Can a Power of Attorney Close a Joint Bank Account?

We often find ourselves wondering what a power of attorney can do, don’t we? Especially when it comes to bank accounts. When you trust someone to handle your finances or be trusted, you want to know where you stand.


Usually, it’s fairly straightforward, and you act as though you are that person yourself. But with joint bank accounts, things can get tricky. There is lots of conflicting information, making it difficult to know your rights and where you stand.

Well, no more! We are here to help you navigate these murky waters. Keep reading to find out if a power of attorney can close a joint bank account.

Can A Power Of Attorney Close A Joint Bank Account? 

So, can a power of attorney close a joint bank account? Well, it all depends on the bank.

Some bank accounts will allow a power of attorney to close a joint bank account on their own. In this case, they will act on behalf of the person they represent, and it is usually done if they have passed away. 

Usually, it can be done with a death certificate and documentation proving that they can act as their power of attorney.

However, some banks will require the other member of the joint account to be present to close the account. You can sometimes submit a document with their signature citing that they agree to close the account. 

You can usually check this out on your bank’s website or the documentation regarding your bank account. Let’s look at how this works a little closer! 

How Does A Power Of Attorney Close A Joint Bank Account If The Person Has Died?

Usually, the account will need to be closed in person, with a power of attorney present in the bank.

If the person the attorney is representing is deceased, they can enter the bank with a copy of the death certificate. The bank can then close the bank account and release the funds or transfer them to another account.

In the case of joint accounts, the money usually transfers to the other name on the account. But again, if there are state laws that differ, it can complicate the issue. The clerk at the bank can talk you through all of this, though.  

How this is done varies from bank to bank and state to state, so check this beforehand. In some cases, the assets are frozen until the bank can confirm the deceased has died.

It’s wise to let the other account member know that you will close the account and discuss where any funds should be transferred. 

Commonly it will be a partner or family member of the deceased, and deciding where to put any funds can be dealt with easily. Remember, if you are closing the account, you will need to rearrange any direct debits or payments in and out of the account. 

How Does A Power of Attorney Close A Joint Bank Account If Both Parties Are Living? 

If the person has not died, then closing the bank account will work slightly differently. You can usually call the bank or pop in and close the account.

As we mentioned earlier, some banks will require a signature from the other party confirming that they are happy for the account to be closed. Others are happy for the power of attorney to do it themselves. 

The rules can vary from state to state and depend on the bank, so be sure to check this beforehand! You will also need to take the correct documentation to avoid any issues in the bank. 

You will usually need to stop any payments or direct debits and have an account ready to transfer funds. 

When Can’t A Power Of Attorney Close A Joint Bank Account?

There are some occasions when a power of attorney can’t close a joint bank account. Normally, the bank wants both parties to close the account, and the other member is not available or does not agree to the account closing. You can check on your bank’s website if this applies to you.

A power of attorney cannot close a joint bank account if they have had their powers revoked. They will no longer be allowed to act on the person’s behalf and will not be allowed to deal with any finances. 

Final Word

And just like that, we have come to the end of our article today! As you can see, whether a power of attorney can close a joint account or not will depend on your bank’s policy. It’s best to check these beforehand to ensure that you can do this or make the appointment to close the account.

You can check their policy easily, either on your bank accounts documentation, their website or by calling the bank and explaining your situation. Depending on the nature of the joint account and why it needs to be closed, you might be able to close the joint bank account without the second person at your bank’s discretion.

Remember to check beforehand to avoid disappointment and have the correct paperwork with you!

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