Bank power of attorney

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank& team Investing money. During her studies of German and English she already worked for the editorial offices of the Grune Liga, the Judische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master’s degree, Josefine Lietzau completed a traineeship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she subsequently worked as an editor.

  • With an account power of attorney, you grant a trusted person far-reaching access to your banking transactions.
  • You can revoke a power of attorney at any time.
  • A power of attorney can apply either indefinitely (beyond death) or upon the occurrence of certain events, such as need for long-term care or death.
  • Spouses are not legal representatives of each other. For them, an alternative to the power of attorney is to open a joint account.
  • Find out which powers of attorney your bank accepts and what its own rules are for them.
  • You should think carefully about who you trust enough and terminate the power of attorney if something changes.
  • Together with the person you trust, you can decide which power of attorney is right for you.

In this guide

With the help of a power of attorney for your current account, you can give someone else access to almost all banking operations and transactions. The person you trust can dispose of your money, use the overdraft facility and also trade in securities.

How to issue a power of attorney?

Your bank provides you with forms for a power of attorney. You can either download them via online banking or go to a branch office. The forms differ from bank to bank and also in what the bank allows via the power of attorney.

The Standard forms For a bank power of attorney see mostly no restrictions on certain accounts before. If you want to limit the rights of the authorized representative, you can create an informal power of attorney in your own words or specify the limitation in a separate supplemental agreement with the bank or savings bank.

This is what you should do if you want to issue a power of attorney for the current account but not for the securities account. We have provided you with a sample template for this. Clarify with your bank whether it accepts the power of attorney in this way. Maybe it only does that with the self-drafted power of attorney if it is notarized.

The account-holding bank is required to verify the authorized representative using a valid identity card or passport identify. At a branch bank, both go to the appointment, at a direct bank, you usually have to send a copy of the identity card to legitimize the proxy, or the person must identify themselves via Video-Ident. In addition, you must provide your tax identification number. The reason for this is the tax-er-um-ge-be-fighting-ge-law.

If you want the authorized representative to be able to withdraw money for you at a later date, for example using a girocard or credit card, you must apply for such a card from the bank. You should use your own card and pin not to pass it on.

Sample bank power of attorney

Download our sample template for a Bank power of attorney down:

Which different powers of attorney can you grant?

In a power of attorney, you can not only specify various rights for the authorized representative, but also determine for which periods of time or for which specific events the power of attorney should apply.

If you have chosen a person as a proxy, you should consider together what kind of power of attorney suits your situation, but also for the proxy.

Unlimited in time: Power of attorney beyond death

The standard power of attorney from your bank is a power of attorney with no time limit. It is valid beyond the death of the account holder (§ 672 BGB). This is usually the intention among family members, so you avoid practical problems with the bank after the death of the account holder.

Such powers of attorney are often valid already after signature. If you, as the account holder, no longer trust the person to whom you have given this power of attorney, you should definitely cancel it. Because you are the one who bears the risk of abuse.

Power of attorney in the event of death

The account power of attorney can also be structured in such a way that it only takes effect upon the death of the account holder. The purpose of this power of attorney is ultimately the distribution and administration of the account holder’s estate. However, this can lead to difficulties if there are several heirs. They do not always agree to another person having access to the account. It may also be that the bank first requires a certificate of inheritance.

Power of attorney in case of need of care

You can also give a conditional power of attorney in case you need care, for example because of old age, an accident or a serious illness. It may be practical to issue such powers of attorney, as you may not be able to issue a power of attorney in the event of an emergency.

However, how the need for care must be proven varies from bank to bank. With some credit institutions, you must have a Medical certificate submit. Wording in the power of attorney that states that need for care exists when the account holder can no longer act for himself is not practical. This is because the bank cannot check this requirement itself.

You can revoke such a power of attorney at any time. It expires upon the death of the authorized person (§ 673 BGB).

A bank power of attorney in case of need of care is not the same as a general power of attorney for health care. The bank power of attorney is intended exclusively for banking transactions.

A General power of attorney for welfare The power of attorney, on the other hand, does not only extend to banking transactions; it can also cover issues relating to health, housing or official and other matters. The authorized representative can act with such a power of attorney without the need for further court action such as the appointment of a guardian. You can find more information on this in our Finanztip guide to health care proxies.

banking without a power of attorney

If the account holder dies and there is no account power of attorney, the money in the account is frozen. Only if you present the bank with a certificate of inheritance or other documents proving the inheritance beyond doubt, you will get the money back (BGH, judgement of 8 December 2009). October 2013, Az. XI ZR 401/12). You should therefore consider granting a power of attorney at least for your current account. However, make sure that you trust the person you are authorizing.

You cannot give sub-authorizations with a bank authorization, you cannot apply for loans or credit cards.

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