In Elder Law News

You are right. As far as we’re concerned, these financial institutions are violating the law. However, it’s usually a lot cheaper to acquiesce then to fight them, which is why they get away with it. They’re just concerned about their own potential liability if someone misuses a durable power of attorney, not the cost they may impose on a family that must seek guardianship or conservatorship despite having done the appropriate estate planning. We always recommend that clients execute the financial institution’s forms as well as a general durable power of attorney. Revocable trusts also seem to work better. We’ve never seen a bank or financial institution object to the appointment of a co-trustee or successor trustee.

Harry S. Margolis practices elder law, estate, and special needs planning in Boston and Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the founder of and answers consumer questions about estate planning issues here and at

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