Banks and other financial institutions are known to refuse to accept powers of attorney for no good reason, such as saying that the power of attorney is too old and a newer one would be needed. Sometimes it is difficult even to talk with anyone at the bank or financial institution to explain why the Power of Attorney is not honored.
You should know that there is no North Carolina law that makes a Durable Power of Attorney invalid simply because it was signed many years ago.
There is a little used North Carolina law that evens the playing field if this happens to you. The North Carolina General Statutes impose a penalty for an unreasonable refusal by a person or company that refuses to recognize a power of attorney. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 32A-41, the person or institution that unreasonably refuses to accept a power of attorney may be subject to liability for attorney fees and costs for any action, and a court order to require acceptance.
In your situation you should have your lawyer write a letter to the bank’s legal department, and require the bank to pay for your attorney fees incurred. If you do not get a good answer, you may have to choose between starting a guardianship for your mother, or bringing a lawsuit to enforce the current power of attorney.
Of course, if your mother’s Power of Attorney is not written in a way that you can do Medicaid planning, the bank may have grounds for its position if you’re doing anything other than simply paying your mother’s bills. Again, you should contact an experienced elder law attorney for assistance.