What happens when a bank acct has a POA with JT title and one dies?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2016
Obgrant asked...

I am the POA for a family friend with no living relatives. I moved out of state and we tried to add an additional POA to the bank acct. The bank said only one POA, so we made the other friend jt on the account. When one principal dies is the POA still valid?

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.

There is a difference between being designated an agent in a power of attorney (generally responsible for handling all financial matters) and being designated a joint owner or a pay-on-death owner of a bank account. In the longest run, the situation may come out the same. But be clear about what you are lobbying for now.

A bank has no say on whether or not there are two agents designated to act under a power of attorney"”although most institutions will prefer to deal with a single person. That choice is left up to the person who is making the power of attorney in the first place.

It sounds as if you are dealing instead with a pay-on-death or joint owner designation that is directly imposed through the bank rather than a POA. In most such situations, one person is named as the original owner of the funds"”and an alternate can be named as beneficiary is the first person does not survive.

Since the dictate you are following seems to be coming from the bank, make sure someone there presents a clear explanation of its policy"”preferably in writing.