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How to Get the Power … of Attorney!

power of attorney q and a

Power of attorney (POA) certainly sounds like fancy paperwork jargon that no one has time to learn about. We know. However, as you start getting a little deeper into your finances, you’ll realize how important a POA can be if you end up needing one.

To help you skip some steps, we broke the term down for you, especially as it pertains to being a Summit member! Keep reading to add another fun financial term to your wallet (or to show off to friends this weekend).

So, power of attorney. What is it? 

Simply put, a power of attorney is a person or organization you empower to handle financial matters while you can’t (think: extended travel, illness/injury, etc.). For reference, here are some things a POA can do at Summit:

  • Open and close account(s) in a member’s name
  • Withdraw funds from another member’s account(s)
  • Endorse, write and cash checks on behalf of a member’s account
  • Place and remove items from a member’s safe deposit box

Okay, that sounds important. So, how do I add a POA to my account?

Good question. It’s a pretty simple process!

  1. Ask your Summit branch for a basic power of attorney form, which both you and the POA will need to sign in the company of a Summit employee. Note: if you can’t sign with a Summit employee, no worries. It will just need to be signed by a valid notary.
  2. You can also bring in your own POA document to Summit. We’ll just need to review the pages, specifically all signature pages and appendices. 
  3. The POA document is then reviewed by a POA expert to ensure it’s all good.
  4. Lastly, we’ll need a photo ID of the POA and their social security number to officially add them to your account. And boom, you’re good to go! 

Sounds straightforward! Anything else I should know?

Love the thoroughness. For a little more context, here are some FAQ’s we get:

Q: Once I empower a POA, can I remove them from my account later?

A: Of course! Get us a note in writing or sign the revocation portion of the POA document.

Q: Can a POA open a membership for a new member?

A: Yes, but only if the POA document gives them the power to do so. A POA expert will look at the document to determine this. Note: We’d still need to officially qualify the new member and POA for membership, including proper ID.

Q: Can a POA add a person to an account or add a payable on death beneficiary?

A: Possibly. If the POA document is a durable power of attorney, it may state in the document that the POA has those powers. Again, this needs to be reviewed by a POA expert. However, if the basic POA for Summit Credit Union accounts is used, then no.

There you go, master money managers! If you think adding a power of attorney to your Summit account is the right move for you, your nearest Summit branch will be ready to help! And don’t forget to come back to the Money Smarts blog for more money-management tips.

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