A power of attorney is one of the most commonly used legal documents in large part because almost everyone has need for one at some point. Not only is it likely that you will create power of attorney, or POA, at some point in your life but you may also be named as an Agent in someone else’s POA at some time. As an Agent you may have a number of questions that relate to exercising your powers under the POA. The most important question may be “Must a third party honor a power of attorney in Missouri? ”
As a general rule, a third party is required to honor your power as an Agent.
Missouri Revised Statute 404.710.9 addresses how the law in the State of Missouri views the power of an Agent under a POA, stating in pertinent part as follows:
“It is the policy of this state that an attorney in fact acting pursuant to the provisions of a power of attorney granting general powers shall be accorded the same rights and privileges with respect to the personal welfare, property and business interests of the principal, and if the power of attorney enumerates some express subjects or purposes, with respect to those subjects or purposes, as if the principal himself or herself were personally present and acting or seeking to act; and any provision of law and any purported waiver, consent or agreement executed or granted by the principal to the contrary shall be void and unenforceable.”
A third party may hesitate to honor your authority for any number of reasons. One common reasons is that the third party claims the POA is “stale” or expired. A POA does not expire though, unless there is a specific termination date in the document, nor does it become stale. Claiming that a POA was executed too long ago, therefore, is not a valid legal reason to refuse to honor it.
Another common reason is that the third party (usually banks) want the POA on their form. Legally, they are required to accept any form; however, when executing another one can be easily accomplished it is sometimes quicker to just do so.
Finally, a third party may question the authenticity of the POA. A third party may take a reasonable amount of time to authenticate the document and verify its validity but must then honor your position as the Agent.
If you have additional questions or concerns about a power of attorney or your duties as an Agent under one, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.