Whether due to age, illness, travel or other necessity, allowing a loved one to gain access to a bank account to assist you with financial matters is often desired. All too often, however, without knowing the extent of the associated consequences, this is accomplished by simply adding the loved one as a co-owner of the bank account. Some of the potential consequences of making someone a co-owner of a bank account include equal rights of withdrawal of the entire account balance by the co-owner, access to the account balance by the co-owner’s creditors, and survivorship rights in the entire account inuring to the co-owner to the possible exclusion of other surviving family members.
To eliminate the potential adverse consequences associated with adding someone as a co-owner to a bank account, Florida Statute Section 655.80 allows an individual (referred to as the “principal”) to open a “convenience account” and designate one or more other individuals (referred to as the “agent/agents”) who are authorized to make deposits to, withdraw funds from and draw checks on such account. All ownership rights in and to the convenience account belong solely to the “principal”. No rights of ownership belong or pass to any agent by being named as an agent on the convenience account. The entire convenience account at the death of the principal passes to those individuals (which may or may not include a designated agent) named in the principal’s Will or designated as pay-on-death beneficiaries in an appropriately signed designation associated with the convenience account separate and distinct from the appointment of the agent(s).
By properly setting up a convenience account, an individual gives another person the desired access to the account during the period of need without the potential adverse consequences associated with making that other person an owner of the account. If you have any questions regarding convenience accounts or other means of authorizing another person to act on your behalf, at Bob Bible Law we have the knowledge and over thirty (30) years of experience to guide you through this process.