The advent of COVID-19 has made Regina, 70, aware of her vulnerability to a temporary disability that would prevent her from handling her personal financial affairs. Regina has two sons and a daughter. She is considering whether to give one of the children the right to sign on her bank accounts. Is that a good idea? If she gives this authority, which child should she choose?

Right to sign on accounts can minimize problems

Regina’s idea of giving one of her children the right to sign on her bank accounts in the event of her disability is a good one. It can minimize the difficulty of getting her bills paid if she is struck with a temporary disability.

Regina has three bank accounts. She must decide whether she needs to establish a signatory other than herself on one or more of the accounts. In her instance, one account maintains sufficient funds to pay her routine bills. She must determine whether to name a signatory for one or more of the accounts.

Choose carefully the person allowed to sign

Regina needs to consider carefully which of her children should be given permission to sign on one or more of her accounts. She should contemplate which child is most capable, dependable and located conveniently to handle her business. She ought to examine whether the other children will resent that she did not choose them and do what she can to prevent that.

Regina decides to name her daughter signatory over this account and one son over each of the other two. She believes this will avoid any resentment and provide access to additional funds in the event of an emergency.

Take care which type of account is established

Regina should take care when completing the signatory card at the bank that she gives signatory authority only on the accounts. She should avoid creating a joint account that gives rights of survivorship (ROS). If she mistakenly establishes a ROS account, the money in the account will go outside of her will to the child named. This could create an unintended inheritance to that child conflicting with the provisions in her will.

Sandra W. Reed practices Elder Law in Somervell County, handling probating of estates, drafting of wills, trusts, powers of attorney and deeds as well as estate and Medicaid planning. She lives in beautiful Chalk Mountain. She can be reached at 254.797.0211; 817.946.2809 or by at