When it comes to helping you take on the affairs of your loved ones, banks need to get their acts together. Since, at the moment, they’re making it far too laborious to be someone’s power of attorney.
Three hundred and seventy five pounds. That’s how much it has cost the banks so far for the appalling way they’ve treated me over the last year, as I’ve tried to manage someone else’s affairs using a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
And that doesn’t include the cost (to the banks) of the three complaints I’ve so far had to make to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
While the money goes some way to compensate me for the stress and inconvenience of having to tackle bank staff who don’t know how to deal with an LPA, I would much rather they got their act together and dealt with me properly in the first place. And my experience isn’t isolated.
Attorneys made to jump barriers
Our research shows that even where financial institutions have procedures in place, the advice that staff give out about this is often confused and misleading.
Not only that, but all too often financial institutions put unnecessary restrictions on how an attorney can access an account. In my case, for example, one bank will only let me operate the account as an attorney online or over the phone – not both.
But the bank didn’t make this clear, so when I phoned to make a query, my access to the bank was frozen altogether. For weeks no-one was able to tell me why I couldn’t access the account, and it took an official complaint and several visits to several branches to get it resolved.
Why are attorneys treated unfairly?
With an aging population, more and more of us will be making someone else a Lasting Power of Attorney, so it’s imperative that there are systems and procedures in place that allow them to be used effectively.
Clearly, financial institutions have a responsibility to protect their customers, but there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be compatible with also treating their attorneys fairly.