Grant Park, IL asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Illinois

Q: I live in Illinois If I gave someone power of attorney can they add themselves to my bank account as co-owner?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Charles E. Hutchinson
Charles E. Hutchinson
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Wilmette, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: The power of attorney for property, also known as a durable power of attorney, does not authorize anyone to own your property. In fact, it does the exact opposite. The agent under the power of attorney MUST use the assets ONLY for the Principal.

B. As agent you must:

(1) do what you know the principal reasonably expects you to do with the

principal's property;

(2) act in good faith for the best interest of the principal, using due care,

competence, and diligence;

(3) keep a complete and detailed record of all receipts, disbursements, and

significant actions conducted for the principal;

(4) attempt to preserve the principal's estate plan, to the extent actually known

by the agent, if preserving the plan is consistent with the principal's best interest; and

(5) cooperate with a person who has authority to make health care decisions for

the principal to carry out the principal's reasonable expectations to the extent actually in the

principal's best interest.

As agent you must not do any of the following:

(1) act so as to create a conflict of interest that is inconsistent with the other

principles in this Notice to Agent;

(2) do any act beyond the authority granted in this power of attorney;

(3) commingle the principal's funds with your funds;

(4) borrow funds or other property from the principal, unless otherwise


(5) continue acting on behalf of the principal if you learn of any event that

terminates this power of attorney or your authority under this power of attorney, such as the death

of the principal, your legal separation from the principal, or the dissolution of your marriage to the


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