How to force bank to honor power of attorney and Will of mentally incapacitated patient?

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How to force bank to honor power of attorney and Will of mentally incapacitated patient?

I am writing on behalf of my wife who has power of attorney for her sister, Donna. Donna is in critical condition in the hospital, incapable of handling her finances and paying her bills. My wife, acting on her behalf and signing into Donna’s online bank account to pay bills for her, initiated several transactions, one for a large amount that Donna owed her son. This triggered a suspicious activity flag so the bank has frozen Donna’s account so that none of her bills can be paid. My wife has been on the phone for hours trying to correct this problem and has provided all legal documents will, living Will, and power of attorney that show my wife as the POA. Yet the bank keeps moving the goal posts, telling her one day that she must provide something else as documentation, and then something else again the next day and so forth. Now the bank is saying that the hospital physician must provide a letter from Donna’s doctor to prove that she is incapacitated. However, thedoctor refuses, saying that it is policy that he cannot get involved with patient financial issues. This sound crazy to me Why would a letter describing Donna’s medical condition not be allowed? Do we have any legal recourse?

Asked on May 24, 2018 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your wife will have to sue the bank seeking a court order requiring them to honor the POA and the transactions under it. Only a court can resolve this dispute and has the power to order the bank to do something. The suit would be brought in county court, in what was traditionally called the "chancery" division, though not all states still call part of their court system "chancery." The action can be brought on a "emergent" (think: urgent or emergency) basis to get into court faster. Bringing lawsuits for court orders is more complex than bringing one for money only, and filing it on an emergent basis adds to the complexity: your wife is advised to retain an attorney to help her.


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