Does a Mass bank have to abide by a properly executed Durable Power of Attorney?

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Does a Mass bank have to abide by a properly executed Durable Power of Attorney?

My Father properly executed a Durable Power of Attorney granting power to my mother. She is trying to open a new joint account at a Bank of America branch and their legal department is telling the branch manager that they cannot open the new joint account for them. It is a lengthy, notarized, witnessed document that includes the appropriate

and specific banking powers my mother is trying exercise.

Asked on August 10, 2018 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The answer is yes: a bank does not to abide by a properly drafted and executed power of attorney. If they have some reason to believe that the document is deficient (e.g. is nt signed or witessed properly, or lacks the appropriate language for the banking authority) or was the product of fraud or coercion, they can refuse it on that ground and/or require some additional evidence that it is proper--but they need some evidentiary basis for that refusal or conclusion and need to be open to correcting the deficit they believe they perceive. They cannot simply arbitrarily refuse to honor a power of attorney. The law makes powers of attorney enforceable; a bank may not refuse to follow the law.


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