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I was appointed POA for a friend who is deaf and has cerebral palsy. She has a bank in New York with no branches here. The bank will not accept durable power of attorney that I have had notarized, they want her to physically go to the branch, point or origin, where the account was opened, that is physically impossible - she is now in a nursing home.. they have gone so far as freezing her account until she goes into the bank herself. This has left me in a bind as I pay her bills etc, nursing home bill etc. suggestions....

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Isthisrealyreal: I see what you are saying. Yes, the form only can come from on line or from a NOLO book. But in the case of being only notarized, and not by a lawyer, the notary can come to home or hospital, did in our case. It may not be that they are criminal or even incompetent, but in the case of a blind person signing they may not over question what is being done. I see your points. I just think banks need to be careful, and boy, are they ever. I DO agree with you COMPLETELY that it is themselves they are protecting. A mess up could mean a huge suit were families involved, and fraud perpetrated on an elder uncovered. I dealt with two banks, rather two branches of the SAME bank. And one of them was really not helpful, let's say. The other way. You never have to go to the same branch that I have heard. You seem to need to find the right help. When my brother got ill his banking was done at a bank in So Cal and I live in No Cal. When I tried his So Cal bank I was up the creek. They were ultimately correct. I had POA my bro gave me and needed Trustee of Trust. They gave me no guidance at all. Boy is it crucial to find the right person. I wonder if marjory1959 could go to manager or another branch with documentation. Hope she will update us. And would love more info on why they say they won't accept her documents.
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Isthisrealyreal Jul 6, 2019
Alva, the bank is in New York and they are in Florida, that is the whole problem. At this point an attorney will need to be involved or the courts and get a guardian appointed.

The bank will not accept anything other than an original document, not faxed, not emailed.

The bank is definitely doing its job, but if this woman is not able to pay her bills then I would think that the banking commission has a solution around issues like this.

Here is another great example for having your affairs in order and updated.

Yep, Trustee and POA are two different hats, it is unfortunate that the bank wasn't more helpful, but as a true representative for someone that has the wherewithal to assign POA he should have told you the account was in a trust that that requires Trustee approval. I can't imagine how many ways the banks get hit with potential fraud. Must be exasperating. I can see there side as well as the side of desperate people trying to do right.
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Just one more thing, everyone.To add to what I wrote below, and after reading comments on this thread. Do know that Power of Attorney is a legal document giving a person access and management of EVERY PENNY YOU HAVE. Do know that no bank will do this lightly. Especially in the instance of a "friend" and not a family member. Especially in the instance of a person who "cannot show up" and may be in heaven knows what mental condition. Especially when the "friend" isn't court appointed. If a document is done "online" or printed from some NOLO press book, then just notarized (which attests only to a signature being real and identify presented with it), and with no Lawyer who examined the person GIVING the Power of Attorney or Conferring the Trustee of Trust documents, WHERE WOULD WE BE? Because I could walk in tomorrow with a document off Nolo that I had notarized, saying that I am Bertha Ramos POA (a gal up the street I barely know). Or that I am CWillie's best friend. If a bank is stupid enough to accept that document I can pretty much empty out that account. You do see how crucial it is that banks do this correctly? And trust me, I have been there. I had such a time of it in March when I knew nothing, and my brother was knocked dingy from a car accident that showed a lot of other medical stuff coming at us as well. It was all confusion, and some banks were more helpful than others, but I will say I would want my own funds protected as fiercely. Otherwise we are all open to being wiped out tomorrow by someone with a piece of paper in hand. I do not mean this questioner who clearly is trying to be there and to help;I mean just your average crook looking for a good gig.
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Isthisrealyreal Jul 5, 2019
Alva, the person granting POA has to sign, they have to provide state or federally issued identification to verify who they are. You can't go get a POA for someone, they assign you as POA. So no, you couldn't get a POA as cwillies best friend. I have never had a notary not ask me what I was signing and if I was signing of my own volition. Maybe not all are as diligent, but they are putting themselves at great risk if not.

Depending on when these documents are done there may be no question of sound mind, that is what we should all shoot for, having these documents before someone's mental capacity is in question.

You are correct that the banks should be diligent in protecting their customers, but some are just asinine in not accepting any POA, attorney generated or Attorney General website generated. Then families are left struggling because some 2 bit manager doesn't do their job correctly and just denies the POA out of hand. They are required to send it to their legal department to verify signatures and state statutes, but not to protect their customers, it is solely to protect themselves.

Edit: Alva I have just read some of your responses and I think you misunderstand about the online forms, they are not notarized online, that is not a legal action and no one does it, you print the form and physically take it to a local notary. I can understand why you are so concerned thinking that this is all taking place on the internet. Rest assured that is not the case in the least.
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I had a good deal of trouble in the beginning as well but it turned out that was because I had the WRONG DOCUMENT. The Lawyer did see my brother in rehab, adjudge him legally competent to know what he was doing in giving me POA. But turned out that the bank account was held in a TRUST. That is another document so had to hire on the attorney again. That made me both POA and Trustee of Trust. Bank needs to see a really clear and tight POA or Trustee designation, and nothing like any online notarized will work. Power of attorney cannot be given by someone who does not legally understand what they are doing--that is to say there must be very little dementia as this person is giving over control of their money to someone else. I had to carry with me both the new legal documents, made by and sworn to and notarized by the attorney, and the original trust. Had my brother not been competent to do this I would have had to go to court and go through being appointed legal Guardian. As a non family member I doubt you would be appointed guardian. I am afraid you are going at this point to have to buy an hour of time with an attorney who specializes in Elder Care issues, and get this POA fixed. The attorney will/must/should visit your friend directly in care. Once done correctly it should be fine to take to a bank. You can understand how crucial it is that the bank protect your friend. You could, after all, be a nefarious friend swooping in on a helpless elder. It is so confusing and anxiety provoking getting all of this ironed out. Be careful also, when messing with any account that receives her Social Security, as that is a whole SEPARATE thing, dealing with the government directly, and that WILL be a court issue if she is incompetent or cannot give permission to put check in another account. This is a massive undertaking that in all honestly goes beyond friendship. It is very difficult. Your friend would be better to hire a fiduciary to manage her affairs or allow one to be court appointed. And you would be VERY much better off. Contact the Social Worker at her facility if there is one. For help and guidance.
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Contact Social services in your area and they might be able to assist you. I am my mother's P.O.A. and I never had to take her to the branch to gain control. The bank should have a fax number where you could go to your bank and have your paperwork faxed to them, then they should have to honor it. Although I do reside in the same state as my mother. All I had to do was go into her branch and present my paperwork and sign a signature card to gain access to her account. You may possibly be able to press charges against her bank if shes has had to go without anything necessary because of their actions.
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I had a horrid problem with Wells Fargo, but if Chase is nationwide, they were terrific.
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AlvaDeer Jul 5, 2019
So much depends upon the person you are dealing with. US Bank was WONDERFUL in San Francisco, and not so good in Palm Springs for me. Would not really even give me information on how this had to be done. Pretty much threw me at once into the arms of an attorney, which, as it turns out, is exactly where I needed to be. Not cheap, but great.
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Contact the Banking commission in New York and find out how you handle this bank. The attorney that drew up the POA may have to get involved.

This stuff is a royal pain, unless it's a greedy relative or friend trying to drain assets. Better to error on the side of caution. But there has to be a legal process to avoid someone not being able to pay their bills because the bank has froze the account.

Be patient and diligent you will get it sorted out.
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You can ask the attorney who drafted it to send them a letter. That worked for me with everyone except Bank of America. We actually passed on setting up account also with BBT because they are notorious for not taking any POA. Lawyers are used to having to follow up with letter - the banks sometimes want them to send them their law license number.
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This kind of thing come up way too often on the forum, I can't understand how the banks get away with ignoring legally approved documents. Keep going higher up the chain of command at the bank, hopefully you will eventually reach someone who will see reason. In the meantime make sure any future deposits go to a different bank.
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marjory1959 Jun 22, 2019
Will be opening an account locally then contacting social security to have her check deposited at the new account...
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You need to talk to someone far up on the totem pole. You need to explain that she is in home and cannot make the trip. You have been assigned as her POA, hopefully drawn up by a lawyer. By freezing her acct, they are causing financial hardship on her part. Ask what you need to have them except her POA. If they won't allow it, call the lawyer who drew it up, maybe he can help. Once u get into the acct. Have the money transferred to a bank closer. Making sure that bank has excepted ur POA.

This wouldn't be Wells Fargo would it? They are known not to except POAs.
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freqflyer Jun 22, 2019
Knock on wood, I had no problem with Wells Fargo and Wells Fargo Advisors regarding my Dad with me being his Power of Attorney.
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