Banks Make Registering Powers of Attorney a Nightmare

Piggy Bank drowning in debt

In May 2018, a Which? poll of 2,900 people showed that one in five people found registering their Power of Attorney with a bank difficult. This made for a stark contrast with private pension providers and the Department for Work and Pensions, where only one in ten people had similar problems.

It was found that customers were often given conflicting or faulty information over the phone by bank staff. This included telling potential attorneys that they would have to register Powers of Attorney in person. Some banks also said that attorneys were not allowed access to the donors’ accounts, even though they had the right to this.

These mistakes could cause attorneys huge financial problems. Powers of Attorney are often applied for by people that need to support someone who does not have the capacity to make their own decisions. If the bank slows down the process, it could cost a person dearly in back payments to a care home, for example. Some people have even had to wait months for banks to accept new attorneys.

Many of the banks that scored poorly with customers are household names. The way they have dealt with complaints has not appeared to have solved the issues, and any changes they make to their procedures could take months or years to have effect.

And, this isn’t just a recent development. In 2015, the Financial Ombudsman Service found similar results. Caroline Wayman, Chief Ombudsman at the time, stated, “…the majority of the complaints we see could have been prevented had the bank staff understood more about how Power of Attorney works and the rights they give people.”

Do you need help applying for a Power of Attorney?

We can help you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Choose someone you trust to be your attorney and when you want them to start making decisions for you. You can also choose several people, a professional, or both. Severn Estate Planning can even register your LPA for you with the Office of the Public Guardian, so the process is simple and stress-free.

Some people might not create an LPA because they are worried about the hassle. But, if you lose legal control and you haven’t prepared, there are a number of possible consequences. These include:

  • Joint bank accounts could be restricted
  • Friends and family may have to go to court to get the authority to act on your behalf
  • The courts may appoint someone to manage your finances
  • Doctors could over-rule medical decisions you or your loved ones made previously

Interested in learning more? Find out about our Lasting Power of Attorney service here. Contact Severn Estate Planning and we can help you set up your LPA. Call us today on 01743 387990. Or, email us at enquiries@severnestate.co.uk for a chat with one of our experienced advisors.