- Clients often ask whether they should specify in their Power of Attorney that a second signature is required for transactions over $10,000.00 (for example).
- On its face, it seems like a reasonable precaution to prevent possible financial abuse or overreaching.
Be Careful Not to Add Too Many Conditions in Your Power of Attorney
My biggest concern is that a financial institution will refuse to accept your Power of Attorney if it places an unreasonable burden on them to flag a Power of Attorney for transactions over $10k. Given how many problems clients and I have with financial institutions in NJ, I would be very hesitant to prepare a document that may not be accepted by any financial institution. A second signature provision implies that either the principal or the agent lacks good judgment and will use his or her money unwisely (or may be subject exploitation). If that is the case, the more protective and practical option would be to seek a guardianship.
Good luck finding a bank that will accept such a requirement. Many individuals are finding many banks won’t even allow accounts that require two signatures for all checks.
Sometimes an attorney will recommend setting up a revocable living trust that requires two trustees instead of relying upon a power of attorney.
Revocable trusts make sense in some cases and in some states, but not in most cases and in most states.
A revocable trust won’t help here. In order for it to work, the trustees would have to open a checking account that requires two signatures. They would still have to find a bank willing to let them do that.
If you are looking for additional details on this topic or if you require advice about your situation, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at email@example.com. Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Trust Attorney