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Durable POA benefits in this situation?
Old 03-18-2019, 10:09 PM   #1
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Durable POA benefits in this situation?

DH & I are authorized to transact business on my MILís checking and investment accounts. We also have access to her safe deposit box which contains her will and other key documents. She rents her home, plans to sell her car soon, and lives a pretty simple life. She has a healthcare POA but not a durable POA. She has the beneficiary information current on her financial accounts.

Is it necessary to get a durable POA in place? If so, what are the reasons this would be needed?
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:20 PM   #2
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If you need to help manage her finances, and it becomes necessary for you to take over managing some aspects of her life, having a durable power of attorney will allow you to do many things on her behalf. You need to get one while she is competent.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:30 AM   #3
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My dad is beginning to have memory problems...we've just spent three months trying to straighten out his bills. We needed POA to do it, and it was not easy to get at the stage he's at. Thank goodness we had a lawyer who understood the situation and was gentle and compassionate as we worked through the process and finally got POA. Now we can get the job done. We are so grateful we can help.
If you need to help your MIL more later, you'll need POA. And if your MIL isn't deemed competent by the lawyer, they won't let her sign...and then, according to my lawyer, it's a very expensive, time consuming procedure to figure out.
You don't have to actually use the POA until you need to, but it's sure good to have.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:35 AM   #4
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Is it necessary to get a durable POA in place? If so, what are the reasons this would be needed?
A durable POA is not difficult and well worth the time IMO. You may need it to deal with pensions (but not Social Security) utilities, phone, cable. Itís tough to predict what type of access or authorizations you will need, but your window for getting a POA is closing.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:04 AM   #5
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Just repeating what I've seen posted so often.

I've read that one should not keep their will in a safe deposit box, as after death, no one else may access the box without letters of authority from the probate court. To get letters of authority (easily) one needs the will to present at the probate court. A Catch-22. A POA ends at death, so that would not help.

I agree that you need a durable POA. Unexpected situations can arise and if your MIL becomes incompetent or incapacitated, she may not be able to transact on her behalf. I needed to use a POA to transact regarding my grandmother's bank accounts and a life insurance policy immediately after she entered a nursing home. Long story.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:08 AM   #6
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My Dads will is in his safe deposit box. He set up access for my brother and I on it long ago and I do occasionally access it. That is the key.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:43 AM   #7
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My Dads will is in his safe deposit box. He set up access for my brother and I on it long ago and I do occasionally access it. That is the key.
Just curious, can you access it after his death?

When my father died, I had no intention of opening up his estate for probate, as it was insolvent. The situation was further complicated for reasons that aren't relevant to this discussion. Anyway, I called his bank to request that they freeze his bank accounts. I offered to present a death certificate in person. I was told that without letters of authority from probate court, they could do nothing. Not even with me walking in and showing them his death certificate. Maybe that person didn't know what they were talking about. I wasn't trying to access the account, only prevent others from accessing it.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:58 AM   #8
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When my friend had Alzheimer’s and her husband was dying we didn’t need a lawyer for the durable POA. We just printed off the form and she signed it. I needed that to get her pension check deposited into the right account, etc.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:02 AM   #9
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Just curious, can you access it after his death?

When my father died, I had no intention of opening up his estate for probate, as it was insolvent. The situation was further complicated for reasons that aren't relevant to this discussion. Anyway, I called his bank to request that they freeze his bank accounts. I offered to present a death certificate in person. I was told that without letters of authority from probate court, they could do nothing. Not even with me walking in and showing them his death certificate. Maybe that person didn't know what they were talking about. I wasn't trying to access the account, only prevent others from accessing it.
My brother and I are also named on his bank account as joint with right of survivorship. I take care of his bill paying through my own access to his account.

As far as I know our access to his safe deposit box doesnít change with his passing, but I should look into that to make sure. Thanks.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:13 AM   #10
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When my friend had Alzheimerís and her husband was dying we didnít need a lawyer for the durable POA. We just printed off the form and she signed it. I needed that to get her pension check deposited into the right account, etc.
My Dadís had to be notarized. It was drawn up by a lawyer, he signed it and it was notarized.

When I submitted a copy to his brokerage to set me up as agent, they initially declined because they couldnít see the notary seal. I had to get the original, carefully rub over the raised seal with a number 2 pencil to make it more visible and scan it again. This was accepted.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:43 AM   #11
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My Dadís had to be notarized. It was drawn up by a lawyer, he signed it and it was notarized.



When I submitted a copy to his brokerage to set me up as agent, they initially declined because they couldnít see the notary seal. I had to get the original, carefully rub over the raised seal with a number 2 pencil to make it more visible and scan it again. This was accepted.

That type of seal can present problems as you describe. I chatted with a notary who used the raised seal and asked why many donít switch to ink. They said they didnít want to pay for a new seal.

I donít know if what constitutes an acceptable seal varies by location.

Itís a little thing until it isnít!
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:48 AM   #12
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In our state we just needed 2 witnesses and both our husbands filled that role. No notary needed in our state.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:06 AM   #13
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A durable POA is not difficult and well worth the time IMO. You may need it to deal with pensions (but not Social Security) utilities, phone, cable. Itís tough to predict what type of access or authorizations you will need, but your window for getting a POA is closing.
Yup. All of these and so many more. Life happens. Even doing a free form POA off the net is better than nothing.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:01 AM   #14
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Just curious, can you access it after his death?

When my father died, I had no intention of opening up his estate for probate, as it was insolvent. The situation was further complicated for reasons that aren't relevant to this discussion. Anyway, I called his bank to request that they freeze his bank accounts. I offered to present a death certificate in person. I was told that without letters of authority from probate court, they could do nothing. Not even with me walking in and showing them his death certificate. Maybe that person didn't know what they were talking about. I wasn't trying to access the account, only prevent others from accessing it.
It may depend on how the estate was structured. My parents put almost all of their primary assets (bank accounts, investments and their house) into a revocable trust, drawn up by a lawyer and notarized, which became irrevocable once both of them were deceased. I was appointed by the trust to be the successor trustee. So when my mom passed in November 2016, it was pretty painless. To gain access to her accounts, for the most part all I had to do was establish my identity to make sure it matched the trust, and provide a copy of the trust and a copy of her death certificate.

In any event, as others have said, best to do the POA while there is little or no question as to her competence to authorize it.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:57 AM   #15
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It may depend on how the estate was structured. My parents put almost all of their primary assets (bank accounts, investments and their house) into a revocable trust, drawn up by a lawyer and notarized, which became irrevocable once both of them were deceased. I was appointed by the trust to be the successor trustee. So when my mom passed in November 2016, it was pretty painless. To gain access to her accounts, for the most part all I had to do was establish my identity to make sure it matched the trust, and provide a copy of the trust and a copy of her death certificate.
In my father's case, there was no trust involved. He had all his bills automatically deducted from his account, as well as his Social Security and federal pension payments electronically deposited. As I said, there were some complications. I had good reason to be concerned about potential fraud.

From what I've been able to research, I should have been able to present his death certificate in person at the bank to get his accounts frozen without any hassles. That is all I wanted to do. I required no access at all. It was probably done after I contacted Social Security.
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:27 PM   #16
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... Is it necessary to get a durable POA in place?
It is prudent. You will find out later, possibly too late, whether it was necessary or not.
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If so, what are the reasons this would be needed?
As long as you don't hear a credible reason to NOT do it, you should do it.
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:52 PM   #17
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Thanks for the responses. We will talk with the attorney who did her will and get his advice. If she needs one, Iím sure we can help get it done. Just trying not to overwhelm her with all of this.
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