Imagine going to your dad's financial institution (bank, investment company, credit union, etc.) because your dad's no longer competent to manage his own affairs. Imagine that while he was still competent, he gave you a statutory durable power of attorney (SDPOA) that meets all the requirements of your state's estates code and that authorizes you to, among other things, manage his financial affairs. Imagine how you'd feel if the institution said, "I'm sorry, our policy requires that the POA be on our form, we can't accept that one." Now you're in the position of not being able to do the precise thing your dad wanted and authorized you to be able to do for him, just because his financial institution wants it on their form - you're also unable to get him to sign "their" POA because HE'S NOT COMPETENT ANYMORE. Think you'd be a little frustrated?
The above scenario happens every single day, all over the country. Since I'm a Texas lawyer, I'll confine my observations to Texas; however, your state is probably very similar. Until the 2017 Texas Legislature recently gaveled to a close, a person presented with a SDPOA was not required to accept it. Effective September 1, 2017, Senate Bill 1974 made a fundamental change to Texas' Estates Code by requiring a person presented with a validly executed SDPOA to accept it. There are a few hoops they can still make you jump through, such as requiring a certification (also spelled out in the statute) or a legal opinion that supports the validity of the SDPOA, but they can't make you use their form except in a few situations.
As a firm working in the estate planning and elder law areas, we have seen entirely too many clients have to go through the frustration of thinking their loved one did everything he/she needed to do, only to be roadblocked by a financial institution's "policy". Thank goodness the Legislature got it right this session. If your parents (or you) don't have SDPOAs, Medical POAs, wills, advance directives and HIPAA releases in effect, or they need to be updated, do yourself and your family a favor: do them or update them this month.
As always, this is legal information, not legal advice, and is based on Texas law. If you have a question or concern about this topic, contact an estate planning, probate or elder law attorney in your jurisdiction.
Musings, observations, the occasional whineage and some funny stuff.