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Reply with quote  #1 
I have had durable POA for Mom, since 2004, but I have not really had to use it much, except to pay her bills while she was in the hospitals and rehabs. She has been back in her home for 4 years now and has been handling (sort of) her own financial stuff, meaning she has been paying her own bills.
Due to her recent visit up here with me, and seeing how much more confused and befuddled she is getting, I have decided I need to get some info from her bank, regarding all checking and savings and her IRA, their balances, to see what 'true' financial situation she is in, in case I need to move her up here permanently within a year or so.
So my question is -- do I just send a letter to her bank, as POA, requesting this information? Or do I have to go there in person? (her bank is in her hometown, 4 hours from me). Mom has a checking account, a savings account, a CD (I think), and an IRA there (not real huge, but a good amount). I do not have all the account #'s handy. So I was thinking of just requesting that the bank send me a sheet that lists her account #'s and balances.
Is this the way to go about it ? Anyone know ?
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Beth. Calling the bank will let you know their policies, or even find them online and send a quick email this morning. I have faxed a copy of the power of attorney on several occasions to get things done, even as recently as a couple of weeks ago to finally cancel her homeowners insurance which I forgot to do with all of the other stuff I had to do.   Even last month when her old mortgage found an overage and needed to send a small refund back. I keep a copy of the POA with a paper clip instead of a staple so I can fax it quickly and not worry about it. Don't ever try to fax something without first looking for the staple!

I feel for you getting ready to go through all of that stuff. Hoping that everything is in order and will be easy for you to do.

Reply with quote  #3 
beth, Hello.

I didn't have to use my POA; but I agree with Barcelona...find-out THE policy of THE bank ahead of time.  Each bank, etc. is it's own "animal".  And don't be surprised if nothing "they" come-up with makes any sense to you, likely won't.

Just another "tip" ahead of time... give 'them' just  the info/filled-out forms, they are demanded, when and only if.  If you anticipate what "they" will just confuses the h*ll out'a 'them'.

I don't wish to worry you; only prepare you.  Information is power.  If I had understood, going in,  how "they" are...I would still have some of my hair left.

Please know always that I wish you the best.  People "do this" all the time and always get-through all the paper-work.  They do.

Beautiful day
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Beth,

I'm sorry you're having to get more involved but you have a level head and know your limits....unlike me...!

When I dealt with the banks, investment people and so forth they wanted me to hand them the certified copy of the POA, they made copies and gave me the original back.

Barcelona is right, you can find out by calling to see what their procedure is and go from there.  If your POA has already been filed with the courts you should be covered.

My mother has still never said a word about removing me....I'm just glad she did!  

Have a great day.....BD

Reply with quote  #5 
Beth, I usually just fax the POA with a cover letter covering what information I am needing from the bank, social security office, investment firms and then they talk to me freely and openly.  My DM's bank is just about 5 minutes from my work, so I can go there when needed.  I use the POA to find better interest rates on DM's CD's, make deposits to her accounts, pay her bills, handle medical paperwork, file on her long term care insurance and so on.

Reply with quote  #6 

beth, I would call or email the bank and ask what their policy is. I'm sure every bank is different. I'm guessing they won't give out info over the phone - too easy for scammers. But who knows.

Reply with quote  #7 
Hi Beth,

Great advice here.  I just wanted to add that what you would want to have checking signing privileges in the event that she cannot or will not sign.  In my case, I had to go to the bank with my mother and we both signed the paperwork.  Your case may be different.  Being POA did not automatically guarantee that privilege.  Right now, the checks also have both my name and hers on the checks.  That helps to avoid any confusion, but that is not necessary. 

Also, right now, since her bank is not even in CA, I can access her account online and, I guess, could even pay bills that way. 

If I remember correctly, I sure hope you can get some of her bills on automatic monthly deduct.  All my mother's monthly bills on on that.  It really helps.
Reply with quote  #8 
Hi All,
thanks for the input. You are right, I should definitely call the bank first before I start sending off letters and documents!!
gracenotes, I do have check signing privileges on mom's accounts, and Mom and I did go to her bank in 2004 and sign all of THEIR OWN POA forms that they have so that I can do whatever with the accounts. So I am officially POA there on her stuff, that is not an issue. It is just that I have not requested this type of information before, so I was not sure if it required me going into the bank in person, or just sending a letter.
It kinda gives me an icky feeling, like I am "prying" into my mom's business but I guess as POA, I need to get over that feeling.
I will call them first though. Always a good idea.
I am sort of phone-o-phobic, can you tell ?! lol. I hate phones. I like email and letters much better!! But I will force myself. 
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Beth,

Oh yes, I totally understand that icky feeling you are talking about.  I almost felt like I was doing something wrong.  It just felt so yucky at first prying, as you say, but, you have to do it, and, as time goes on, you get more bold.  Its just another step in the process of being a parent to your parent. 

This morning, I have to call about an annuity my mother has and make some big decisions.  I am having my coffee and boning up on this.  I do not think I could have done this with any comfort even a year ago. 

If you have checking signing privileges, and the big meeting, I bet it will be a no brainer to access this info.  Hopefully, this falls in the area of 90% of the things we worry about never happen. 
Reply with quote  #10 
Hi Beth,

Everyone is correct - best thing to do is call the bank first.  And you very likely do need separate check-signing privileges which are not necessarily automatic with the poa.

Two other things to make sure of:

First, many banks insist on an original cc of the poa (yes, an oxymoron, but there it is).  Since you might be doing this all long distance, I would not send them the original - but you can get your mother's attorney to send a letter stating that the poa is a true one. Keep cc's of this letter for any other financial issues with other businesses - could come in handy.  Of course, if you're there in person, you can present them with the original which they will photocopy.

Second, you will probably need an affidavit (notarized) that the poa is in full force.  And a suggestion:  keep cc's of the affidavit - you will likely need them in the future.
You can probably find a sample of a simple affidavit online or even ask the bank to send you one. This is the one I've used successfully - feel free to copy/paste.


(Sign before a notary public)



STATE OF                                          COUNTY OF                                                 ss:


                                                            Being duly sworn, deposes and says:



  1. The Principal within did, in writing, appoint me as the Principal’s true and lawful ATTORNEY(S)-IN-FACT in the within Power of Attorney.
  2. I have no actual knowledge or actual notice of revocation or termination of the Power of Attorney by death or otherwise, or knowledge of any facts indicating the same.  I further represent that the Principal is alive, has not revoked or repudiated the Power of Attorney and the Power of Attorney still is in full force and effect.
  3. I make this affidavit for the purpose of inducing


to accept delivery of the following Instrument(s), as executed by me in my capacity as the ATTORNEY(S)-IN-FACT, with full knowledge that this affidavit will be relied upon in accepting the execution and delivery of the Instrument(s) and in paying good and valuable consideration therefore.

I wish you the best - if you need any other help please let us know.


Reply with quote  #11 
Forgot something.  If you're going to make a trip to your mother's to do all this stuff, you might as well get  signed, notarized extra special, super duper poas to allow you to file her state and federal taxes.  You'll probably need these eventually, so you might as well get it done at the same time.  The lawyer would likely have blanks, or perhaps you can contact the IRS and the state tax people for blanks.  Maybe you can even download them.  Of course, anytime you need to speak with them, they'll swear up and down that they don't have them on file, so keep (lots and lots) of cc's.


Reply with quote  #12 
Thanks, Sue for taking the time to post all that info, I really appreciate it.
You are right, I should do all the IRS/tax stuff now, and get that all set up, while mom is still slightly "with it".
To clarify, I do have check-signing priviledges at her bank, and full access to her accounts. The bank has an official copy of the POA, and mom and I signed all of their own POA forms and cards as well, back in 2004. So that is not the issue. I was just wondering about the actual mechanics of requesting the info, since I have never done it until now.
I do receive a copy of mom's checking account statement every month. It costs an extra $5 a month for them to send it to me. But I decided I should start watching it more closely, in case she starts falling for those phone scams. She answers her phone then hangs up if she doesn't know who it is, but who knows for how long? now that her mind is getting iffy she might start getting confused and writing checks!
The bank had me write a small note making the request for a copy of her checking statement to be mailed to me (I was there in person when I requested it) and that is all they required. They looked up the fact that I was POA, on her account, first.
So no biggie -- but the IRS thing.... blah !! I have been putting that off, and I know that is not a good thing. Especially if we have to sell her house one day.
Reply with quote  #13 
Beautiful Day - I hear ya. The day my mom gets mad at me (and I am sure it is coming) and says "You are no longer my POA!!" will be the day I spray champagne and dance in the streets.
(like they think this is some Great Honor - or something???)
Reply with quote  #14 
gracenotes... good luck...
my mom's IRA guy needed some form FAXed back to him pronto (that my mom lost apparently) and it was all about contributing some big chunk of her IRA to an annuity ... ugh .... and I was thinking .... why in the world is he having Mom contribute to an annuity at her age ?? But what do  I know in the big wide world of Finance - nuthin. That's what.
So one day... I'll have to call and ask him about it. That is... if I care... and if it interests me ... and if I think it will even matter in the long run....
so basically, I guess I don't have to call him!

Reply with quote  #15 
I was fortunate in that my parents had banked at the same place in their mid-sized town forever and the bank manager knows me from way back, so hassles in accessing information have been few. Just wanted to tell you that I have found getting on-line access to all Mom's financial activity has been very helpful. Waiting for paper statements to arrive in the mail isn't always timely enough to head off trouble. If your mom's bank(s) get you set up with on-line access, you can pop in and check on activity quickly, more easily and more frequently -- and in time to prevent some disasters in my experience. A big help. Good luck!
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