British Bankers’ Association advice on dealing with a joint bank account

Need advice on on dealing with a joint bank account?

If the local authority authorises you to be the suitable person, you will need to make arrangements for the direct payment to be paid into a bank or building society account. The account should be held in your name but identified that you are holding it on behalf of the person the payments are for (for example, ‘Joan Smith on behalf of Edward Smith’).

For more information about becoming a ‘suitable person’, speak to your local authority or see the websites at and Dealing with a joint bank account A joint account allows two people to use an account either separately or together. Depending on the terms and conditions of the joint account, another person may be given access to a joint account on behalf of one of the account holders.

If one joint account holders loses mental capacity, banks and building societies can decide whether or not to temporarily restrict the use of the account to essential transactions only (for example, living expenses and medical or residential-care bills) until a deputy has been appointed or a power of attorney registered. If a person has a joint account with someone who is losing mental capacity, they should talk to their bank or building society.

Attorneys acting on behalf of a joint account holder If one joint account holder loses capacity to operate their account and a registered enduring or lasting power of attorney is in place, then the bank will allow the attorney and the account holder (with capacity) to operate the account independently of each other, unless the account holder (with capacity) objects. In such cases the bank will then usually only allow the account to continue to operate on a ‘both-to-sign’ basis.

Although the joint account holder with capacity will have been notified when the power of attorney was first registered with the bank, it is best practice for the bank to re-notify the customer at the point when the power of attorney is activated.

This is not a legal document or code of practice. This article offering advice dealing with a joint bank account is for guidance only. The guidance applies in England and Wales.

advice dealing with a joint bank account