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What makes a power of attorney a legal document?

Plano, TX |

Is it my signature, an attorney's signature, or the notarization. Can I make a simple limited POA (no attorney) and just get it notarized? Can a bank insist that the document have an attorney's signature? If it is a legal document, can a bank unilaterally decide just not accept it?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Texas has a Durable Power of Attorney Law that sets forth what is to be in a POA. If you follow that law (I wholeheartedly recommend you hire a lawyer to do so) you should not have a problem getting the bank to accept the POA since all of the big banks had input on what the law was going to say.

Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the answer was a good answer tab below. Thanks. Mr. Geffen is licensed to practice law throughout the state of Texas with an office in Dallas. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States and is licensed to practice in US Tax Court as well as The Court of Claims. This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

A bank does not have to accept a POA.

My mother's bank would only accept a POA on their letterhead that was notarized by one of their tellers. That was their legal department's policy.

A bank does not have to do business with you. You are free to take your business elsewhere.

I hope this information is helpful.

I recommend that you use a probate or elder law attorney to assist you. Trying to "do it yourself" usually is a mistake. Estate planning is complex and can cause all sorts of unexpected problems. Please don't try to save a nickel -- it usually costs $10 to fix a nickel problem!

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

So it sounds like you are saying that a power of attorney is really no more than a polite request to a private company that may or may not be accepted. Thanks for the comments, but I'd still like to know how or when a POA becomes a legally enforceable document.

Fran Brochstein

Fran Brochstein

Posted

You need to meet face-to-face with an attorney to discuss your questions in person. Your questions are not appropriate for this website. There are some other factors regarding POA's that need to be discussed & it is better done in person. In summary, if you want a legally correct answer -- a POA may be a legally enforceable document for 1 minute or less. For a more complete answer - go see an attorney.

Asker

Posted

Who are you to tell me my question is inappropriate? You incorrectly jumped to the conclusion that this somehow involves estate planning and your reference to "1 minute" time frame is totally non-responsive. Thankfully I found an alternative resolution that does not involve an attorney.

Posted

Just stop. These are inexpensive documents that should be drafted by an expert, namely, an estate or elder law attotrney. There is a skill involved in doing them and knowing what the law requires. Get an expert and do this now.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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Asker

Posted

As I noted above, this has nothing to do with an estate or elder care. I simply asked what is the status of a POA - what makes it legal or enforceable? It sounds to me like no one is required to accept a POA no matter who drafts it.

Steven J. Fromm

Steven J. Fromm

Posted

Understood. But if you pushed a bank and sued them where the POA is valid then you would win. But who wants to go through that nonsense. It is a matter of practicality not one of legality. So I stand by my advice. Get a validly drafted DPOA. In most cases it will be accepted without a problem.

Posted

The bank has the right to have requirements before accepting certain documents.
You have the choice on who you do business with.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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