What you need to know about “Power of Attorney” & “Joint Deposit Account"

What is a “Power of Attorney”?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that you sign to give one or more persons the authority to manage your money and property on your behalf. In most of Canada, the person(s) you appoint is called an “attorney”. The person(s) you choose does not have to be a lawyer.

Among other requirements, you must be mentally capable at the time you sign any type of Power of Attorney for it to be valid.  As the legal definition of mental capacity varies based on the laws in each province or territory, it may be advantageous to seek legal counsel in this regard. You also can make changes to or cancel a Power of Attorney at any time, as long as you are mentally capable.

More information regarding Power of Attorneys, such as what the advantages and disadvantages are of having a Power of Attorney, is available on the Government of Canada’s website: ‘What every older Canadian should know about Powers of Attorney (for financial matters and property) and Joint Bank Accounts’.

What is a “Joint Deposit Account”?

A Joint Deposit Account is a bank account in which two or more people have ownership rights over the same account. These rights can include the right for all account holders to withdraw or deal with the funds in the account, no matter who puts the money into the account.
As a joint account holder you share equal access to the account and responsibility for all the transactions made through the account. In most cases, unless you state otherwise, the other account holder(s) can make withdrawals or other transactions without your consent and the funds in the account may be subject to creditors’ rights or other claims that might exist against the other account holder(s).

In many cases, joint accounts include the right of survivorship.  This means that if one of the account holders dies, the surviving account holder(s) become(s) the owner(s) of the account.  Scotiabank’s Deposit Account Agreement contains the terms and conditions associated with joint accounts, and can be found in the Day-to-Day Banking Companion Booklet.

More information regarding Joint Deposit Account, such as what the risks are associated with having a Joint Deposit Account, is available on the Government of Canada’s website: ‘What every older Canadian should know about Powers of Attorney (for financial matters and property) and Joint Bank Accounts’.

To learn more about Scotiabank’s Day-to-Day Deposit Bank Accounts that can be made into a Joint Deposit Account please visit the Day-to Day Banking Page.

Scotiabank and Power of Attorney Forms

Scotiabank can provide you with a Power of Attorney Form in the event you do not have one already. This form will only cover transactions with Scotiabank. You should be careful to ensure there is no conflict between the Scotiabank form and any other Power of Attorney you may have signed. Advice from a legal professional can be beneficial to identify whether there may be conflicts between a Scotiabank Power of Attorney form and any existing Power of Attorney you may have.  However, you are not required to use this form.  If you feel that you require a Power of Attorney, we encourage you to obtain one, along with guidance, from an outside source such as a lawyer or notary.

What Scotiabank requires from you to have a Power of Attorney listed on an account

Scotiabank requires two pieces of original and current identification and specimen signature for the attorney, as well as an original or original notarized copy of an existing Power of Attorney.

Scotiabank is committed to providing its customers with the highest level of service. When a customer or attorney presents a Power of Attorney at a Scotiabank branch, it will be thoroughly reviewed. The complexity of the information will influence the time it takes to review the document, but we will share the outcome of that review as quickly as possible. Generally, this review takes 5 business days but may take longer if more information is required.

It’s our aim to find a fair and timely solution – if we are unable to resolve your concerns at the branch, please refer to our ‘Complaint Resolution Process’ which outlines how you can escalate your concerns within the Bank. To learn more Click Here.