“Thought for the Day” #675 – by Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M.

February 29, 2016

Is your safe deposit box accessible?  Could the inability of your attorney-in-fact (your agent) to access your safe deposit box cause issues?  Consider this hypothetical example – a single elderly adult has only one signed original copy of her power of attorney, and she locks that original in her safe deposit box where no one, not even her children, are authorized to access the box.  In addition, because of the person’s eventual illness and poor judgment, she will not authorize access to the box.  The result – by locking away her legal document and not allowing access at a time of crisis (in combination with other factors), this person in essence relegates herself to the status of someone who does not have a power of attorney document, leading to a guardianship proceeding and the expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars.  As mentioned in last week’s blog, where appropriate, your enhanced power of attorney document can authorize your attorney-in-fact to access your safe deposit box upon your incapacity.