Is the power of attorney responsible for invoices

The power of attorney simply explained

What is a power of attorney?

Who has access to your accounts in the event of care or death? With a power of attorney, you regulate this question and appoint a person of trust who can take over your banking business. This is important, for example, so that outstanding invoices or maintenance costs can be paid (on time).

How do I issue a power of attorney?

A bank power of attorney is not subject to any legal requirements. You can therefore grant the power of attorney informally - but it is essential to do so in writing so that the bank or account power of attorney is guaranteed to be recognized. If you want to be even more secure, you can have the power of attorney certified by a notary or a lawyer.

Tip: You can revoke the power of attorney at any time. There are no deadlines, no bank approval is required, and you don't have to give any reasons.

Who can I give a power of attorney to?

You can authorize anyone over the age of 18. Since a power of attorney is a powerful document, you should carefully choose the person you trust. Most people choose their spouse so that they have full access to accounts in the event of death. Close relatives, siblings or your own children are also popular confidants.

By the way: You can also give a power of attorney to several people. However, this can lead to misunderstandings and confusion among the agents and banks. Therefore, under no circumstances should you appoint too many authorized representatives!

What details are possible in a power of attorney?

You can adjust the power of attorney exactly according to your wishes. It does not have to be a general power of attorney for your banking business - you can, for example, set certain transaction amounts or limit the power of attorney to certain transfers such as rent payments.

What must be in a bank power of attorney?

Basically: Formulate the power of attorney as precisely and specifically as possible. For example, you can specify a credit limit, set an exact period of validity - and don't forget the signatures of you and the authorized representative. It is best if both parties sign the power of attorney in the presence of a bank employee.

Tip: Create the power of attorney with the help of your bank. Many banks have appropriate forms and certain conditions for a valid power of attorney.

What types of power of attorney are there?

The different types of power of attorney differ mainly in their validity:

Transmortal bank power of attorney

A transmortal bank power of attorney has no time limit. The power of attorney is also effective in the event of the death of the account holder - this makes sense for married couples, for example, if one spouse dies. However, if the proxy does not belong to the community of heirs, legal heirs can revoke the transmortal bank power of attorney.

Premortal bank power of attorney

A premortal bank power of attorney is valid until the principal's death. According to the German Civil Code (BGB) and Section 185, Paragraph 2, it is also referred to as a "power of attorney subject to dissolution". Such a power of attorney is useful, for example, if the principal is in need of care and can no longer handle his banking business himself. As soon as the power of attorney becomes ineffective after the death of the principal, the account can no longer be accessed. The heirs can only dispose of the account after submitting a certificate of inheritance and executing the will.

Post-mortem bank power of attorney

A post-mortem bank power of attorney only becomes effective upon the death of the account holder. This can help, for example, to split up the inheritance - the heirs then do not have to wait for a certificate of inheritance. According to Paragraph 185, Paragraph 1 of the German Civil Code (BGB), a post-mortem bank power of attorney is a so-called “power of attorney with suspensive conditions”.

Important: A power of attorney never affects inheritance law and is therefore not a substitute for a will.

What are the alternatives?

It doesn't necessarily have to be a power of attorney. Here are two alternatives with which relatives can also act in the event of an emergency or death:

  • Replacement account
    You can set up a replacement account for your beneficiaries. You can transfer monthly amounts to this account and, if you wish, leave a blocking note at the bank. This means that the beneficiaries can only access the account after your death.
  • Joint account
    A joint account is ideal for spouses, for example. Both partners can access the account with the same rights - even if one partner dies or is no longer able to manage his banking transactions himself due to health problems.

Do I need a power of attorney despite a health care proxy?

A health care proxy normally gives the authorized person all important rights - including banking. Theoretically, a power of attorney is no longer necessary, but in practice many banks do not accept a power of attorney (although they should actually be required by law).

In order to protect yourself as best as possible, a power of attorney is therefore always useful. In this way you avoid problems with the banks and you can be sure that your authorized representative has guaranteed access to your accounts.

What happens if the power of attorney is misused?

The legislature assumes a "special relationship of trust" with a bank power of attorney. For example, if your account slips into the red, it is usually not the authorized representative who is liable - you are. This is because a bank power of attorney only covers the administration of the account and no liability.

However, if the power of attorney is misused, heirs or relatives can report the authorized person. Then the proxy must prove that he has used the money in the interests of the account holder. Otherwise there is a risk of criminal proceedings and the payment of damages.


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