get access to pay her bills since she is in hospital and declining rapidly. Comerica won't reset the online portal that she must have set up years ago with another email. My husband went into the bank with Power of Attorney paperwork and thought he had resolution, but they won't give access without her verbal confirmation. When she was able to call they told she could not do this over the phone. She is in hospital in SC and the only branch is Michigan. Kids are leaving for SC but that doesn't solve the banking issue. How can they get access to pay her bills? Or will this be locked if she passes and there will be no funds available. There is a will but no Trust.

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I am POA for my mother and my name is NOT on the account. Provide the bank with legal copies of the POA and you should be good to go. Not sure why the bank won't give permission unless they talk to her. I would check with the bank manager on that or tell them that you will get the attorney involved since the POA is good, unless it doesn't state in there about releasing financial info. I am guessing there are different type POA's with different wording. I also guess that IF she passes before things resolved, it will all be handled when going over the will and the state (?) will issue that all bills be paid before any monies left over get sorted out to family members. wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451
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If the POA currently in place is "Durable," doctor ( perhaps 2 doctors) need to certify that your mother is unable to take care of her own financial affairs. This should allow the POA to sign your mother's checks with "POA" written with his/her signature.

If no one can gain account access, you could pay your mother's bills out of your own funds and then re-imburse yourself from your mother's estate after she dies.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Imho, perhaps you should get your mother's physician to send a letter ON PHYSICIAN LETTERHEAD to your mother's financial institution stating your mother, as principal, has given her agent full access to her financial online transactions.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Comerica is usually pretty reasonable and they are not just in SE Michigan, they are all over Michigan and 7 other states. So, here is what you do...go to the bank manager and explain the situation. Get their business card. Then you call the corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor. Get the email address of the D. Smith, District Manager/VP of Retail Banking. Send an email to bank manager and copy D. Smith, recapping the visit with the bank manager and attach proof she is in the hospital, I would use Snip Tool, do a pic since they may not open an attachment. Then ask if you can set up a zoom or meetings call from the hospital so your mom can give consent face to face.

I deal with alot of banks with work and I can honestly say Comerica is one of the easiest to deal with.
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Reply to Stacy0122
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Is your mother able to sign her name, even with just an x? Maybe the bank would allow her to do that. I would call the bank manager and tell him that it is physically impossible for Mom to come to the bank. Perhaps you could call from your mother's room and she could give verbal permission over the phone. A government agency I was dealing with allowed us to do that. If the bank won't work with you consult a lawyer re your options. Best of luck to you during this stressful time.
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Reply to Impossible
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Usually, you need a power of attorney specifically for finances to deal with banks and bills. If your loved one has a "general power of attorney" many banks will not honor this. I suggest you talk to a lawyer in Michigan that deals with either family law or elder law for assistance.
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Reply to Taarna
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Banks often demand power of attorney be done on THEIR paperwork. The idea is that they want to protect themselves by taking the a attitude that their POA is what they will go by, so if someone else comes along and says they have POA they will refuse it. Keep in mind that unless there is a formal legally binding registration of POA, as in some other nations, then how could people know that the POA docs you gave them were in fact the current POA docs? Easy to supersede old POA and so how is it officially established that the POA you are showing to bank is in fact THE LEGITIMATE POA? Thus they demand their own POA paperwork and honor that to protect themselves legally..
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Reply to rovana
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Depending on the bank, it can be a handful. My parents had 2 accounts at 2 banks - one joint and one mom's only. The bank with the joint account was easy peasy - no hoops to jump through just gave them the docs and went on my merry way. Mom's bank was horrible - I never liked that bank to begin with. Dad was also on mom's account and we all had to troop to this bank twice to get things set up.

I agree, make an appointment at the bank with the official/bank officer working with POAs and find out exactly what you need to get her business taken care of. Have the hospice doctor fax a letter (if the bank will accept a fax and if mom is competent have her sign a statement.)

If mom dies before the bank puts the POA in effect, then the account will become a part of her estate and depending on mom's estate - you'll need to go through probate or get "short letters" to wind up her estate. If mom has no estate other than the bank account other methods are open to the family.

The one item I never resolved was a check dad failed to negotiate from a stock dividend or; they also reissued the check and he failed to negotiate that one too. They wouldn't take the POA and they wanted a specific document which I couldn't find anyone to issue - when I found out the check was for $45 I just threw up my hands and told the investment company to keep the money. I guess I should now be checking the state's unclaimed property for that money.

Sorry for all this during this stressful time.
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Reply to cweissp
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Since my Dads death in 2006, my Mom placed me on her accounts. So I could always pay her bills. I also had her POA and as Alva says, thought I could pay her bills without being on the account. I have signed my name alone with POA on paperwork and also her name then mine with POA. What ever way I was asked to do it.

I agree with Ann. You need one of the doctors or even the DON to write a note on their letterhead saying that Jane Jones is in their Hospital and not competent to handle her own finances or able to give permission by phone.

If it comes her bills don't get paid, they don't get paid. You call her creditors and tell them the situation and that you are trying to resolve it. If she passes and has a Will then the Executor will take over. He/she will go to probate and get a short certificate allowing them to get to Moms accts and pay bills. No Will, an Administer can do the same thing.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I encountered the ssme as mj1929. It takes a few months for guardianship where the court should recognize your POA. NOW SC requires a POA signed by 2 witnesses to be certified from its origin and then filed in probate If she is a resident of SC.
If she is fading fast it might be a moot point when the next is probate because you may then have a several month wait. What bills are so important that they cannot wait? Try not to respond to calls from creditors and do not promise anything by phone. Do not call creditors. If you cannot get into the bank then wait. There was response in this post to just write personal representative when writing checks since banks do not review every check. You may find it difficult to know the balance unless you are getting into her mail. If you plan to forward just be aware that post offices will give you a hard time also.
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Reply to MACinCT
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Banks and other financial institutions are notoriously and understandably tight about recognizing legitimate POAs. They want them done on their forms and in person. I had that issue with both my parents' bank and with Charles Schwab, and my dad (the one granting POA) was with me. No doubt we had it easier than most because he was with me, but nonetheless, we had to fill out all new paperwork at both institutions.

This is a lesson to all who think they have power of attorney for their loved ones. In the eyes of their banks, you don't.
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Reply to MJ1929
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My situation was managed MUCH more easily by going to each bank with my POA and a letter briefly describing my LO’s condition and the reason that I needed to take over the protection of her finances.

My letter came from a geriatric behavioral psychiatry practice, but you could also probably use any trusted medical or behavioral professional agency.

I asked for an officer as soon as I entered the bank, stated succinctly why I was there and what I needed, and then waited until the change in the account that was requested was completed.

In my two experiences as POA I have had checks printed with my LO’s name and my name- POA. In my present situation, there is a second POA listed, who writes a single check per month.

There is now an online account which receives social security and pension checks and also interest.

We started at several accounts, and now ALL of LO’s accounts are consolidated in this single one, which is not co-mingled with any other CHECKING accounts- HER EXPENSES ONLY.

THERE IS a savings account, indicated as LO and her two POAs. All withdrawals from that account appear as deposits into the checking account.

Hope this is helpful to you.
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Reply to AnnReid
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To pay the bills the checks are signed with HER name, and followed by the POA name with the words "under POA" or "POA in fact".
But the problem is to get entered on the account as POA. It seems this was done already according to you. Now the POA needs to be sent to all billing entities, to let them know bills must come to you.
I am assuming that all the paperwork was passed off on by the bank. If the was a POA that stipulated you needed two MD letters that person cannot act for themselves, then the bank must give POA; it is usually written right in the POA it is illegal for a bank not to comply with a legal POA. And you are sadly correct. The POA must do this work in person or in a branch. Until all this is done the bills sit, though you can let the billing entities know where this stands. Meanwhile what would they be able to DO but ruin her credit? She doesn't NEED credit. So this will eventually get done. See an elder Law Attorney in her area to make sure you have all the correct papers, as well.
I am not certain what you mean by "get access." You don't NEED access. You need to pay her bills. That is done by writing a check, signed with her name, and with the POA signing as POA.
The elder's money pays for the attorney as well, so see one, make certain the POA is all ready to go with a letter of certification, etc and with the MD paperwork if it was stipulated.
It will basically all be a pain. I did it so I know that. But it is a matter of calling all billing entities and getting it straight and sending copies, keeping files, being meticulous in your record keeping of all monies into the account and all monies out. The bank statements should be coming to you as well if the elder is no longer willing/or able to function to do any banking.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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cdelling Jun 18, 2021
To clarify, we don't even know the balance or inflow of funds into her account. It appears that she has three checking accounts, but my husband was unclear why. The Comerica account seems to be the main account. I am a accounting person and just would like to understand the balance and flow of funds. It is a bad idea to write checks when you don't know even the balance of the account. I am sure you didn't mean to make it sound like we were going to take off with her money. I am saying that she has entered Hospice and it seems odd that with all the paperwork and in person visit to the a branch we still had to had verbal consent from critically ill patient. Thank you for the info. I will pursue getting medical statements from Hospice.
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First start by asking the bank specialist (the one who deals with Power of Attorney) what they need you to provide. It can be different for every bank. I suspect that since your mom is physically compromised (and incapacitated in the hospital) you will probably need a note from her physician -- but you need to ask the bank specialist or your time will be wasted. I just had to to this at 2 banks for my LOs: one bank insisted I physically bring in both LOs even though one has advanced dementia and hardly mobile and the other can barely walk. The other bank only required I bring in their state IDs and 2 forms of ID for myself, plus my original signed copy of my PoA paperwork. The tellers and other minor employees can often give you wrong info, so that's why you need to ask to talk to the person who actually handles the PoA verification.

If you can create a new email for your mom and then with that create a completely new online access at that bank (assuming you have her account number), that's what I'd attempt to do in the interim, since you are her legal PoA.
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Reply to Geaton777
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