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Q: What is the difference between an Authorized Signer and a Joint Owner on a consumer checking or savings account?


Fri, Mar 25th, 2011
Posted in Ask the Expert

Allison Whalen - Personal Banker

A: Many people want or need another person to be able to access their checking account, such as in the case of an emergency. It is important to know the distinction between "authorized signer" and "joint owner" in order for your needs to be properly met. As an authorized signer, a person is allowed to sign checks, or make withdrawals, from that particular account. In certain circumstances, they may also be privy to other information, such as account balance and activity. These privileges, however, are only legitimate while the account owner is alive and would cease if the account owner would die. As a joint owner, with the right of survivorship, the funds in the particular account belong to all joint owners listed on the account and have all rights to the funds, including removing the funds and closing the account. It is important to truly know and trust the other joint account owner(s) on your account. If you have any questions regarding authorized signers or joint owners on your account or their different rights, please contact F & M Community Bank, NA in

Preston at (507) 765-3823 or

Chatfield at (507) 867-1605.

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