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Merging Accounts on Online Banking

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We are discussing accounts you can merge on online banking (so that the agent can see the fiduciary account along with his/her personal accounts with a single log-in) for example: 1.) Rep Payee 2.) Escrow Agents 3.) Power of Attorney-Appointed Agents 4.) UTMA Accounts The custodian has been challenged as to whether or not you can or can't combine with a parent’s accounts online banking. Is there any legislation or case law or statutory basis for which we must decline these requests or is it discretionary?

Each of the groups in your list has a fiduciary duty to another person. Transfers of funds from the fiduciary account to the personal account of the agent/custodian/attorney-in-fact/rep payee for anything other than an allowable fee for managing the fiduciary funds (fees aren't permitted in all fiduciary situations) could be a breach of fiduciary duty, and the financial institution facilitating such a transfer could be implicated in any suit by the beneficial owner of the funds to recover funds from the agent/custodian/attorney-in-fact/rep payee.

There is nothing problematic in allowing the accounts to appear together for balance and activity inquiries if the individual who is the agent/custodian/attorney-in-fact/rep payee is the only individual who can view the fiduciary account. But it should only be allowed if there can be a block to any transfers between the fiduciary account and any personal account(s) of the agent/custodian/attorney-in-fact/rep payee.

First published on 09/27/2015

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