A statutory power of attorney is one of the most important legal documents a person can execute during their lifetimes. Very few lawyers would dispute that point. That being said, the fact of the matter is that there are many circumstances where the New York Statutory Power of Attorney may not be easily effective. For example, banks are interstate and sometimes worldwide operations (JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, HSBC, TD Bank, PNC Bank, etc. etc.). While all businesses operating in New York are required to accept the New York Power of Attorney, how is the bank manager supposed to know if the New York Statutory Power of Attorney presented by the agent is filled out correctly, signed and notarized properly and conforms to New York law? There’s no way that can happen. The bank manager is taking an enormous risk by accepting a Power of Attorney he or she can’t be sure is valid before allowing the Agent to transact business on behalf of the Principal.
The JP Morgan Chase branches will fax a copy of the Power of Attorney to their legal department, and usually within 20 minutes or so, legal will call the manager back with an answer. At HSBC, this same process can take many, many weeks. Citibank: very, very difficult and bordering on impossible at times. I’ve been in the branch when the Citibank manager has demanded the principal show up at the branch. This hardly makes any sense when the power of attorney is most often needed when the principle is incapacitated. The point here: the Principal should complete the bank’s own Power of Attorney the next time they go to the branch. And, if the bank isn’t cooperative, then find another bank.