Yes! You do have difficulty with getting financial institutions to recognise Powers of Attorney

Following on from a recent article on Today’s Wills & Probate regarding the Financial Ombudsman’s efforts to improve awareness of powers of attorneys with financial institutions, it seems that many will writers and solicitors do have trouble with getting them recognised by the banks.

Posting the question in groups on LinkedIn provoked the following responses:-

Rachel Oaten, Private Client Lawyer at Amicus Law writes, “I have many clients who struggle with the banks. Some staff don’t even know what a poa is!”

Karl Taylor, Probate Executive at Graysons Solicitors commented, “A common issue is when they do not know what ‘Joint and several’ means and insist on all attorneys lodging it with them. I had a case where the daughter, and other attorney spent a lot of time in Norway. Despite the UK based attorney explaining ‘joint and several’ they refused to accept it. A truly shocking situation. Slightly different, but I also recall a bank allowing an attorney, under an unregistered EPA no less, to close a bank account down. The bank was aware of the death.”

Eric Britt, Senior Consultant at Integrity Wills states, “I have four times had to go to Banks with clients to educate them about LPAs!!” He also comments that on one occasion he sent an original which the bank thought was a copy, noted it and then shredded it.

Discussing whether or not the financial ombudsman would assist with these issues, owner of Countrywide Tax and Trust Corporation, Clive Ponder, said, “You have more faith in the financial ombudsman than I do!!!!!”

And finally, Gordon Spence, Will Writer and Estate Planner at Wellingborough Wills states, “It’s not the Ombudsman they worry about it’s the registered complaint and having to lodge £500 to defend it.”

What can will writers, probate practitioners and private client solicitors do to improve this situation for their clients and the public?

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