Power of Attorney, two agents, state says no?

My step mother is in declining health.  We found her paperwork and she lists my step sister and me both as power of attorney, both able to act independently.  This is clearly stated, and it is a very detailed legal document written up by an attorney, she did not try to write it herself even though she was a retired attorney.  She was thorough when she had this done.

I contacted a financial institution that is in charge of a state benefit she has.  They forwarded the POA to NJ Division of Pensions, who state that they can only accept a POA that has one agent listed, and we need to redo the POA.  Except that at this point she is no longer able to do this, hence us trying to put the POA into effect.

I’m going to try to call NJ tomorrow, but I doubt I’ll get a different answer, and have no idea of how to proceed.  Has anyone encountered anything like this before?


If you and your step sister are in sync, maybe one of you can waive your power, at least as to the pension thing, so they know they are only dealing with one authority.  Or conversely, you both act together so they don't have any concern about a conflict between the two of you.


The email sent to me said “we can only accept a Power of Attorney with one listed agent.” And then he went on to ask us to submit a new POA document with only one agent listed


Stupid question:  Have you or your step sister contacted the NJ Division of Pensions and asked how this problem has been resolved in the past?  This can't be the first time such an issue has arisen.   Hard as this might be to imagine, the Division of Pensions really wants your step mother to receive the full benefits to which she is entitled. They should be able to work with you to find a solution.  The problem, which may seem insurmountable, is reaching the right person at the Division of Pensions to help you.  This will often be the person who actually handles these issues day to day rather than a supervisor or administrator who is apt to quote policy with little or no flexibility to offer.


Half an hour on the phone and I was unable to get through to a live person. The NJ Div of Pension and Benefits phone lines are automated hell, designed to handle 99% of calls on self service lines.  I finally tried emailing them, and received an automated reply that I should get an answer in 7-10 working days


What does the attorney who set this up have to say?


Can/will the financial institution in charge of your step mom’s benefit assist by providing you with direct contact info for a helpful person in NJ Division of Pensions? The type of person described by Joan. So you don’t need to wait 7-10 working days to hear back from the Division.

I, too, would like to know the answer to what filmcarp asked.



I’m hesitant to contact the attorney just yet because of the hourly costs, I’m in discussions with my mom and step sisters on this and they agree to hold off on that for now on the chance we can sort it out.


I emailed Prudential to see if they could give me a contact person at NJ.  I’m guessing it was some lower level employee who didn’t know what they are looking at.  Most POAs are a few pages.  This one is 19 pages long, and very detailed, so they likely got confused and didn’t want to deal with it.  But it was written by a NJ elder care attorney who I would assume knows what he is doing, I just can’t understand why they won’t accept it.  


I think your basic assumption about the attorney is flawed.  He should have known better than to set this up this way.  And he shouldn't charge you to help you make it work.  This isn't some deep, unpredictable, once in a million issue you have. It should have been avoided.  I would call him .


Have you tried contacting HR where your step mother worked, the employee's retirement system (often different than the pension unit) that is handling all phases of her retirement benefits, and/or the union which covers her title or occupation if her title was exempt from collective bargaining?  Between them these resources should be able to come up with a decent contact. 


I know this is going to sound odd but after almost 50 years of practicing law I know that what might seem odd sometimes works.

Your sister and you have POA, That should include the Power to do a new Power of Attorney. In other words you and your sister can execute a new Power of Attorney on behalf of your Mother giving one of you Power of Attorney.

If you so with private message me a copy of the POA.

Or, follow FilmCarp's suggestion. If that attorney is an Elder care expert he may have dealt with this before.


STANV said:

I know this is going to sound odd but after almost 50 years of practicing law I know that what might seem odd sometimes works.

Your sister and you have POA, That should include the Power to do a new Power of Attorney. In other words you and your sister can execute a new Power of Attorney on behalf of your Mother giving one of you Power of Attorney.

If you so with private message me a copy of the POA.

Or, follow FilmCarp's suggestion. If that attorney is an Elder care expert he may have dealt with this before.

Would the new POA supersede the first POA?  Or could it be structured so the new POA is only for specific time/issue?


yahooyahoo said:

Would the new POA supersede the first POA?  Or could it be structured so the new POA is only for specific time/issue?

 I think both are possible. 


Prudential says the state is still “looking into it.”  No response yet from the state in regards to the online message I sent via their website 


If things stall (you should get a response to your message thru the online site; furloughs have impacted their speed):

consider contacting:   1. Assistant Treasurer, or   2. Director of Constituent Relations - Dept. of Treasury.

Pensions and Benefits is a Division of Treasury.

https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/tostaff.shtml

I’m sorry; I don’t have email contact info, but direct phone info is here:

https://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/phoneform3.pl?&qtype=all&rtype=table

Just type in the individual’s name.



dickf3 said:

If things stall (you should get a response to your message thru the online site; furloughs have impacted their speed):

consider contacting:   1. Assistant Treasurer, or   2. Director of Constituent Relations - Dept. of Treasury.

Pensions and Benefits is a Division of Treasury.

https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/tostaff.shtml

I’m sorry; I don’t have email contact info, but direct phone info is here:

https://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/phoneform3.pl?&qtype=all&rtype=table

Just type in the individual’s name.

 It is Pensions and Benefits that is blocking the request. Constituent Relations.. that's a shot.




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