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Common sense needs to make a comeback when it comes to powers of attorney

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Banks can refuse to accept powers of attorney for a number of reasons: the document may be too old, lack clarity, or fail to conform to a bank's internal policies.Illustration by Chloe Cushman/National Post files

Financial institutions are right to be concerned about fraud, especially when a power of attorney is involved.

That is because a power of attorney is a tremendously powerful document that gives another person authority to act on one’s behalf. The grantee of the power of attorney gains the almost complete ability to manage the grantor’s financial affairs, and so banks need to be vigilant about ensuring that person is indeed authorized and fit to carry out such a responsibility in the interests of the individual.

Banks can refuse to accept powers of attorney for a number of reasons: the document may be too old, lack clarity, or fail to conform to a bank’s internal policies.

But in a few recent incidents I have come across, it appears as though common sense has taken a backseat to unnecessary caution.

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