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Hubert - Power of Attorney not accepted
April 8, 2017
9:43 am
Cranston
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They said same to me. They will handle POA but only with a letter of being incapable which half defeats the purpose of having POA. I now sit in the fence in regards to moving RRSP money there.

April 8, 2017
10:40 am
christinad
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They mentioned to me it shouldn't just be for convenience so I guess they are concerned about people who aren't doing it for health reasons.

April 8, 2017
10:49 am
Cranston
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True and I can live with that but I can see that others may want to use the "convenience POA" for various legitimate reasons.

April 8, 2017
11:41 am
Loonie
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Cranston said
True and I can live with that but I can see that others may want to use the "convenience POA" for various legitimate reasons.  

What have they got against convenience? Weird.

April 8, 2017
12:43 pm
Cranston
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Yes I agree. A business man travelling and his POA wife cannot pass on what to do with a matured GIC? And am sure there are a lot more legit examples but I can see why Hubert does not want to make a list of legit and unlegit reasons.

April 8, 2017
12:46 pm
Cranston
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But in the other hand the POA is a trusted person that was assigned to handle financial affairs. And any issues created are between the POA and the one that assigned the POA.

April 8, 2017
9:33 pm
Loonie
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Next time they send around a member survey, this issue should be raised.

April 8, 2017
11:08 pm
Norman1
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Cranston said
But in the other hand the POA is a trusted person that was assigned to handle financial affairs. And any issues created are between the POA and the one that assigned the POA.  

Not necessarily. If money was lost or misappropriated and the donor, who authorized the POA, is not able to recover the money from the appointed attorney, there will be an attempt to recover from the financial institution.

October 26, 2017
1:08 am
Loonie
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I think the reason they don't want to honour "convenience" is because it's not convenient for THEM. For "convenience", they want you to open a joint account.
I have had accounts there for a few years. Recently, spouse also opened an account. It took them no time at all to suggest to spouse that we should have a joint account! While I can see why they would make this suggestion, I don't really think it's their business to do so. POA and joint account are very different things with different responsibilities.

October 26, 2017
7:32 pm
Norman1
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Right now, it isn't convenient/easy to verify the authenticity or validity of a POA document.

There isn't special POA paper that

  1. turns black until any conditions on the POA are all met,
  2. turns red should the donor execute the POA while not having the mental capacity to do so,
  3. turns yellow while the POA is temporarily suspended by the Public Guardian and Trustee of Manitoba, and
  4. turns to fine dust when the donor subsequently revokes the POA or dies.

As a result, it is up to each individual whether or not to take the risk of acting on instructions from someone who is supposedly appointed attorney by a POA document that hasn't been confirmed by a court.

October 27, 2017
1:39 am
Loonie
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While it's true there is no colour coding, POAs have been accepted and functioning in FIs all over the country as long as I can remember and no doubt longer. So, there has to be a way to do this.

Particularly in a member-driven FI, I would argue that the FI has a responsibility to figure out how to serve at least the member who becomes incapacitated - never mind the one who likes convenience and is perfectly capable of revoking their POA and informing the CU of this decision. Becoming incapacitated is something we all are vulnerable to, at any age, and indeed that is the reason we go to the trouble of signing POAs.
To allow the member to languish in a hospital or nursing home, bills unpaid because nobody could pay them, facing possible eviction from their home for unpaid bills and high penalties, is irresponsible and ridiculous. The best thing we can do to avoid this situation is not necessarily to have joint accounts, which introduce a certain level of risk TO US with which we may not be comfortable, but to go to a lawyer, get a POA signed and properly witnessed, and present a notarized copy to the FI. We have then done everything we can do, and the FI ought to accept it.
Yes, there is some minor risk to the FI that we might have subsequently changed our minds, but FIs all take on risks regularly. Risk is part of the business, and a small percentage of losses are anticipated, yet this does not prevent them from offering loans. There are also ways they can mitigate this risk. They could monitor POA accounts for unusual withdrawals, check with the member periodically to see if their plans or circumstances have changed, etc.

In the end, there is nothing that can prevent fraud from ever happening. I know of a case that is being investigated right now where money has been fraudulently removed by a person with a legitimate POA from the account of a person with cognitive impairment who is in a nursing home. Right now, the bank's fraud dept is looking into it, the family lawyer is involved, and the alternate POA is trying to figure out how much has been taken and over what period of time. This is happening at one of the Big Five.
It's time all of these FIs faced reality rather than trying to ignore the legitimate needs of their customers/members. Perhaps we need a registry to keep track of who holds legitimate POA. This is something that FIs, lawyers, seniors advocates and governments ought to be able to cooperate on. At the moment, I don't see that any of them are trying to fix the problem.

October 27, 2017
8:18 pm
Norman1
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Loonie said
While it's true there is no colour coding, POAs have been accepted and functioning in FIs all over the country as long as I can remember and no doubt longer. So, there has to be a way to do this.

I don't think there is, without going to court.

Instead, I think some FI's have put in place processes and staff to investigate and assess POA documents. If the POA document is highly likely to be authentic and be still valid, then it is accepted.

Their computer systems many even enforce common POA restrictions, saving them the need to have staff review each POA transaction.

All that costs the FI and is baked into higher fees and/or lower rates on deposits.

Particularly in a member-driven FI, I would argue that the FI has a responsibility to figure out how to serve at least the member who becomes incapacitated - never mind the one who likes convenience and is perfectly capable of revoking their POA and informing the CU of this decision. Becoming incapacitated is something we all are vulnerable to, at any age, and indeed that is the reason we go to the trouble of signing POAs.
To allow the member to languish in a hospital or nursing home, bills unpaid because nobody could pay them, facing possible eviction from their home for unpaid bills and high penalties, is irresponsible and ridiculous. …

A POA may not be needed in such cases. The banks, at least, seems to have given such situations some thought. This is from Canadian Bankers Association article Powers of attorney: bank requirements:

Banks generally allow payment of bills related to your personal living expenses (e.g. nursing home bills, rent, utilities) from your assets held with the bank even where it has questions related to a POA, your Attorney’s instructions or your capacity. Your bank will try to take appropriate steps to reduce inconvenience while any issues are resolved.

If someone brings your bills to the bank to be paid, banks may consider allowing payment even without a POA – usually after trying to speak with you.

Loonie said
…, but to go to a lawyer, get a POA signed and properly witnessed, and present a notarized copy to the FI. We have then done everything we can do, and the FI ought to accept it. …

That is an easy case. FI can look up the lawyer, who witnessed the POA, in a provincial bar directory. Lawyer can then be contacted to confirm.

Lawyers are trained to check for mental capacity. So, the lawyer could vouch for donor's state of mind when the POA was signed.

Donor can be contacted to see if the POA has been revoked.

It is not always that easy. I don't think Ontario law requires POA documents to be witnessed by a lawyer. Technically, any two witnesses, with a few exceptions, will do in Ontario!

That makes it easy to do an Ontario POA document. But, not so easy to authenticate, especially when the witnesses are not known to the FI.

October 27, 2017
10:41 pm
Loonie
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It ought to be an easy case if one goes to a lawyer to have one's POA drawn up. As I said, we have then done everything we can do. However, the problem at issue is FIs that are refusing to accept ANY POA.

October 28, 2017
7:13 am
Norman1
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Could be a product pricing issue for the online-only FI. The cost of POA handling is another service/feature that's not included with the higher deposit rates paid and the lack of fees.

Another possibility could be requirements of their insurance. Maybe their errors and losses insurance won't cover any losses from POA handling if there is no face-to-face meeting with the donor and the appointed attorney.

I've read about donors trying to disavow their POA document or the attorney's actions to avoid losses when something goes wrong. Much harder to disavow the POA document if one had delivered it in person to the FI.

I read that one victim of fraudster Earl Jones tried to disavow actions Jones had done under her POA to avoid her losses. The May 2012 Quebec Superior Court case is McMaster c. Industrial Alliance. Earl Jones had used her POA to obtain a $367,250 mortgage on her home. The mortgage was obtained and the proceeds were "invested" by Jones. Victim tried to have that mortgage annulled.

October 28, 2017
8:34 am
AltaRed
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When one grants a POA, especially an Enduring POA, they are supposed to pick and choose carefully because that POA, depending on wording, grants the Attorney authority to do all legal and financial things that the grantor can do. The grantor knows that but often makes poor choices for an Attorney or is using it as a scapecoat for a rogue Attorney.

The other thing is that POA wording can restrict the Attorney's ability to do only certain things. The above Earl Jones situation could have been avoided by restricting Earl's authority to investment grade investments on recognized exchanges and prohibit taking on debt on the grantor's behalf.

A POA done by a practicing lawyer and properly witnessed should be acceptable by any institution, within the boundary conditions allowed with POA wording.

Lastly, I mentioned in the EQ thread that all? most? big banks have processes that permit Attorneys (of POAs) to access accounts without going to bricks and mortar branches. They can provide the Attorney, once the Attorney's credentials have been established to their satisfaction, with their own online access credentials to the accounts such that the FI knows when the Attorney specifically is accessing the accounts. That way, bank algorithms can also monitor 'banking behaviour' too.

It does take time to establish one's Attorney credentials. Proper paperwork, maybe a call to the lawyer's office, etc. That said, I can understand there is a weak link in 'online institutions only' because a physical presence is not possible to establish that 'connection'.

Added: UIltimately, the easiest solution to all this is to avoid FIs that don't have processes in place to accept POAs easily. Getting an extra 15 or 25bp would not be worth it to me....to know that my Attorney would have loads of grief if I was to get hit by a bus tomorrow.

November 7, 2017
3:07 pm
Loonie
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I received a customer satisfaction survey from Hubert today. No doubt some of you did also.
I suggest raising this issue with them in this way. The more of us who do it, the more likely they will put something in place.
Right now, I am considering withdrawing from Hubert even though I likeit for a number of reasons and would prefer to stay. The critical reason for quitting will be this one.
Perhaps it will cost them a little bit of money to set something up, but it would be a better investment than the money they put into setting up credit cards!

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