Monday, November 12, 2012

Royal Bank Canada (RBC); Refuses to acknowledge Powers of Attorney the least helpful bank in Canada?

This is my first post on a topic unrelated to condominiums.  This morning I came across a story on CBC relating to The Royal Bank (RBC) refuses to acknowledge Powers of Attorney granted to their children by their elderly parents.  The rationale used by RBC according to the story is that seniors need to be protected from abusive children.

I query how many children actually take advantage of elderly parents in this manner; I would think it is a small minority.  Though a noble concern what this type of banking policy will likely lead to is the elderly parent and the son or daughter setting up a joint account.  This will lead to less transparency and impact the fiduciary duty imposed upon an Attorney pursuant to the Power of Attorney.  Moreover, I would imagine that RBC will require the elderly person to attend at an RBC branch to set up the new joint account.  If RBC is really concerned they will retain the services of a capacity assessor to ensure that the elderly person has sufficient capacity to open a new account.  I do not think this will happen but I am concerned that RBC will presume capacity is lacking and refuse to open the account.

The RBC should be concerned that they are not building but alienating clients one at a time.  The RBC should seriously consider whether it is their role to question the validity of Powers of Attorney.  Perhaps this is a situation where it is prudent for the elderly to attend upon a lawyer to have drafted and have executed/signed their Power of Attorney?