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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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 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.

The Louisiana Statute on Durable Power of Attorney

You’re probably used to taking care of your own finances, but someday you might need help handling financial matters. Diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia can interfere with your mental capacity, causing you to rely on someone else to take care of your bank accounts, investments and bills. Or travel may take you out of town during times when you need someone else to transact your business locally. For these types of situations, Louisiana law allows you to give authority over your finances to another person through a power of attorney.

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