A financial planner offered to help with my bill paying and banking, but said the only way she or he could help is if I opened a joint account with both of our names on it. Is this true?
No. Hiring someone to help with financial services – whether it is money management, financial planning, or other services – generally does not involve or require adding the person’s name to your bank account.
Joint bank accounts usually enable all account holders to withdraw money and to retain the money in the account if the other owner dies. For this reason, you should be very careful about whose name you add to your bank account and be certain of what you are allowing that person to do.
If anyone – a financial services professional, money manager, or anyone else – tells you that he or she can only provide services if you add him or her to your bank account or otherwise give access to your money, you should think seriously about whether the person is a legitimate business or professional and whether you want their involvement.
There are ways that you can enable someone to help you with bill paying and banking, but you should only make arrangements with safeguards to ensure that a third party doesn’t misuse your money. Convenience bank accounts, powers of attorney (carefully written and granted to trusted individuals), trust arrangements, and others can accomplish your goals without unknowingly giving away your savings. You may want to consult an attorney to ensure that the arrangements you make are in your best interest.