A durable power of attorney form will authorize someone else to carry out specific tasks on your behalf, even if you become incapacitated. These tasks can include the power to buy, sell, borrow, sign checks, access bank accounts, sign tax returns, bring law suits on your behalf, carry out medical directives when incapacitated, etc. Right now you’re probably thinking, why would I need a durable power of attorney form? Maybe if I was in poor health, but I don’t see the importance of it elsewhere.
Let me tell you right now it’s very important, here’s a story about parents getting hit with their daughters loan payments. John DeStefano and his wife added their daughter to their bank accounts. Their savings of $77,362 dollars was wiped out when their Pennsylvania bank used their savings to pay for loans their daughter took out for her business. Neither John nor his wife co-signed their daughter’s loans, the only reason they put her name on the account was for her to pay their bills in case of an emergency. The sad part is the bank was within it’s rights to take the money and this could of all been avoided with a durable power of attorney. Another problem with joint bank accounts is if 1 of the co-signers die, even if the person who passed put in their will to give all of his/her money to his son/daughter, the surviving joint bank account owners would legally be in control of the money leaving the son/daughter out in the cold! All of this easily could have been avoided. Instead of every one whose name is on bank account legally having access to withdraw money from your account, you simply could sign a durable power of attorney form and simply allow that person to act on your behalf and that person doesn’t own any of your money and a bank would have no legal right to withdraw any money from it to pay for anyone elses bills.
Instead of putting someone else on your bank account, next time consider the serious issues that could arise. You can complete a durable power of attorney form and avoid the headaches.
Disclaimer — This content is general information only. This information is not provided as legal advice for a specific matter, nor does its publication create an attorney-client relationship. Laws vary from one state to another. For legal advice on a specific matter, consult an attorney.