If there are two power of attorneys on an account, can one close or freeze the account with out the other being notified first?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 27, 2016
Markf asked...

If 2 poa are on an account can one close or freeze the account without the other being notified first


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

That depends on the exact wording on the power of attorney document.

In most powers of attorney, one person is named as the principal or primary agent"”and another is named as the successor or alternate. In such cases, the person named as the primary or principal agent is free to act alone.

It is unusual for two people to be named as co-agents, but it sometimes happens"”especially if the person creating the power of attorney didn't want to be perceived as "playing favorites." If the two people are named as co-agents, such as "John and Mary Smith," then the law requires both of them to agree to every action taken. And if there are true co-agents, the bank or other institution should not have taken any action on the account without that required agreement.

If the other co-agent objects to the action taken on the account, then he or she can request that the financial institution should restore it, since closing or freezing it was illegal.

Keeping in mind the object of a power of attorney, however"”which is to take care of the managing money and property in the best interests of the person who made it"”it is usually best if the agents can resolve the matter between themselves. In the mot extreme cases, one agent can go to court"”usually the local superior court"”to ask that the other agent be removed based on actually wrongfully.