Banks and Powers of Attorney

People with limited or modest incomes often complete Property Powers of Attorney (POAs) at banks, rather than getting legal advice from lawyers or legal workers. Bank workers may tell people they MUST complete a POA on a bank form, even if they already have a Property POA document prepared by a lawyer. Or they may insist that people complete a bank POA if the customer is older or has a disability, in case something should happen to them.

Both these practices have caused problems for people by unintentionally revoking previous POAs, creating multiple POAs with different named attorneys, or giving third parties (the attorneys) access to accounts when the person really didn't need someone else accessing the account, etc.

Banks have now made the commitment to offer their own form of POA to clients as an option, but they will not require the form to be used.

The documents below are:

  • Commitment on Powers of Attorney and Joint Deposit Accounts - from the Canadian Bankers Association
  • Backgrounder: Voluntary Commitments by Banks on Powers of Attorney and Joint Deposit Accounts - from the Department of Finance Canada
  • What every older Canadian should know about Powers of Attorney (for financial matters and property) and Joint Bank Accounts - from the Forum of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors