Aunt Gertrude needs to open a new bank account and her niece, Milly, is going to help. Milly is Aunt Gertrude’s attorney in fact (often referred to as her “power of attorney”).  Aunt Gertrude knows everyone at the bank, and she is happy to introduce Milly to her ‘banking family.’

            The bank acknowledges Aunt Gertrude’s power of attorney document, but also has both her  and Milly sign a bank document as well. After signing the document, Aunt Gertrude and Milly are on their way.

            Fast forward two years –

            Aunt Gertrude has been doing her own banking without Milly. Aunt Gertrude has a fall and is in the hospital. The bank is unaware. Milly brings in Aunt Gertrude’s checkbook, her p.o.a. and bank documents. She withdraws $5,000.00 from Aunt Gertrude’s account and walks out. She promptly buys herself a diamond ring.

Should the bank have stopped Milly? Could Aunt Gertrude have stopped her? As I have said in the past, the Durable Power of Attorney is a powerful document.

Be sure the person you choose to assist you as your attorney in fact is trustworthy, and be sure the power of attorney document appoints a third party to review all the actions taken. Please contact Mateya Law Firm to help you with your estate planning needs, including the Power of Attorney document.