POA and Joint Account FAQ

POA and Joint Account

What is a “Power of Attorney”?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that you sign to give one or more persons the authority to manage your money and property on your behalf. In most of Canada, the person(s) you appoint is called an “attorney”. The person(s) you choose does not have to be a lawyer. Among other requirements, you must be mentally capable at the time you sign any type of Power of Attorney for it to be valid. As the legal definition of mental capacity varies based on the laws in each province or territory, it may be advantageous to seek legal counsel in this regard. You also can make changes to or cancel a Power of Attorney at any time, as long as you are mentally capable.

More information regarding Power of Attorneys, such as what the advantages and disadvantages are of having a Power of Attorney, is available on the Government of Canada’s
website: ‘Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors Forum’

What is a “Joint Account”?

A Joint Account is a bank account in which two or more people have ownership rights over the same account. These rights can include the right for all account holders to withdraw or deal with the funds in the account, no matter who puts the money into the account. As a joint account holder, you share equal access to the account and responsibility for all the transactions made through the account. In most cases, unless you state otherwise, the other account holder(s) can make withdrawals or other transactions without your consent and the funds in the account may be subject to creditors’ rights or other claims that might exist against the other account holder(s).

Joint accounts opened with New Waterford Credit Union include the right of survivorship. This means that if one of the account holders dies, the surviving account holder(s) maintains unrestricted access to the account, with all the funds being in the survivor account holder(s) name(s). The Personal Membership and Financial Services Standard Terms and Conditions contain the terms and conditions associated with joint accounts.

More information regarding Joint Accounts, such as what the risks are associated with having a Joint Account, is available on the Government of Canada’s website: ‘What every older Canadian should know about Powers of Attorney (for financial matters and property) and Joint Bank Accounts’