Who has check writing privileges?

Published: Sep 4, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Almost everyone has a checking account. We use them on a daily basis for routine transactions. They are a basic part of our lives. So much so, that you probably don’t give a lot of thought as to how you have your checking account titled, who has check writing privileges, who will inherit the funds in the account when you die, etc.

With that in mind, here’s a quick summary of some of the primary things to keep in mind when it comes to your checking account:

Who are the owners of your checking account?

  • If you are the only person on the account you are the owner.
  • If yours is a joint account, such as with a spouse, then your spouse is also an owner
  • You can add other owners to your account, for example a son or daughter.

Be aware though that any person who is an owner has the legal right to withdraw 100 percent of the funds that are in the account. They can even close the account. Naturally, this may not have been your intent.

Who can write checks on your checking account?

  • Any owner of the account can write checks on it.
  • You can also add someone as an Authorized Signer. This is accomplished by having their name & signature added to the signature card for the account. Note that this is for signature authority purposes only. An Authorized Signer is not necessarily an owner.
  • You may also give one or more individuals a Power of Attorney, and that Power of Attorney can grant those individuals the authority to write checks, open and close accounts, etc.
Who receives the funds that are in your checking account when you die?
  • If the account is designated as “Joint Tenants With Right Of Survivorship”, then the joint owner of your account automatically becomes the owner of the funds at the time of your death.
  • If the account is designated as “Tenants In Common”, then your half of the funds in the account at the time of your death would go to your beneficiaries.
  • You may utilize a “Transfer On Death” (TOD) form, or a “Payable On Death” (POD) form to name beneficiaries that are to receive the funds upon your death.
  • If there is a joint owner of your checking account, or if you have named beneficiaries, then the account will not need to go through probate.
  • If you are the sole owner of the account, and you do not designate beneficiaries, then the account will be subject to probate.

Please take a few minutes to review how your accounts are titled, who has check writing authority, and whether or not you have named beneficiaries. Any of our TS Bank employees would be happy to help you with these items. Please do not hesitate to call or stop in with any questions that you might have.


Written by Rich Purdy