How to Assign Power of Attorney for an Offshore Bank Account

By Rob Jennings J.D.

A power of attorney is a document that allows another person, called your "attorney-in-fact," to act on your behalf. One of the many powers you can delegate to your attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney is managing your financial affairs, including your bank accounts. A full power of attorney should cover any dealings with your financial assets abroad as well as those at home, but if you want to empower a given attorney-in-fact to deal only with your offshore bank accounts and no other assets, you can restrict his authority.

A power of attorney is a document that allows another person, called your "attorney-in-fact," to act on your behalf. One of the many powers you can delegate to your attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney is managing your financial affairs, including your bank accounts. A full power of attorney should cover any dealings with your financial assets abroad as well as those at home, but if you want to empower a given attorney-in-fact to deal only with your offshore bank accounts and no other assets, you can restrict his authority.

Step 1

Select an appropriate, trustworthy person to manage your foreign bank accounts. Remember that by granting power of attorney to another person to manage those accounts, you're allowing the bank to release your money to that person and to obey his orders as to what to do with funds on deposit. If your attorney-in-fact disappears with your money, you will have no recourse against the bank.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now

Step 2

Contact the offshore bank in question to learn whether it will honor a power of attorney drawn in the United States. The bank may require a document that conforms with the laws of their country, although they may be able to provide you with a form power of attorney for use with their accounts only. If your American power of attorney won't suffice for their purposes and they have no form available, consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in the bank's jurisdiction.

Step 3

Obtain a power-of-attorney document naming your chosen person as attorney-in-fact over your foreign bank accounts. If you don't want to or can't use an existing general power of attorney, you can have a lawyer draw up a more restricted document for you. If you want to do it yourself, consider purchasing a pre-drafted form from a reputable online legal document provider. Go through the form and black out the powers you don't want to grant. In the appropriate field, state that the listed attorney-in-fact is empowered to deal only with certain accounts.

Step 4

Execute the power of attorney in front of a notary public. Forward a fully executed original to your attorney-in-fact.

Step 5

Ask the bank whether you'll be required to record, or register, the power of attorney in your home county or somewhere in the bank's home country in order for it to be effective. Remember that any time you record a document, you may be placing it on the public record for anyone to view. The privacy and secrecy that individuals are typically seeking when they use a foreign bank account could be compromised by the existence of a power of attorney that makes reference to accounts with a certain bank.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now
Does a Bank Have to Have a Written Letter of Power of Attorney to Access One's Account?

References

Related articles

What Should Be in a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives to another person, your agent or attorney-in-fact, authority to make decisions for you and act on your behalf. Powers of attorney can be very broad, allowing your agent to do many things for you, or they can be limited, just giving your agent authority to do one specific act. Since the document itself gives your agent his power, you must ensure the power of attorney describes exactly what powers you are giving to your agent.

Can a Power of Attorney Make Themselves a Joint Owner of a Bank Account?

A power of attorney gives your agent – the person you name – the ability to do something for you, such as pay bills from your bank account or manage your investments. The agent’s ability to add his name to your bank account is subject to state and federal law as well as the language in the power of attorney document and the contract between you and your bank. Your agent’s ability to access your bank account on your behalf is different than creating a joint bank account.

Can Banks Do Power of Attorney Forms for You?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act in your place. This is useful if you want a friend to sell your car or an agent your house, but you also can use a power of attorney to name someone to manage your finances if you become incapacitated. Some banks provide power-of-attorney forms, but they cannot "do" them for you; you must fill in and sign the document before it is effective.

Related articles

Can a Bank Decline a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney gives the agent the authority to act on behalf of, and in the name of, the person giving the power ...

What Are the Disadvantages of Using a Power of Attorney?

While a power of attorney can be useful, you should consider some of the disadvantages of giving another person ...

How to Gain Access to Bank Accounts With a Power of Attorney

When you aren’t able to manage your bank accounts, a power of attorney can help. A power of attorney document ...

How to Obtain Power of Attorney in MA

A power of attorney is an instrument signed by one person, known as the principal, authorizing another, known as the ...

Browse by category