Garton & Harris

Preventing power of attorney problems at the bank

Individuals who choose someone to act on their behalf want to avoid potential horror stories at all costs. British Columbia residents who are choosing someone to act on a power of attorney should be mindful of what it takes to do the job. One of the issues they could come up against is whether a bank will trust that individual since it is incumbent upon banks to safeguard people's finances.

Banks have the power to reject a power of attorney. They may do this for several reasons including if the document is outdated, if the document isn't clear or if the document doesn't conform to the bank's policies. Banks have also refused a power of attorney because they had never met the person acting on it, the person with the bank account didn't sign internal bank document or a parent wasn't able to physically get to the bank to notify the institution that he or she had authorized a child to act on a power of attorney.

If a bank does refuse a power of attorney, there are a few things a person can do. Getting in touch with a lawyer is the first wise idea. Calling the local ombudsman might be another. There is an Ombudsman for banking services and investments in various areas of the province.

When there are problems with banks and a power of attorney, a British Columbia lawyer may be able to step in and mitigate the issue(s). There may be a simple solution with which a lawyer may be able to help such as an issue of capacity. A lawyer may be able to intervene before the issue escalates.  

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