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Providing wise care for your aging parents when using a Power of Attorney was discussed in yesterday’s post . Today, I want to follow that up with some additional information that is especially relevant in today’s economy.
With all the changes in the marketplace, including banks buying out other banks, merging, and sometimes even closing, it’s important to stay on top of the elderly care we provide our parents by monitoring their financial situation in regards to what is happening with those banks.
A good friend inadvertently discovered this when he had to call a bank on behalf of his grandfather. They had done all the paperwork required by the bank a few years ago, including filing and notarizing the bank’s required forms on top of providing the Power of Attorney their own attorney had prepared. Now the bank has merged with another bank and has a new name. You can imagine his shock when he called the new bank’s primary call center regarding a letter he received, only to be told they couldn’t talk to him as he didn’t have Power of Attorney.
He called the branch where they had originally opened the account and discovered the manger was no longer there. Fortunately the new manager was very helpful. He discovered that the new bank had implemented a plan to have all the paperwork scanned into computers. For some reason, his grandfather’s paperwork had never been scanned in. It took them over an hour on the phone while she tracked down the original paperwork, and another hour on her part to completely solve the problem. She finally called him later that night with the good news that all was fixed. Wisely, he waited a week, then called the primary call center back where he was able to confirm that they did, indeed, show that he had Power of Attorney.
Can you imagine if that had happened in the middle of a crisis? I learned to:
1. Call any bank that has recently made a change to verify all of our information is still showing accurately. It might be wise to wait about three months after the bank changes hands, to give them time to complete their paperwork processing.
2. Keep a copy of all documents in a file at home.
3. Keep a copy of the Power of Attorney (reduced in size) easily accessible at all times in case of an emergency.
4. It might even be wise to call each bank your senior parent uses every year or two to verify that all is in order.
Even when banks don’t change hands, mistakes do happen. It’s always easier to sort these issues out when there isn’t a problem, rather than discovering a mess in the middle of an emergency situation.