Power of attorney (in German: Bankvollmacht) done in 5 minutes
What happens, if you or your partner (or children/parents) are involved in a terrible accident?
Of course! There are thousand of things to do … and one of it (often a little later) will be the bank account.
All of our sorrows can be unimaginably big, but there is no way around the bank account.
The worst case is that the bank will contact you through a note because of a chargeback of a SEPA-debit due to insufficient funds.
- You do not know the account balance!
- The bank will not give you information (because it is not allowed to by law)!
- If it should be viceversa, so that a lot of money is on the account, which you may need now, the bank won’t pay it to you (because it is not allowed to by law)!
This is a sh**** situation!
A practical – but illegal emergency solution – would be to log into the online banking of the accidented person and make the necessary payments. However, this can cause you a lot of trouble (penal code).
But if you do not know the online password to the Internet banking or cannot confirm the transaction by TAN, then this emergency solution does not help either.
Solution: Grant a general power of attorney
The solution is so easy, so that many people do not do it, however, they regret it later when confronting huge problems.
I remember one case in which a German citizen died in front of a Latin-American hospital, because the payment of the treatment had to take place by prepayment.
Okay, who is in Germany most of the time knows that hospitals are obligated to make emergency treatments no matter the financing. In exchange, here are debt collecting companies, bailiffs, garnishments and a whole lot of other reprisals for belated payers.
Yes, one can became a belated payer relatively without debt, if oneself is not able to pay the bills due to an accident.
Even much worse: the dear family members will be hit hard by the consequences, because they cannot access the money on the account of the main earner!
Be responsible – provide for a risk!
Providing for a risk is easy. Read first, then think and the practical implementation will only cost you 5 minutes of your life. It will safe you hours, if not days or weeks of worries in an emergency.
As many readers of this special portal for smart bank customers have an account at the DKB, I have recorded instructions to set up a general power of attorney or durable power of attorney with the example of the DKB-account:
How to set up a power of attorney on the DKB-account:
Do you think that you can make it too?
Who is eligible for the power of attorney?
By law, you can authorize anyone, even an employee of the bank. This, however, only makes sense, if you have a special trust relationship.
Actually, trust plays a big role, because the authorized person can make payments and withdraw cash in your name, at depots also buy or sell securities.
The authorized person cannot do things in his/her name. For example, he/she cannot pay bills that are on his/her name – unless you agree. Then it takes place in your name.
However, this is legal squabbling. Whatever is technically possible will be implemented technically.
A joint account would be an alternative to the single account with power of attorney. Herein, the second person is not called empowered person, but Account holder No. 2 and can also order payments on the own name.
Back to the power of attorney.
Limitation of power
Individual specifications, as known by a patient’s authorization or a testimony, can hardly be set up at a bank.
But one can determine categories. The DKB differs between a general power of attorney and a durable power of attorney in the case of death.
The difference: in the first case, the empowered person can dispose of the account in your name anytime and in the second case, only if the official death certificate was presented to the bank.
In the case of an accident, as in our example, the general power of attorney would be necessary.
Online-banking, EC- and credit card for empowered persons
If one only sets up a power of attorney without access to the online-banking or payment cards, then this is also a limitation. The empowered person can only communicate by phone or mail with the bank. And at the DKB, telephone orders (except card blockings) are not accepted out of security reasons.
Depending on the trust and relationship, it can make sense to supplement the genereal power of attorney with an access to the Internet-banking and cards.
These options exist at the DKB:
- separate access to the online-banking for the empowered person,
- V Pay Card (former EC-card) for the empowered person,
- Visa Card (credit card) for the empowered person.
One can equip the empowered person in a way so that he/she can act as the actual account holder.
One can grant a power of attorney and with this also Internet-accesses and cards for several persons.
Security for you as the account holder
Granted powers of attorney can be seen, changed or deleted anytime in the online banking system. Take advantage of it, if the trust relationship should change.
Abuse of the power of attorney
Yes, also this happens and is colloquially known by the term account pillage. Then, one hears the following, “Shortly before she finished the relationship, she cleared his account and disappeared forever.“
Okay, this is the flip side of such power of attorney. I do not want to conceal this. Such behaviour is punishable, but this must be proven first, as well as determined by a court and the other person must be available and able to repay.
This is why you should think well, who you want to grant a power of attorney. Especially frequent are persons like the following:
- husband/wife, life partner etc.
- children or parents (depending on own age)
- siblings or other family members
- friends and acquaintances
- legal guardian, caretaker
Tip: proof each year, whether the right relationship to your empowered persons still exists!
Questions on the power of attorney?
Further thrilling subjects:
- 3 mistakes with which one can mess up the account opening at the DKB!
- DKB-account opening through the webcam
PS: If you are not yet a DKB-customer, then you should take a look at this: DKB Cash with Visa Card – free of charge! (should be worth considering!)
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