It is not uncommon for an aging parent to ask a relative for help with their finances, including giving them the ability to sign checks. However, there is currently no mechanism in state law that would allow the person only to act as an agent and not become a co-owner of the account.
Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL- Brooklyn Park) sponsors
HF19 that would allow a banking customer to name an agent on an account, and that person could sign the customer’s name, but not have ownership in the account.
Michael Sampson, a member of the probate and trust section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, brought the idea to Hortman. He told committee members that this would allow for what the customer wants — to have someone help with the account, but retain complete ownership. “A very straight forward change, but a very important one for Minnesota law,” he said.
Rep. Barb Yarusso (DFL-Shoreview) said that she was put on a joint account with her mother, and at her death bed – “that created kind of a funny situation where I was completely in charge, and it was up to me to distribute that money to my siblings. These are the kind of things you don’t recognize until you get into this type of situation.”
The bill was approved and moved to the House Judiciary Finance and Policy Committee. The Senate companion
SF84, sponsored by Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), awaits action in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Lee Ann Schutz
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