“Sweeping changes have been made to Connecticut's power-of-attorney law, including making it harder for banks to upend the wishes of people who do estate planning by rejecting power-of-attorney forms.”
Reforms to the law came into effect on October 1. This is the first time the law has been updated for many decades, reports The Connecticut Law Tribune in “Changes Go into Effect for State Power-of-Attorney Laws.”
The Connecticut probate court administrator notes that it’s common for banks to frustrate the purpose of estate planning by rejecting power-of-attorney forms (POAs) when a senior or a disabled individual doesn’t have the competency to execute a form that would meet the bank's standards.
The reason for a durable power of attorney is to plan ahead, but if a bank won't accept the power of attorney, the purpose of the document goes awry. The new law makes certain this won’t happen due to the whim of a bank teller.
With the law change in Connecticut, family members can now go to probate court to enforce POAs and be awarded attorney fees and costs if a bank isn’t following the law. These judges have been granted new authority to compel financial institutions to accept POAs. In contrast, bank employees can also petition the court to review the actions of a person who has a POA if they are concerned that the person who granted the POA is being exploited.
Connecticut now joins 20 other states that have enacted a model law, so it should be easier for elderly people who relocate to be closer to their caregivers and family in other states to have their POAs recognized.
The new law also expands the authority of state’s probate courts to handle those abusing the POA they’ve been granted. Because of abuses by those trusted to act on behalf of the person who granted the POA, the category of people who can raise concerns about POA abuses has been expanded. Now a caregiver or a person who "demonstrates sufficient interest in the principal's welfare" can petition the court to review the actions of a POA agent. Those who abuse the POAs they’ve been granted also now can be ordered to reimburse for financial losses.
Reference: The Connecticut Law Tribune (October 7, 2016) “Changes Go into Effect for State Power-of-Attorney Laws”