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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Elder Law / If I Have Power of Attorney, Can I Access My Spouse’s Account Online?

If I Have Power of Attorney, Can I Access My Spouse’s Account Online?

We always advise our clients to have a power of attorney in place so that they can handle their spouse’s finances if their spouse becomes unable to do so. However, according to the Chicago Tribune, some banks have changed their power of attorney policies for online banking. Many people who have managed their spouse’s finances for years have recently tried to log on to these accounts online, only to find that they no longer have access to them. Because caregivers often write several checks a month for services like adult day care, in-home care, nursing homes, and prescription medications, it is important for spouses who serve as power of attorney to have daily access to their spouse’s accounts. However, even though you may have your spouse’s social security number, online banking password, and other personal information, some banks will not permit you to use online banking if you do not have the credit card number, credit card expiration date, and the security code on the back of the card. This can be a problem if your spouse has destroyed the card or cannot remember where he put it.

While this rule can be frustrating, there is one simple way to prevent it from becoming a problem in the future: holding the account jointly with your spouse. Joint account holders are permitted to use online banking and can monitor the account as often as they wish. However, because owning an account jointly with your spouse can affect eligibility for Medicaid and VA benefits, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney before making these changes. Whatever option is best for you, having a financial plan in place will allow you and your spouse to be more prepared for any future difficulties that arise.

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