Can the Power of Attorney Add Signers to Bank Accounts?

By Teo Spengler

You may use a financial power of attorney to grant a trusted agent authority to act in your place in financial matters. The terms of this legal document describe the extent of the authority it confers. While a general form would allow your agent to add signatories to your bank accounts, you can tailor the authority as you wish.

Financial Power of Attorney

A power-of-attorney form allows you to appoint someone to make decisions in your place. For example, a financial power can give someone authority to sell your car or your stock holdings. Additionally, you can use a durable financial power of attorney to name the person you want to manage your financial affairs if you should become incapacitated.

Scope of Authority

Preparing a power of attorney is a personal option, not a requirement. You can define and control the authority given by writing your limitations clearly into the document. If you sign a general-power-of-attorney form without including limitations, you give the agent authority to take any action regarding your finances that you yourself could take. That would include adding signatories to a bank account.

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Fiduciary Duty

Your agent acting under a power of attorney owes you a very high duty of care called a fiduciary duty. This requires him to act in your best interests and prevents him from taking steps to enrich himself at your expense. If his decisions regarding your bank accounts violate his fiduciary duty, he is subject to civil and criminal penalties.

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How to Set Up Enduring Power of Attorney


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A power of attorney, or attorney letter, is a form that grants someone the ability to make legally binding decisions for another. An individual may use a power of attorney for personal and business reasons. How a power of attorney is executed depends on the laws of the state where the transferor is located. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act provides a basis for general standards that may be applicable across many jurisdictions. The UPAA has been enacted by 11 states as of January 2012.

How to Create a Temporary Power of Attorney

Under certain circumstances you may need to authorize someone else to perform legal acts on your behalf. Under these circumstances, you may execute a power of attorney in favor of an agent -- also known as an "attorney-in-fact." "Fill in the blanks" power of attorney forms are available from banks and hospitals and on state government websites. While you can draft your own power of attorney, a form can serve as a guide for what to include and how to word your POA to avoid legal risks.

How to Create Power of Attorney Forms

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person to act on your behalf in certain specified situations. State law governs the creation and validity of power of attorney forms. These forms oversee the agency relationship between the principal, who is the person who created the power of attorney, and the agent or attorney-in-fact, who is the person receiving authority to do something in the power of attorney. Powers of attorney can authorize a variety of decision-making powers -- such as financial or health care decisions or decisions that affect your children -- in the event that you become unable to make such decisions.

Power of Attorney

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