Asked in Criminal Law and Banking for North Carolina

Q: Can an authorized user on a checking account go in and cash to the owners checks and make changes

The authorized user on my grandmother's account has been cashing her checks and not giving them to her and also making serious changes to the account without the account owner's presence is this legal

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1 Lawyer Answer
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
  • Business Law Lawyer
  • Tallahassee, FL

A: There is a very common belief that there is a difference between an "authorized user" of a personal bank account and a "co-owner" of a personal bank account. While there are several different kinds of bank accounts, access to each type of bank account is either defined in the contract sometimes appearing on the back of an "account signature card" or on a longer written contract executed at the bank-- with a copy given to the person(s) signing the account contract.

If the person you are concerned about is a co-owner or authorized user on your grandmother's account, the acts about which you complain are not illegal. Caveat: This is not to say that the person caring for your grandmother is doing everything properly; but that fiduciary issue is completely separate from the banking issue you asked.

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