I need to pay mom's bills. I'm on her account, but her checks don't have my name on them. It is a joint account. Can I legally sign her checks, and will her creditors and her bank accept them?

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    Does your mom's bank know that you are "on her account" in the sense that the bank records list you and your mom as co-owners holding the account as joint tenants or tenants in common (or have you her power-of-attorney to operate her account and the bank knows about this), and does the bank have a specimen signature from you? A check does not need to have the names of all the owners (or any of the owners) pre-printed on it (though it helps when submitting the checks to third parties as payment for bills, taxes, etc.), and her bank will certainly honor them if you have legal right to sign. Feb 25, 2017 at 22:56
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    Too long and too good to be a comment. Just my thought. Feb 25, 2017 at 23:50
  • @JoeTaxpayer But still seeking clarification as to what exactly is meant by "I'm on her account". For example, mom might have signed a Power of Attorney that comes into play only if mom cannot physically sign her checks any more or is mentally incapacitated etc, and this might need a court order, or a declaration by two physicians etc. in which case the bank might not know anything about it as yet. Feb 26, 2017 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


If it is a joint account then you would have completed a signature card for the bank, which authorizes you to use the account as if it were your own. Many times, with joint accounts, the bank will put the names of both account owners on the checks so that it is clear to anyone accepting the check that either you or your mom can write checks on the account Creditors will most likely accept checks signed by you, although they may want to contact the bank to verify them at least the first time around.

If it's the case where your mom gave you power of attorney over the account, this could be a bit more complicated, and some creditors may balk at accepting such checks, since you'd have to include some indication that you have POA when signing the checks.

If this is a joint account then I would encourage you to spend a few dollars for new checks to be printed with both your name and your mom's on them so it avoids confusion and problems using the checks. This is the easiest, simplest solution and can help you avoid headaches.

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