Opening bank account with power of attorney

This is the first time I have posted anything, so please forgive me if my etiquette is wrong

My husband has enduring power of attorney for his 89 year old mother who has recently gone into residential care. Her house has to be sold and we need to find a place for her money.

Basically, she is a non-person. She has never had a bank account (only the post office thing that her pension is compulsorily paid into). She has no driving licence and her passport expired many years ago. The utility bills for her home were in the name of her husband and paid in cash until about a year ago when we started paying them from our current account (do it online and they don't care where the money comes from as long as it gets paid; try to change it on the phone and they will not entertain you until you have sent the original power of attorney, copies of old bills, copies of YOUR bills and 3 pints of blood).

I have been trying to find savings accounts that will take my mother-in-law's money in her name to be administered by my husband by the power of attorney. As Lloyds customers, we went first to them but they insist that she has to go to the branch in person. She can barely manage to move around her room - a trip to the bank would probably kill her. They will not even allow her name to be added on to my husband's existing account without seeing her in person in the branch. I rang the LLoydsTSB helpline and they (including a team leader) said there should be no problem as long as it was an enduring power of attorney. The helpline lady even rang the branch herself and got the same answer as I did - not a chance without seeing the little, frail, feeble, old woman in the flesh and in the bank.

There is something wrong here. What use is the power of attorney? Do any of the high street banks honour it? Sainsbury's Bank seems to be OK, but the sale of the house will lead to more than the safe limit for one institution plus it would be nice to be able to actually walk into a branch.

Can anyone offer any advice?


  • jonesMUFCforever
    jonesMUFCforever Posts: 28,898
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Any bank will honour a Power of Attorney but they also have rules and regulations to adhere too such as money laundering.
    Who is your main bank? Will they help you - will a bank official arrange a home visit to open the account?
    Have you considered opening the account online and then sending the identification by post?
  • Biggles
    Biggles Posts: 8,209
    Combo Breaker First Post
    No, all the main banks accept PoA, LTSB certainly do. The PoA is a very powerful document.

    If this is an Enduring PoA (signed before 1 Oct 07), LTSB do accept it, and have inbuilt procedures for it (as the helpline told you). Once the PoA is registered with them (using their own forms!!), you are able to commence operating the account. The weakness is that local bank staff frequently don't understand how it works and, as time passes, the 'old-style' PoA becomes even less understood.

    You will need, I'm afraid, to return to the bank, armed with your own knowledge, and insist that they operate their own procedures. This is 'normal' for Attorneys, as most of us possess more knowledge of the process than any local bank staff. If they are still in doubt, make them ring their own Head Office and learn from the '(black) horse's mouth'. As you say, the whole point is that the 'Donor' doesn't need to visit the bank themselves, once they have signed this document.

    As Jones says, there will be more onerous ID procedures where it is a completely new account but LTSB, as your own bankers, should be able to help.

    BTW Never let anyone keep your PoA, as you could never get it replaced if it went missing. Either let the bank take a copy on the premises or get your solicitor to sign a certified copy.

    Oh, and your etiquette is fine!
  • dzug1
    dzug1 Posts: 13,535
    First Post Combo Breaker
    ID requirements for your MiL should not be that onerous. A statement from her PO account, the most recent letter from the DWP concerning her pension and a letter from the nursing home manager confirming residence SHOULD be adequate.

    For your husband just the normal ID for opening a new account, plus the PoA. Do NOT post the original of the latter anywhere, as Biggles warns. They will either lose it or regard it as theirs to keep.

    Don't try and merge your/your family finances with hers - keep them separate. There's the potential for legal awkwardness if you don't.

    Your main problem is finding a competent bank - and I suspect that depends very much on the local branch rather than the bank itself. You need to get past the girl on the desk to someone who either actually knows what they are doing or is prepared to admit they don't and seek advice.
  • barak
    barak Posts: 1,258
    Combo Breaker First Post First Anniversary
    .....My husband has enduring power of attorney for his 89 year old mother.....

    .....I have been trying to find savings accounts that will take my mother-in-law's money in her name to be administered by my husband by the power of attorney. As Lloyds customers, we went first to them but they insist that she has to go to the branch in person.
    bewildered96 - Try Halifax. About 18 months ago I opened a savings account with them for my sister for whom I have an Enduring Power of Attorney. I needed the usual kind of proof of her existence and permanent address, and had to make an appointment in the branch to see the right person. I operated the account.

    My sister certainly didn't attend the branch - she lives in Vancouver :)
    ".....where it is corrupt, purge it....."
  • le_loup
    le_loup Posts: 4,047 Forumite
    HSBC, even in small branches have a good understanding of PoAs.
    They also own THE specialist company that deals with immediate care cover for people in care homes.
  • Many thanks to all of you who have replied.

    I am very glad to find that the problem is due to lack of experience/training/competence on behalf of the bank staff. Armed with this knowledge, we will tackle the local branch again and refuse to leave until they find someone who does know how this works.

    Thank you!
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