By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Power of Attorney Lawyer

Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series addressed the topic of when a bank can refuse to accept a Power of Attorney. The final part of this series will continue this discussion and dive further into the statutes in New Jersey.

Of course, the bank has every right to seek proof that the agent is, in fact, the person, he or she says that they are and can demand forms of identification.   If the bank rejects the Power of Attorney, the institution is supposed to notify the Agent, in writing, that it has rejected the Power of Attorney and the reasons for the rejection.  Good luck on that.  I have yet to see a bank send a rejection letter and the reasons for that rejection under any circumstances and the families that I represent.   Of course, this assumes that the bank has been given the name and the address of the agent seeking to use the Power of Attorney.

The Statute also talks about the use of photocopies of Powers.   A bank can accept a photocopy of the Power, if it is a certified true original, either by (1) another banking institution or (2) by having a copy of the recorded Power of Attorney in the County in which the original was located.  Here is where it gets really tricky, the use of photocopies.  While the law does not require a Power of Attorney to be recorded and I am not necessarily advocating for the recording of a Power of Attorney, there is some merit in recording it, in case an original is lost.  We have a practice in our office of making multiple originals in the event that more than one original is either misplaced or never returned to the Agent but I am aware of many practitioners that do not follow that process.   I am even aware of fewer attorneys recording Powers of Attorney except in connection with real estate transactions.

I hope that this series of posts have been informational.   In these times of fraud, misrepresentation, deceit, theft, elder financial abuse and exploitation, it is a constant battle between the good and the bad in order to have the Power of Attorney recognized for a lawful and honorable purpose.

To discuss your NJ Power of Attorney matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.