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Merging Accounts on Online Banking

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Question: 
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?
Answer: 

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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