You did the right thing. You made sure you had the 3 essentials: a will, a durable power of attorney, and a health proxy. You had them all notarized. That means you have taken care of your family, right? Not necessarily.
Many financial institutions--whether national, regional or local--require account holders to sign their company-specific power of attorney forms. Unfortunately, this news often comes after the asset holder becomes incapacitated, which is the exact thing putting a durable power of attorney in place is designed to insure against.
Since the financial exploitation of the elderly is an increasing problem, the banks' intentions are in the right place. They are there to protect your assets and not let others access them. At the same time, they're also concerned about their own liability.
While a lawyer can often convince an institution to accept the generic power of attorney, it often takes time and money--two things that were supposed to avoided in drawing up your POA in the first place.
Word to the wise: contact your financial institutions--every one where you have an account--and make sure you have the necessary paperwork in place, or better yet, contact your estate attorney to verify that they have this all in order. It's always best for a lawyer to review the bank's documentation for unfavorable terms or hidden clauses. It may even be worthwhile to get separate powers of attorney on institution paper even if they currently say yours in valid. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority--the organizaiton that oversees US securities firms--recently issued an investor alert on the subject, a sign that it's becoming an increasingly adopted standard.
Source: New York Times