Can a family member or friend help me with bill paying and banking?
If you’d like a family member or friend to help you manage your money, you can explore options like opening a convenience bank account, adding trusted contacts to your accounts, or getting a power of attorney (POA).
Receive informal help with money management
If you are still able to handle your banking and bill-paying but would like some help going through the bills and budgeting, a friend or family member can review your bills with you and help you figure out which ones to pay and when. Under this arrangement, you still sign your checks, and no one else is authorized to make account transactions.
If you have no friends or family members to help you with informal money management, there are organized programs that provide trained staff members or volunteers to help. To locate a money management program in your area, try contacting your local . You may also be able to find a money management program along with other resources for older Americans by contacting the at eldercare.acl.gov or by calling 1-800-677-1116.
If you get help from a money management program, though, check on whether the program has insurance or bonding so your money is protected in a worst-case scenario, including mismanagement or theft by the person assisting you.
Open a convenience account
A “convenience account” or “agency account” enables you to designate a family member or friend to help you with depositing or withdrawing money and writing checks.
A convenience account doesn’t change the ownership of the money in the account or give your helper the right to keep the money when you die. However, any friend or family member you designate to help you can both deposit and withdraw money from your account, which exposes you to the risk that they might withdraw your money for their own use.
If you’re interested in a convenience or agency account, ask your bank
Often bank employees don’t mention these options or know they exist. You may need to speak with a manager. Explain that you want an account in which the money remains yours but that someone else’s name will be on the account to help you with bill paying and other transactions. If you don’t intend for your money to become your helper’s money upon your death, be sure to say that you don’t want a joint account where the other person has the “right of survivorship.”
Add a trusted contact person to your accounts
Some banks may also offer the option to add a “trusted contact person” to your brokerage accounts. This allows your financial institution to contact the trusted person in certain circumstances, like if they believe you’re getting scammed. Trusted contacts don’t have access to your money – they simply get notified if the financial institution sees signs of financial exploitation. Learn more about how choosing a trusted contact person could help you safeguard your finances
Set up a power of attorney for finances
You can also choose a friend or family member to act on your behalf by creating and signing a document called a power of attorney (POA) or “durable” power of attorney. If you have a POA, your bank account can remain in your name only, but the person you name as your power of attorney – or your “agent” – can help you with banking. If you or your agent shares a copy of the power of attorney document with bank employees, they should honor the document and allow your agent to handle your bank transactions on your behalf.
Again, give considerable thought before granting anyone power of attorney, as they could withdraw money from your account without your permission.