A crucial piece of advice is missing from professional guidance surrounding the Finance and Property Power of Attorney (POA) use. While POAs are meant to offer peace of mind and assistance, a significant roadblock can arise during emergencies.
Financial institutions, particularly banks can take up to 10 days to recognise appointed Attorneys, even with a registered POA. This means well-meaning Attorneys attempting to manage crucial matters like care fees and large expenses during emergencies, sudden illness or unexpected hospitalization, can trigger security concerns and fraud alerts due to their unrecognized access and unusual payments. This delay creates unnecessary stress and complicates situations when prompt action is critical.
Professionals assisting individuals with POA submissions often fail to highlight this crucial information. This leaves many unprepared for the potential delays and complications that might arise in urgent situations.
The best course of action, not necessarily emphasised by professionals, is for the individual granting the POA (the Donor) to proactively register their Attorneys with their bank while they still have mental capacity. This simple step allows the appointed Attorneys to manage financial affairs upon the POA’s registrations (subject to donor’s consent) and bypassing the 10-day waiting period and avoiding potential difficulties altogether.
Banks will need ID for the attorneys, and many offer an online submission process which will require Office of the Public Guardian authorisation codes.
Raising awareness about this potential gap in professional guidance and empowering individuals to take this proactive step should ensure POAs truly fulfil their intended purpose of providing timely support and reducing stress, especially during unforeseen circumstances.
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