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Glitch I had not noticed before
March 8, 2014
10:28 pm
Loonie
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On their Terms and Conditions page, we find the following:

"1.20 Accounts for the Benefit of Others – 'In Trust', Etc.
We are not required to recognize anyone other than you as having any interest in your Account, except joint Account holders when an Account is a joint Account. For example, if you request that we open an Account in your name, but you use "In Trust" or "As Nominee" or some similar designation, whether or not it is for a specified third party, we will only accept instructions for the Account from you. We are under no obligation to obtain permission from any other person on any of your Accounts."

The problem I envision is that a customer has a big medical problem etc and is no longer able to act for themselves, but it seems that there is no way that the person to whom they have given their power of attorney would ever be able to do anything. The money could be needed to pay for caregivers or rent or whatever, but it would just have to sit there, it seems, until they die. I don't like the sounds of this. Canadian Direct Financial, by contrast, does allow for Powers of Attorney.

One way around it is to set up a joint account, although that is legally a different arrangement, with pros and cons, depending on your situation.
However, for TFSAs, which are PT's biggest draw, the account can only be in one name, by law.
Does anyone see any way around this?

March 9, 2014
7:23 am
Rick
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The person holding the power of attorney should either have or know where to find the account numbers and passwords for the accounts. My dad had them written down in a safe place and made sure we knew where to find it. When he suddenly suffered a massive stroke, I was able to log in and take care of his household finances until he passed away a month later. I was even able to pay his funeral expenses from a joint account. If someone holds your POA, I would have to assume they would be trustworthy enough to have that information until it is actually needed. Since you are a legal representative by holding a POA, you should be able to transfer out the funds to a more accessible institution. Banks can be very difficult to deal with when someone dies. My dad was a loyal RBC customer all his life. When we officially informed them of his death, they immediately froze his accounts (except the joint account), and bounced his last three pension deposits. My mom (and us) were quite PO'd. *FUN FACT* Your estate is entitled to any pension benefits for the month that you die. Dad passed on the 1st of the month, and still had his last 3 pension entitlements deposited at the end of that month.

March 9, 2014
12:35 pm
Deb
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I ran into a similar banking problem with CIBC when my mother died. She had been dealing with CIBC all her life and was well known at her local branch. We showed the bank a copy of her will naming my brother and I as joint executors. They refused to let us open her safety deposit box, which we had a key for, to obtain her original will until after the will was probated. However probate couldn't go ahead without the original will! It was an absurd catch-22 which caused undue stress and aggravation at a difficult time. Eventually the lawyer had to write the bank an angry letter ordering them to release the will. He said that he sees this all the time with CIBC. Not sure if this is common practice with other banks, but it made me think twice about putting my will in a safety deposit box!

March 9, 2014
2:29 pm
AltaRed
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I would never put a will, or personal directives, or POA documents in a safety deposit box. The originals should either be kept with the lawyers and a copy at home, or vice versa (as advised by my own lawyers). Your POA should also have a key to your house.

March 9, 2014
2:55 pm
Loonie
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Section 1.3 says "Any password you have set up to access your Account(s) through PTC Online Banking must be kept confidential. You alone are responsible for the security of your password."

I suppose that could be interpreted to mean that you have included your POA, but CDF has a much clearer statement which includes recognition of POA, so PT still makes me nervous. It seems pretty clear that they don't WANT to deal with POAs and will not make it easy.

I know there are often problems with the BigBanks on these issues, but at least then you can go in there and argue with them face to face.

I think people should always keep enough money for funeral expenses in a joint account with someone they trust. I know of a situation where the executors were lawyers, the deceased had about a million dollars and this was well known, yet the executors went to the son and expected him to pay for the funeral as they (the lawyers) did not yet have access to the accounts and were not willing to front the money. Never mind that it is the job of executors to figure these things out without bothering people and that they were being paid about 400/hr to do so.
I think the freezing of accounts at death is the normal state of business until probate has been granted. I can understand why that may be necessary, as the bank would be liable if they gave the money to someone and then later the will was contested. It's a huge nuisance though, as it takes weeks to get it and expenses can pile up.

In my limited experience, the original will normally resides in the lawyer's vault, but I know some people do keep them in safety deposit boxes. Sounds like you had a nasty Catch-22, Deb.

Here's another possible glitch re: wills. I asked a lawyer recently what happens to the wills in their vault if the law firm shuts down. She said they may try to return them to the author, but it depends on how the business is shut down. In Ontario at least there is some central depository in London where they may end up. But here's the catch: that depository has no indexing facility or service, and wills can simply get lost in there! Because of privacy rules, they can't make public the names on the wills they have. So, make sure somebody knows which lawyer did your will and where it can be found. Keep in touch with the lawyer.

March 10, 2014
11:46 am
kanaka
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Hi everyone.

My mother was in a care home for her last few years. When she could no longer handle taking care of finances we took over. My wife was POA. We removed all of he files including her Will from her unsecured drawer in her night table at the care home. Thinking back how insecure was a that?? Quite for sure! So we did not have the Will problem.

After she passed I found that you don't really have to tell the bank "right away". Since I always had access to her account via the internet and her CU kept records for 6 or 7 years I downloaded various sorts etc of the last 7 years in both PDF and excel format which became very helpful in sorting out and proving money invested and borrowed had a clear status. It also allowed me to confirm her regular source and amounts of pensions, annuities etc. Since I was the executor. Now on to the CU they immediately collapsed her GIC's on my request and moved all funds to a trust fund with a new account number. At that point no more internet access and no more 7 years of records that I found so helpful.

I have our Wills, insurance policies, all banking applications, and all documents with beneficiaries all together in one secure place. And yes I also have everything I have a password for, also documented. As a seasoned executor, I recommend it!

March 10, 2014
1:42 pm
kanaka
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Re lawyer or notary closes shop. It is possible if the practice is sold the new owner may have your files. I have a friend who do the big no no to a will....removed the staples. He wanted to obtain the original but the notary had passed and he found his wife, His wife after a few years burned all of his records.

Best to keep will secure,

And put a sticky note on it that says do not remove staples, for those that have no idea of there importance to the integrity of the document...

March 10, 2014
3:04 pm
Loonie
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Good advice about the staples; would never have thought of that issue. It would be so easy to remove them inadvertently in order to produce a clean photocopy...sf-surprised

March 10, 2014
4:44 pm
kanaka
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Lol. When I did probate in New Westminster court house that is the first thing they scrutinize very very closely. And yes the natural thing to do is remove staple, copy and re staple. And for 20 bucks you can get a copy, notarized and they do all the flipping and folding.

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