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When the bank won't honor your power of attorney

Most estate plan packages include a financial power of attorney. This document is intended to make sure that if you become unable to manage your financial affairs, your nominated agent can take over.

But more and more frequently, banks and brokerage firms reject these attorney-drafted powers and insist their own forms be signed.

That's not a problem, unless you've already lost your capacity to sign such a document.

This can create a nightmare for relatives who urgently need to step in for an impaired parent or other family member.

So how can you get around this apparent roadblock?

First, insist on speaking with someone higher up the bank's chain of authority. This often will work.

If it doesn't, enlist the help of an attorney, who may be able to force the bank to accept the existing power of attorney.

It's a good practice to review all of your estate planning documents on a regular basis and make any updates required.

You can also contact the financial institutions you do business with and ask if they require their own power of attorney form. If so, get one and have it signed now.