Account Authorization Section

How to add a durable power of attorney to an account

How to add a durable power of attorney to an account

A durable power of attorney (DPOA) is a written authorization for a person (attorney-in-fact or agent) to represent or act on an individual's (principal or client) behalf if the account holder becomes disabled or incapacitated.

Your clients must submit either a state-specific Schwab DPOA form or an external non-Schwab DPOA document, subject to a review process.

The Schwab DPOA is:

  • Free of charge
  • Allows your client to establish a DPOA agent without an attorney or court documentation
  • Avoids the additional review and acceptance process required for an external non-Schwab DPOA document
Existing Accounts
  • Account number the DPOA is being added.
  • Firm name and master account number.
  • One of the following signed by the DPOA:

Option 1-Submit a Schwab Durable Power of Attorney Form

  • These forms are offered based on state residency. Varying state legal requirements necessitate three forms.
  • To select one of the state-specific notarized Schwab Durable Power of Attorney forms go to the Forms library on Schwab Advisor Center: 
    • Most states-Durable Power of Attorney for all States Except New York and Pennsylvania form.
    • New York-Durable Power of Attorney – NY version form.
    • Pennsylvania-Durable Power of Attorney – PA version form.

Option 2-Submit an external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document

The following are also required:

  • An  external non-Schwab durable power of attorney document Tooltip .
  • A notarized Agreement and Affidavit for Non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) form signed by the DPOA agent.
  • A minimum of one signed and dated letter from your client's physician(s) confirming they are incapacitated. The  physician's letter Tooltip  must be on letterhead or a pre-printed form or notepad only available from the physician's office.
  • The external Durable Power of Attorney document must contain clear authority to open accounts and sign tax documents on behalf of account holder/principal.
  • If the client is incapacitated:

    • A minimum of one signed/dated letter from end-client's physician confirming the client is incapacitated.
      • Letter must be on letterhead or pre-printed form or notepad from physician's office.
      • If DPOA document requires letters from two or more physicians, Schwab requires the additional letters.
      • Physician's letter must be from a medical doctor. Other specialties are unacceptable.
    • The external Durable Power of Attorney document must contain clear authority to open accounts and sign tax documents. For retirement or transfer on death (TOD) accounts, authority must be granted to name beneficiaries on behalf of account holder/principal.

    If authority is not granted in the durable power of attorney document language, your client must provide one of the following:

    • Open Accounts - If authority to open accounts is not granted in the document, contact your Service team for assistance.
    • Sign Tax Documents - IRS Form 2848: Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative (documented proof for tax matters) signed and dated by your client and the DPOA agent.
      • The document must include a filed stamp indicating the date and time it was presented to the IRS and a copy of appropriate Durable Power of Attorney document.
    • Name Beneficiaries – If beneficiaries are already named on the account, no further action is required. If they are not on the account, contact your Service team for assistance.
    New Accounts

    Submit either:
    Option 1-A state-specific Schwab Durable Power of Attorney form or
    Option 2-An external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document

    The following are also required:

    NOTE: A Schwab durable power of attorney form cannot be submitted if your client is incapacitated.

    Option 2-Submit an external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document

    The following are required:

    • If opening a new account, an Account Application (Schwab One Personal Accounts) signed by the attorney-in-fact (DPOA agent) or the account number to which the durable power of attorney will be added. 
    • A non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document signed by the account holder (principal).
    • A notarized Agreement and Affidavit for Non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) form, signed by the attorney in fact (DPOA agent).
    • At least one signed/dated letter from client's physician confirming the client is incapacitated.
      • Letter must be on letterhead from physician's office.
      • Physician's letter must be from a medical doctor. Other specialties are not acceptable.
      • If DPOA document requires letters from two or more physicians, Schwab requires the additional letters.

    NOTE: A  springing power of attorney Tooltip  cannot be added using the Schwab Durable Power of Attorney form.

    Select Option 2-Submit an external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document

    A springing durable power of attorney is signed prior to a doctor's statement of disability, and becomes effective only upon the incapacitation of your client.

    Conventional powers of attorney lapse when the account holder becomes incapacitated, but a durable power of attorney remains in force to enable the agent to manage the account holder's affairs.

    Springing DPOA documents should specify the documentation required to evidence incapacity which must be submitted.

    If the springing DPOA document does not specify the documentation to evidence incapacity, submit the following:

    • If opening a new account, an Account Application (Schwab One Personal Accounts) signed by the attorney in fact (DPOA agent) or the account number to which the durable power of attorney will be added.
    • Your firm name and master account number.
    • An external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document signed by the account holder (principal).
    • A notarized Agreement and Affidavit for Non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) form signed by the attorney in fact (DPOA agent).
    • At least one signed/dated letter from client's physician confirming client incapacitation.
      • Letter must be on letterhead or pre-printed form or notepad from physician's office.
      • If DPOA document requires letters from two or more physicians, Schwab requires the additional letters.
      • Physician's letter must be from a medical doctor. Other specialties are unacceptable

    NOTE: A springing power of attorney Tooltip cannot be added using the Schwab Durable Power of Attorney form.

    Select Option 2-Submit an external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document

    A springing durable power of attorney is signed prior to a doctor's statement of disability, and becomes effective only upon the incapacitation of your client.

    Conventional powers of attorney lapse when the account holder becomes incapacitated, but a durable power of attorney remains in force to enable the agent to manage the account holder's affairs.

    Springing DPOA documents should specify the documentation required to evidence incapacity which must be submitted.

    If the springing DPOA document does not specify the documentation to evidence incapacity, submit the following:

    • If opening a new account, an Account Application (Schwab One Personal Accounts) signed by the attorney in fact (DPOA agent) or the account number to which the durable power of attorney will be added.
    • Your firm name and master account number.
    • An external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document signed by the account holder (principal).
    • A notarized Agreement and Affidavit for Non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) form signed by the attorney in fact (DPOA agent).
    • At least one signed/dated letter from client's physician confirming client incapacitation.
      • Letter must be on letterhead or pre-printed form or notepad from physician's office.
      • If DPOA document requires letters from two or more physicians, Schwab requires the additional letters.
      • Physician's letter must be from a medical doctor. Other specialties are unacceptable

    Select either:
    Option 1-A Schwab Durable Power of Attorney form (if agents can act independently) or
    Option 2-An external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document.

    Using Option 1-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney to add multiple agents

    Using Option 2-External non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document to add multiple agents

    Note: An advisor cannot be added as a Durable Power of Attorney using the Schwab Durable Power of Attorney form.

    Select Option 2-An external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document.

    The following are required:

    • A signed letter from the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) or advisory firm principal acknowledging:
      • Advisor employee's authority to act on your client's account.
      • Advisory firm takes custody of accounts.
    • If opening a new account, an Account Application (Schwab One Personal Accounts) signed by the principal or, in the case of incapacitation, the attorney in fact (DPOA agent).
    • A notarized Agreement and Affidavit for Non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) form signed by the DPOA agent.
      • One form must be received for each agent.
      • If the request is to add a DPOA to multiple accounts, one form for each agent is acceptable for all accounts.

    NOTE: An entity cannot be added using the Schwab Durable Power of Attorney form.

    Select Option 2-An external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document.

    The following are required:

    • A notarized Agreement and Affidavit for Non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) form signed by the attorney in fact (DPOA agent).
      • Make additional copies of Agreement and Affidavit for Non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) form, Section 2 to provide the entity agent's personal information.
      • An Organizational Account Agreement (OAA) is required. Contact your Service team for assistance.

    You can submit a copy of Account Application Addendum with the entity agent's personal information instead of copying Section 2 of the Attorney-in-Fact Agreement.

    • When submitting a Schwab Durable Power of Attorney form, your client revokes any other type of individual POA previously authorized, including Authorized Check Signer, Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA), Full Power of Attorney (FPOA), previous Schwab Durable Power of Attorney, and any external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney.
      • The revocation is built into the Schwab Durable Power of Attorney forms. No additional documentation is required.
      • Schwab Durable Power of Attorney forms do not revoke the authority the client granted to the advisor.
    • Your client is encouraged to provide a written notice of revocation to any prior agent(s). Schwab is under no obligation to notify former power of attorney agent their powers were revoked.

    External non-Schwab DPOA documents may require additional review before approval. Review the progress in the Status Hub within the Activities Tab on Schwab Advisor Center.

    Go to the Forms library on Schwab Advisor Center and select the forms below.

    Form: Account Application (Schwab One Personal Accounts)
    Form: Agreement and Affidavit for Non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)
    Form: Schwab DPOA Form for All States Except New York and Pennsylvania
    Form: Schwab DPOA Form (New York)
    Form: Schwab DPOA Form (Pennsylvania)
    Form: Options Trading and Margin Application
    Form: Account Application Addendum

    Will a Schwab DPOA also apply to linked Schwab Bank Investor CheckingTM Accounts?
    The Schwab Durable Power of Attorney form may not be added to an account with a linked Investor Checking account. To add a DPOA for a brokerage account with a linked Investor Checking account, submit an external non-Schwab Durable Power of Attorney document.

    Can an agent with power of attorney submit a new account application on behalf of a prospective account holder?
    A new account application can be submitted by an authorized agent with durable power of attorney who also meets one or more of the following conditions:

    • The account application is accompanied by at least one signed doctor's letter attesting to the account holder's disability or mental incapacity.
    • Documented proof that an appointment for tax matters was issued to the DPOA agent by the IRS.

    Is anything additional required for an account with options approved?
    If the new account application is submitted with a durable power of attorney document allowing trading on Options, a signed Options, Trading, and Margin Application is required to add the feature. All sections of the form must be completed except for the agent's financial information.

    How long does the durable power of attorney remain in effect?
    The authority granted to the agent terminates on the death of the account holder (or the last account holder in a joint account) or if revoked by the account holder or agent.

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