Can A Bank Refuse to Accept a Power of Attorney?

The bank should generally not refuse to accept a power of attorney if it is valid on its’ face but see information below.

The organization the agent is dealing with may decline to accept the power of attorney. Many banks and savings associations often have their own form of power of attorney for accounts at the institution. It is very common that a bank will insist their own forms be used and will refuse to accept any other power of attorney. New York has passed a law prohibiting a bank from insisting on the use of their own forms (see below link in case the bank is located in NY).

Many banks will not accept a power of attorney if the power of attorney is too old, or “stale.” A power of attorney that is more than six months old may not be acceptable. While state law relieves any person or organization receiving a power of attorney from any liability in connection with the power of attorney, it still is not always accepted by everyone, despite the fact it is legal and valid.

Under some circumstances, if the third party’s refusal to honor the POA causes damage, the third party may be liable for those damages and even attorney’s fees and court costs. Even mere delay may cause damage and this too may subject the third party to a lawsuit for damages.

It is reasonable, however, for a third party to have the time to consult with legal counsel about the Power of Attorney. Banks will often have their legal department review it for approval. Depending on the time period involved, delay may become unreasonable. Upon refusal or an unreasonable delay, legal action may be required.

Third parties seek to limit their liability if there is a future problem. Some third parties refuse to honor POAs because they believe they are protecting the principal from possible unscrupulous conduct. Refusal is more common with older (“stale”) POAs.


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All content is for informational purposes only. It is also only intended to relate to Mississippi Estate Planning Law.  If other states are mentioned, they are mentioned as an example only. No legal advice is provided in this content. Laws change so you need to check for any updates by current laws in Mississippi.