My sister had a stoke and signed forms for me, her brother, to be POA. Upon verifying that my sister wanted to me to be POA, the Hospital Social Worker prepared the documents, phoned a notary that the hospital uses and gathered witness from patients rooms. We got the documents signed. Three banks have accepted my original copy as authentic to access my sister's accounts and made their own copies! However the Benefits and Retirement Department of my sister's employer is requesting a certified copy of the power of attorney! I know for a fact I need to keep the original. So how do I go about satisfying their request for this so called: "Certified Copy of POA" to access my sister's 401K?
Is there another way to get them to accept differently? Where can I get a Certified COPY of POA?
We encounter such requests for certified copies from time to time. What they arew asking for is a copy that has been been filed with and certified by the County Clerk and Recorder. They are trying to cover themselves in case the POA had been revoked. Once it has been filed a POA can only be revoked by filing a written revocation with the same County Clerk and Recorder. An affidavit of non-revocation usually is sufficient to get them to back off. You might have been able to avoid this problem if the POA had been drafted by an attorney who included certain provisions proactively addressing the issue.
You could sign an affidavit indicating that a copy is a certified copy. Otherwise, there is really no such thing as a "certified copy" of a POA. We include a clause in every one of our POA forms that "Copies are to be treated as original documents." We have not had problems. I would inquire of the Department what they will accept. You can provide them with an original, if they will give it back, as everyone else has done. You might also get an attorney to "certify" a copy of the POA.
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Estate Planning Attorney
I've never seen this request before. You could record the POA in the county in which your sister resides, then request a certified copy from the the recorder.
It is common for financial entities to request certified Letters of Administration or Testamentary from a Personal Representative after the death of an employee, account holder, etc., but to not accept an original POA is inexplicable.
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Estate Planning Attorney
As the other attorneys have said, in Colorado there is no such thing as a certified copy of a POA. You do not say where your sister's employer is headquartered. National employers have to deal with many different state laws, and the the staff can not be aware of every state's statutes and procedure. Any one accepting a POA has some liability if the POA turns out to be invalid for some reason. This staff probably does not deal with many POAs and is trying to get comfortable with the idea of accepting a POA from a non employee. They have latched onto the idea of getting a certified POA as somehow making it more official. I suggest trying to talk to someone at the employer and explaining the situation. If that does not work, the earlier suggestion to record the POA and then get a certified copy of the recorded document may satisfy them although that process does not provide any additional protection to the employer.
Contracts / Agreements Lawyer
I agree with my collegues. Perhaps you can suggest to the empolyer that a conference is needed with the employer's counsel. Good luck!
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